Fathers, ours is one of the most awesome and rewarding callings in life.
There are so many blessings that come with being a daddy: watching our children grow; teaching them (and having them soak up those lessons like little sponges); seeing their personalities begin to take shape; and the beautiful fleeting moments throughout the day that make you smile and thank God for your family.
I love my wife and three children with all of my heart and can’t believe how blessed I am to be a husband and father. I know you feel the same way.
Hopefully you already model your parenting after our Heavenly Father, but – on this Father’s Day – I thought it would be worthwhile to go back and look at a few of the traits that God exemplifies, which we as the earthly caretakers of our children, should emulate.
First, God loves us, just as we should love our children. God loves us with an all-consuming, sacrificial love that knows no bounds. He sent Jesus as a living sacrifice because of how much He loves us. Do you love your children with a sacrificial love?
Would you be willing to lay down your life for your son or daughter? In Romans 8, Paul writes that there is nothing on earth or in heaven that can separate us from the love of God. I find God’s love for broken sinners like us to be an incredible thing.
Second, God provides for us, just like it’s our responsibility to provide for our children. I understand that times get tough, but we also realize that our role as fathers is to make sure our kids have what they need (not what they want, necessarily, but what they need).
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (ESV) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us not to be worried or anxious, because God will provide for us. We as fathers, in turn, should not take lightly the responsibility of providing for our own children.
Third, God disciplines us, just as we must discipline our own children. Discipline is not an easy topic, is it? Of all the things I love about fatherhood, discipline is not really one of them. You want your child to be happy and care-free, but a loving father also must discipline his child in order to raise him correctly.
Again, God is our example in this: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12, ESV). In fact, there are many verses in the Bible which show that – when done correctly – discipline isn’t an act of aggression, but an act of love that could ultimately save your child’s life.
Finally, God comforts us, just as we should comfort our own children. How many times has your child come up to you crying and hurting, either with a physical wound or an emotional one? You’ve lost count, right?
Sometimes it’s necessary to use the opportunity to encourage them to be strong, because life will not always be easy. But often we have the wonderful blessing of simply wrapping our child up in our arms, holding them tightly, and comforting them. It’s this image that I picture when I read Psalms like “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (9:9, ESV) and “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (46:1, ESV)
Our heavenly Father is the rock to which we cling. Are you the same for your child?
Our heavenly father loves, provides, disciplines and comforts us, and this is just a start. Entire books have been written about God being the perfect example for us as fathers raising our families.
My friends, just as God loves us so much that He pursues us relentlessly despite our human wickedness – so much so that He sent Jesus to die on our behalf – I encourage you, most of all, to love your children and view them as a precious gift worthy of all you have.
Never take this honor of fatherhood lightly.