IN THIS DEVOTIONAL, WE EXPLORE HOW TO BE A FATHER WHO LEADS WITH HIS WORDS, HIS WALK, AND HIS WISDOM...
Have you noticed recently how Hollywood portrays dads? It seems that many of the modern sitcoms are casting the character of the dad as a bumbling buffoon, who is often uninformed and unaware of what is going on.
As a father, I get agitated by this depiction of fathers. While Hollywood seems to scoff at the significance of dads, God's Word reminds us that fathers are essential in bringing up children in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
LEAD WITH YOUR WORDS
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)
Leading with words means finding the right balance between gentle correction and genuine encouragement. The Bible reminds us that we are to train up our kids in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). As fathers, we need to be our kids’ primary source of truth, instruction and loving correction.
Dads also need to offer their children words of praise, encouragement, and hope. Words are a powerful arsenal. We have at our disposal words to soothe a broken heart, offer hope in failure, and extend grace in disappointment. Consider the power of these phrases:
I love you.
You make me so proud.
I believe in you.
Don't give up.
I am so glad that God blessed me with you.
You are a great kid.
You can do it.
Words can have profound impact. Don't believe me? Consider this example:
My daughter just started playing tennis. Many of her peers have been playing for years, but she just started playing this year. She is the most inexperienced player on the team. So, I am determined to be her biggest cheerleader. Yes, there have been misses, netballs and a variety of new player mishaps. However, I have made it a goal to tell her how proud I am of her for trying something new and doing her best after every match.
I think this encouragement is reaping some major benefits. The other day my daughter came to me and said, “Dad, I think I could see myself playing tennis all four years of high school.”
From firsthand experience, I've learned that words are a great way to encourage our kids. I love what Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy wrote in his book; It’s Better To Build Boys Than Mend Men: “How do you know if a child needs encouragement? If he or she is breathing.”
- Make a list of some words or phrases of affirmation that you can use with your children. Start incorporating these words and phrases into your conversations with your kids.
- What’s one way you can specifically encourage your children this week?
LEAD WITH YOUR WALK
“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.” Proverbs 20:7 (NLT)
When you were growing up, did you ever try to walk behind your dad by stepping in the prints he left in the snow or sand? I remember as a child having to stretch my short legs to get my feet in my dad's larger footprints. They were big shoes to fill—literally and figuratively. As dads, we can also leave spiritual footprints for our children to follow.
Have you considered your Christian walk lately? Have you given much thought to the kind of footprints you might be leaving for your children? While dads might not be aware that their kids are watching their walk; rest assured, they are. Children are watching how dads live their lives. You’ve heard the saying, “Talk the talk, and walk the walk.” Well, children are holding fathers accountable to do just that. They’re listening to their dad’s speech, watching his actions and taking mental notes.
Your walk determines how your children come to know and love God.
Your walk teaches them to approach their future careers with hard work and integrity.
Your walk determines how your son treats women.
Your walk determines what kind of man your daughter marries.
Your walk inspires your children to serve in church, reach for their dreams and live a vibrant, full life.
When we as dads model a close and personal walk with the Lord, we are providing our children with a model that shapes them into men and women who authentically love the Lord. We must remember there are always little eyes watching our walk. It’s important to leave behind footprints that lead our children to Jesus.Dig Deeper:
- What’s one thing you can do today to deepen your walk with the Lord?
- What kind of spiritual footprints are you leaving for your children?
LEAD WITH WISDOM
“My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9 (NLT)
As a middle-aged guy, I do a bit more pondering on life these days. My stepdad passed away during my early twenties, but l often reflect on the wisdom that he imparted to me. Every time I cast a line, I recall the lessons he taught me about fishing. Whenever I think about how to fish for bluegills or catfish, I recall how to rig my line to catch them because of my stepdad's instruction.
The same is true for godly wisdom. As dads, we have the awesome opportunity to pass on godly wisdom to our children concerning things like prayer, trusting God, reading God’s Word, loving like Christ and sharing the Gospel. This is the kind of wisdom that fosters a rich godly heritage for our kids—no matter how old or young they are.
My son is a college student now, but I often receive phone calls from him around 11 p.m. when I am just about to doze off to sleep. Those calls usually revolve around some type of theological question, a passage of Scripture he is struggling with, or advice on how to reach an unsaved friend.
It is gratifying for me to know that my son 1) still values my opinion and 2) still comes to me seeking my wisdom. It is a privilege to be able to pour godly wisdom into him. Hopefully, the same wisdom I have poured into him will be poured into my grandchildren one day. When we lead with wisdom, we’re able to set an example for multiple generations to come.Dig Deeper:
- What is one thing you can start doing today to begin leading with wisdom?
- What wisdom do you want your children to remember after you’re gone?