by Editor Michael Brooks
Fatherhood is dear to my heart. Being raised by a tremendous father helped form in me the deep desire to be a father. Along with being a good husband, my role as father is the most meaningful thing I do and am. It is also the most demanding and important. Being a father is a difficult task and of utmost importance. In God’s design the central component of a good and properly functioning world is the family. That means, fatherhood, is a world-changing role.
For the sake of our children, our families, and our world we must get this right. For fathers, and those desiring to be fathers, we must understand what our Heavenly Father requires of us. Once we understand what is required of us we must shape our parenting around that knowledge. Generations are at stake. Souls are at stake. The world is at stake.
It is my desire in this article to show the relentless nature of fatherhood. This can also apply to being a mother but I wish to shape and apply this message specifically to the fathers that are reading.
The Lord charges Fathers to relentlessly mold and shape their children to value what God values and hate what God hates. Let me flesh out my definition and the Scriptural basis for it below.
My Scriptural foundation is not only found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 but it is well represented there which is where we will land. Here we find God, through Moses, charging Israel to live holy unto the Lord. Why? So that through them, the world would witness the greatness of God and live in accordance with His ways. Israel is about to enter the promises land and Moses writes in verse one:
“These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lordyour God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess… “
Moses writes that what He is about to say in the book of Deuteronomy are commands that need to define the lives and culture of His people. Who would they be and how would they live? They would be a people that live in accordance with what God would command.
He goes on to say:
“so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life…”
For what purpose should they shape their lives in obedience to their covenant God? So that the future generations, their children and grandchildren, and would fear God and be in blessed relationship with Him. The Law defined the proper relationship for His people toward their God. It defined for them what kind of people God would have them be. The Law was intended for their physical lives and their lives as children of God. Verse three broadens and repeats the significance of their obedience.
Then we come to the verses that form the foundation for my thesis:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
First, Moses repeats what is most important for God’s people–that they know who God is and love Him with all of their person. He is to occupy supreme significance in their hearts and minds. Then Moses says: “impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
This is why the words relentless, shape, and mold are used in my thesis. Every day parents are to impress upon them who God is and how we as God’s children are to live. In short, children must learn know who God is, and to live in a way that values what He values and to hate what He hates. This is the Christian and Biblical goal of parenting.
Fatherhood: A Relentless Calling
In God’s design Fathers are the ones who will be held primarily accountable for how their children are raised in the home. That does not mean Mother’s are not responsible or that their role is less significant, but in God’s design men are held accountable in a unique way for this. Fathers should be tirelessly leading in their families. Not domineering, but leading in sacrifice and direction. Toward the life-giving well that is a life oriented under the authority of God.
The reason I chose the word relentless is that it brings out the tirelessness and constancy of the task. The definition is: “oppressively constant; incessant.” A Father should be constantly and incessantly molding and teaching their children. When you go to the grocery store (“when you walk along the road”), watching the game, (“sitting at home”) or even sleeping (“when you lie down”). This responsibility to lead your family and shape your family as God requires is a never-ending and never-resting responsibility.
As men we often find our pride and identity in what we do. There are countless men who benefit our communities well because of their pride in working hard. There are also many men who benefit their communities well because of their pride in serving their country or community in the military, police, or first responders.
Your role as husband and father is more important than any other role you have. Father, your most important job is being all that you must be to your wife and children. Father, you will have no more impact in your world than in the molding, shaping, directing, and leading of your children. Your most important legacy is the family you lead and the children you mold and shape.
Your children need you to give all that you have in pointing them to the God of the universe and to His Son, Jesus Christ. Father, your children need you to teach them to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. Father, your children need you to model a warring against sin in your home. Model the devastating evil that sin is and our necessity to run to God and to war against sin in our hearts, through faith in Him. Father, your children need you to model life-giving sacrafice and love for others. Father, your children need you to model how to be a godly husband and father.
Fathers, our children need us.
It is my prayer that as men we stand up to the task. I pray we do not take on the worldly roles of passivity or domination in our homes. I pray we do take on the roles God lays out for us to protect, lead, love, and teach in our families. I pray that men take hold of this unique responsibility for the sake of our families and communities. I pray that men take hold of this responsibility out of obedience for God, for His glory, and for the good of our families.