If God has given you children then you must make them a huge priority in your life. Although you will give more hours to your work than your children, you must give more of your heart to your children. And you must give them more hours than your friends, your hobbies, or your sports.
There are numerous excellent books on parenting in general, and fatherhood in particular, which I encourage you to read. I try to read one book on parenting every year, even if just to remind me of what I have learned and forgotten before.
Instead of simply duplicating what’s available elsewhere, here’s a quick list of the most important theological truths for parenting, together with some practical application:
God is Father. Remind yourself continually that you are called to represent God’s fatherhood to your children, that you are the visible representation of God the Father to them.
God is the Law-giver. As such he has delegated responsibility to fathers (see Ephesians 6:4), to administer his law, to teach it, apply it, enforce, it, and punish infractions of it. We must lay down clear and consistent rules and boundaries for them.
God is Savior. I must show my sinful children not only their need for salvation but God’s provision of it. That involves taking them to hear the Gospel every week in a local church. It also means practicing grace in my relationships with them and by continually pointing them to Christ for forgiveness when they fail and to the Holy Spirit for strength when they are weak.
God is Patient. If I’ve learned anything over twenty plus years of parenting five children, it is to be patient, to be long-suffering and slow to anger, to persevere through disappointments, and to wait in faith for lessons to be learned and for their lives to be changed.
God is First. Our kids must know that we seek the Kingdom of God first above all things. We therefore mustn’t allow sport, shopping, or unnecessary travel to undermine the Lord’s Day.
God is Holy. We must show that especially in the media we let into our homes and their lives. We must guard our house and their hearts in the spirit of Psalm 101. That goes for our media consumption as well as theirs.
God is Good. Remind them where everything good thing in their lives comes from. Show that God’s good-will, kindness, and eagerness to bless.
God is Truth. We must prioritize family devotions and communicate the importance of God’s truth in our lives. We must ensure that their education is in accord with God’s truth and is not against it.
God is Judge. Of all the gifts God has given me in this world, the gift of children is second only to my wife. What a privilege, what a responsibility. What accountability that produces before God.
Real men show God’s character in and through their parenting.
- Pick a few of these attributes of God and think of more ways in which they should affect your fathering.
- What other attributes of God can be used as patterns for fathering and how?
- In what ways are you distorting Gods fatherhood by your parenting?
The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Witmer
The Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis
Parenting by Gods Promisesby Joel Beeke.