The importance of fathers in families is common knowledge. Statistics consistently show that when a dad is present and active in a kid’s life, that child is less likely to engage in dangerous behaviors and is more likely to grow up with a sense of self-discipline. Additionally, when both a father and mother are present, children are less likely to live in poverty.
However, when it comes to the Christian home, there are even more ways that fathers influence their families. We will consider 3 areas—church life, home life, and work life—in which fathers affect their families.
Always A Role Model
Fathers need to remember that they are role models for their kids. This almost goes without saying. But when we consider that our kids are always watching us, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Whether we want or intend to be, we are constantly training our children how to talk, think, speak, treat others, and believe; we do this directly and indirectly.
It’s vital to be not just present but active in our children’s lives. We cannot effectively influence them without being engaged in their day-to-day world. This takes both time and effort: we must be intentional about connecting with our kids so that we can guide them and build trust with them. Only then will they be open to what we have to say about living for God and being a Christian.
It’s vital for Christian fathers to attend church with their families. Don’t just drop your kids off for Sunday school, go watch the football game on TV, and then come back to get them. If you want your children to love, follow and worship God, then they need your example to follow.
Lead your family at church; be there consistently when the doors are open; and make sure that your family is there, they have their Bibles, and they’re ready to worship. During the service, be attentive and participate. Don’t be the father checking out the ballgame scores during worship or scrolling ESPN.com as the pastor is preaching. What you do your children will do; who you are is what will be reproduced in them.
Volunteer and serve the Lord at church. If you can sing, join the choir. If you enjoy working with children, enquire about helping out in the kids’ church or youth group. If you are talented at fixing things or lawn maintenance, offer your services to your church. Using your gifts to invest in your church sends a powerful message of belonging and ownership to your children and encourages them to do the same.
And don’t just worship and read your Bible at church—do these things at home too. Intentionally let your children see you reading the Word of God and hear you talking to Him. Read the Bible with them and teach them to pray. When you live your faith at home as well as at church, your children will see consistency and will be more likely to follow in your footsteps of faith.
God commands us to teach and caution our children according to God’s ways. Ephesians 6:4 states, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” It’s almost impossible to guide and instruct our kids if we don’t have a close relationship with them, so we must make it a priority if we want them to receive direction from us.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” It’s important that your children see you sincerely loving your wife and treating her with respect and honor. More than just words, kids need to see action to back up you say.
Additionally, let your children see you doing what is right. Let them see you turn a television show off because it has inappropriate content; let them hear you listening to Christian music and powerful sermons; let them see you being generous or kind or encouraging. These may seem like “little things”, but over time as you consistently live your faith, they become a powerful demonstration of your faith.
We as humans tend to compartmentalize things in our lives, but God expects our faith to impact every area of our lives including our work. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Even at the office or job site our faith should guide us and influence our work ethic as well as the way we treat people.
Co-workers and bosses should see a difference in us because of our faith; our reputation among both believers and unbelievers should be positive and should bring honor to God. 1 Peter 2:12 says, “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
We are to act honorably at all times—at home, at work, at play—so that God is glorified and honored. When we do everything as unto the Lord, we are showing our children how to live consistently according to our faith which encourages them to do the same.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line for Christian fathers is this: live a life of consistency. This means that you act the same at home, at church and at work. You are consistently the same person at all times. You don’t just act Christ-like when you go to church but then have an irritable attitude at home and a terrible work ethic at the office. Families can see right through this inconsistency, and inconsistent fathers can lose credibility with our children and wives.
Of course no one is perfect, but if you ask God, he will give you strength to lead your children to know and love Him through your genuine example.
~ by Jennell Houts
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