Our guest blogger today is Dr. Rich McCarrell.
Dr. McCarrell’s spiritual upbringing was through the ministries of Des Plaines Bible Church in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. He attended the Awana Program conducted by the church. He has been in the ministry for 38 years and has pastored churches in Philadelphia as well as Michigan. He also has taken several overseas trips for the purpose of training national pastors. He is currently pastor of Byron Center Bible Church, Byron Center, Michigan, a church with an active Awana program.
There are some young fathers today who are petrified. They are scared to death to bring a child into the world. “Look at everything that’s happening around us,” they say.
But every generation from the time of the fall could say that very thing. But in every generation by His strength and power and grace, God has used godly parents to lift up a righteous seed. Sometimes we complicate that too much and I think that contributes to the fear of being a dad in this generation.
Let’s keep it simple. This is not complicated.
So, I took a piece of paper and I wrote, “What are the five or six expectations God has for us as fathers that have not changed?”
These are the bare bones of being a father straight from God’s Word.
We can keep it even simpler by spelling out the word FATHER.
F is for Faithful. – Be faithful to your wife, the mother of your children. We can go back to the beginning (Genesis 2 – cleave unto your wife) when God gives us a great spiritual, emotional picture as He institutes marriage.
Unfaithfulness always has consequences. If you want to be part of raising a righteous seed in the middle of unrighteousness – be faithful to your wife in the middle of a faithless world. (A wife also needs to remain faithful to her husband.)
A is for Attentive. You need to be attentive to your children. (Ephesians 6:4) I believe one of the best definitions of “not provoking” comes from Josh McDowell – Provoking is: “Rules without a relationship.” If they don’t know you care, they won’t care about your rules. If you want them to care about the standards in your home, then you have to show you care. Each child is different and unique and individual. God loves us personally. The way we apply our care to this child is different from the way we apply our care to that child because each child has a different giftedness, a different way of responding and different reactions. Each child has been uniquely created. God has given them to us to be good stewards (not owners) raising them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The only way we can do that is to be attentive to them. (Look at Eli in the Old Testament – he didn’t correct his sons and look what happened.)
T is for Teach God’s Truth. You might say “I can’t do that, I don’t have any training.” You can still teach God’s truth (Deuteronomy 6) The dynamic here is to continually teach them. We need to tell them “I want you to truly love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” Sometimes we allow our relationships to be split over things that aren’t worth it and are insignificant. We need to not just teach them, but teach them God’s truth.
H is for Heart Set on Spiritual Truth – Ephesians 6 – We need to pass the baton on to the next generation. We need to allow our children to see our own spiritual growth. We need to be open with them, confessional with them and when we blow it, we need to ask forgiveness and not put the blame on someone else. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” Six months later when we blow it again we say again, “Will you forgive me?”
Share struggles and prayer requests. Let them tell you their struggles – pray about the struggles together.
Let them know you will be praying with them for their spiritual growth. Ask them to pray for you in your spiritual growth. You should always be ready to sit down and pray with the child. Men, this is a tremendous way for us to pray for our sons and for our sons to pray for us to have purity of mind. Let them see the importance of spiritual growth – you don’t need a PHD to understand that.
E is for Being Earnest in Leading Your Children. (Psalm 25:15) May our eyes, as fathers, be ever toward the Lord. May we be able to say to our children – “Follow me as I follow the Lord.” It’s not just follow me, but follow me as I follow the Lord. We should be able to say to our children, “I’m not perfect, I struggle, but may my eyes always be on the Lord.” We need to be concerned about that.
R is for Responsive to the Needs of Your Wife and Children. Endeavoring by God’s grace to meet their needs while pointing them to the ultimate “need meeter.” Sometimes we can’t meet their needs, but we should strive, by the grace of God, to the best of our ability to do so. We need to be responsive to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. To give to them the emotional affirmation that will give them a sense of confidence of who they are. We need to turn their hearts toward the ultimate “need meeter.”
Hard to do the job of being a dad? We need to, with God’s grace, do what God tells us to do.