It is an all too familiar occurrence. With a fresh cup of coffee in hand you embark on your familiar morning commute. Your favorite playlist selected, the dull drone of the road playing beneath the melody, and before long, we find we have traversed a certain distance and cannot recall the route taken. During our journey we passed billboard signs, crowded intersections and other commuters blazing by us in 70 mile an hour projectiles and yet, it seems like a segment of the drive is missing. We simply checked out. If you are a father like me, perhaps you have found yourself “checked out” when it comes to fatherhood. Sure, you enjoy being a father. But have we missed something along the way? Does it even matter? You may have asked, “Am I doing enough?” Or, like the commuter, “Hey, everything turned out ok. No accidents.” Make no mistake, biblical fatherhood is a sacred privilege. And if so, this privilege demands complete engagement.
Biblical Fatherhood is a Sacred Privilege
Many may recall the 2011 movie Courageous. In this story, the lives of four fathers wrestle with what it means to lead as biblical fathers. In one scene, Adam, played by Alex Kendrick, shares with the men his desire to be a better father. One of the friends, in an effort to alleviate a bit of the burden on Adam, exclaims, “You’ve been a good enough father.” Adam’s response highlights this solemn duty.
That’s just it. I don’t want to be a good enough father. We have a few short years to influence our kids. Whatever patterns we set for them will likely be used for their kids and the generation after that. We have the responsibility to mold a life. And, I don’t think that should be done casually.
Despite what we may think, there is no snooze button we can fumble for in the dark, hoping to “check out” for just a few more years, and then like the unsung hero donned in cape and tights, re-engage in just the nick-of-time. These “few short years” will pause for no one. No matter how many times we have failed as fathers, we must seek God’s forgiveness and be the biblical father our children need. Biblical fathers will seek to lead their children in the knowledge of God, remind them of His grace and display His righteousness in our own lives through obedience to God’s Word.
Biblical fathers are to lead the charge in the training and rearing of their children
Biblical fathers are to lead the charge in the training and rearing of their children before the Lord so they may see the Holiness of God. Many are familiar with the verse, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:6-7). But why is this so important?
If we go back just a few verses earlier, we learn why God has given us this command. In Deuteronomy 6:2 we read, “…that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you…” Not a servile fear, felt by one who is under the authority of a brutal dictator; but rather, a filial fear, which relates to the fear or reverence one has for that person who represents, as R.C. Sproul so eloquently wrote, “the source of security and love.”
God is Holy! To see God as Holy, leads one to acknowledge the need for a Savior. For a biblical father, to see our children realize their need, and come to salvation, is our sole desire.
Biblical fathers will remind their children of the grace and forgiveness of Christ
Secondly, as we lead them in the way they will go (Prov. 22:6), we must remind them of His forgiveness, so they may live in His grace. In our home, my wife has painted the fruit of the spirit on each riser as one begins their ascent. No matter how mad we were at our children over some careless act of disobedience, we had to step over each fruit of the spirit to get to the top of the stairs. By the time you arrived at the last step, the anger had subsided. Those steps saved lives.
Biblical fathers know we did not fix ourselves before God could save us. We are reminded that God showed His love by dying for us “…while we were sinners” (Rom. 5:8). No matter their failings, a biblical father will remind his children daily, through his actions and his words, of the grace and forgiveness found only in Christ.
Biblical Fathers Seek to Exhibit Godly Behavior
Lastly, a biblical father seeks to live a Godly life. The old saying goes, “Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear a word you are saying.” Our children are watching us. The biblical father never tells their child, “Do as I say, not as I do.” As biblical fathers, we should seek to exhibit Godly behavior in all that we do. Do we consider how we speak in front of them (Eph. 5:4)? Do we practice mercy with others? Do we spend time in God’s Word so that we may grow in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17)?
The more we receive sound teaching and instruction in His Word, the more we can faithfully fulfill the call to diligently teach our children. The call to “teach them diligently” in Deuteronomy 6:5, follows the father hearing, learning and practicing the statutes first (Deut. 6:1-3). Do we pray with our children? Do they see in our lives a man chasing after the heart of God? Yes, we will fail. But God’s grace is sufficient! By striving to make obedience to God a priority in our lives, our children will seek to do the same.
Being a father can be tough. Yet, it is one of the most important tasks God has entrusted us to accomplish. No matter our past failures as fathers, regardless of how many times we have fallen short in emulating the characteristics of biblical fathers found in Scripture, for those who have been forgiven through Christ, we find peace. We are not called to follow a pattern that assures a perfect outcome in our children, but rather, to follow a Perfect God, and rely upon the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit.
To be given the opportunity to lead our children in the knowledge and grace of the Sovereign is indeed a sacred privilege. Let us embrace this duty and walk in His grace as we disciple our children.
 Courageous, DVD, directed by Alex Kendrick (2011; Atlanta, GA: Affirm Films, distributed by TriStar Pictures).
R. C. Sproul, “What Does It Mean to Fear God?,” Ligonier Blog, January 12, 2018, https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-fear-god/.