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April 16, 2009 / beidson

Faithfulness: The Essence of Fatherhood

If fatherhood were to be described in one word, it would be faithfulness. All things fatherly findfather3 their significance in fidelity.  The measure of a father is whether or not he has been faithful in all respects toward those whom the Lord has given him.  Everything comes back to faithfulness.

Will a father work to provide for his family?  Will he be a one-woman man?  Will his eyes and hands and feet and tongue do truth?  Will he work hard to protect his family from temptations?  Will he fight an intruder?  Will he sacrifice all that he has in order to serve those who depend on him?  Will he discipline his children lovingly?  Will he shepherd his wife and his children as priest of the home?  Will he rule his tiny dominion with wisdom and grace and godly authority?  Will he live out the gospel and drive it deep into the hearts of his children?  When he is old, will his family say, “There was never a better man than my father”?

It is God’s faithfulness toward us by which we may even know how to be a father.  Fathers are to be manly and bold, not cowardly.  They are to be wise, not foolish.  They are to be enduringly loving and merciful, patient and self-controlled.  They do all things with an eye to conquering the curse through Christ.  They wield their strength and knowledge with skillfulness and precision, doing everything to thwart the plans of Satan and to honor God.  They live like today is their last day, and spend their every waking hour to pursue their pleasure in Christ and to make him look better than all the treasure in the world.  They have backbones of steal, chests like barrells, and eyes that see everything.  When we are being fathers like this, we are being a father like God.

It is faithlessness that marks so much of fatherhood today.  There are many fathers who are passive and cowardly, who attack and do not defend, who are leacherous and not resourceful, who are mean-spirited and not loving.  This is infidelity, and a father who lives like this does not know God.  This is a warning to all of us who are, even now, beginning to drift along and set aside our responsibilities as men and husbands and fathers.  Beware.  None of us are out of the enemy’s scope.  And none of us are above grievous sins of this sort.

So man-up and play the man.  Even the smallest of us can do great things for God.  Be brave and lion-hearted.  Do not abandon your families, which doesn’t necessarily require you to move out (it can happen on the couch).  Work hard.  Live hard.  Spend yourself for your family and for your church and for Christ.  Prove to the world that fathers are faithful, and in doing so, they will see the faithfulness of God to us in Christ.

“He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32).

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