Fathers…

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  ~Ephesians 6:4

Fathers

Yes, you, Mr. Dad, who stumbled across this entry.  Stop hiding behind your wife, and stop hiding from God.  Step forward, you father, as the Word of God summons you on behalf of your family.  When it comes to the august responsibility of parenting an eternal soul, Scripture first and foremost addresses fathers. Thus, there are few crimes more heinous and more damaging the mistreatment of children by their fathers – be it by abuse, neglect, or any kind of perversion of biblical parenting.  At the same time, there is no more dignified duty than the commission view to a man to raise his children.  Such is reflected by the example that his sons aspire to from him and the protection that his daughters find in him.  Let every father, with regards to his duty as such, recognize the unworthiness of his calling and the weightiness of his responsibility, lest he dishonor the Word of God and reap its consequences.  

do not provoke your children to anger…

Mr. Dad, I have yet to witness a pain of resentment so haunting to a man as that which was caused by the mistreatment of him by his father.  I have been approached by parents who are oh so worried about their anger that their children seem to be exhibited (i.e. “what do I do?  He’s just such an angry child!”) and yet are so oblivious to the actions of the children that based the furious passions of that child.  Let every father see to it that he examines himself so thoroughly that those actions that characterizes his parenting that stir up his children to an unnecessary anger become so clear to him, and let him repent.  Mr. Dad, if your kids are angry at you…it’s highly probably that you’re at fault.  For I have met several men who, while they may not have embraced the saving faith of their parents, were more than eager to embrace the personality of their earthly father.  And I have met several men who, while they they have indeed embraced the saving faith of their parents, were resistant to embrace the personality of their earthly father.  So with your children, beware of destructively criticizing them.  Beware of lording it over them.  Beware of embarrassing them in public.  Beware of missing their baseball games and ballet recitals because you had to work…over and over – and over – again.  Beware of lecturing the without listening to them.  Beware of being loud about what they do wrong and quiet about what they do right.  Beware of making promises to them that you can’t keep.    

but raise the up…

Mr. Dad, in your home, you are the first parent.  You are not the only parent obviously, and we fellow men may all speak heroically of our wives and their ministry as mothers, and rightly so.  But when it comes to the raising up of children to maturity, the primary responsibility falls on you.  As a father, involvement in your children’s lives is no mere option or suggestion; it is an command given by the authority of Scripture.  To leave the raising up of your children to their mother is categorically dishonoring to the very Word of God.  So fathers, be involved.  Be in their lives, every step of the way. May your children be able to testify of the presence of the hand of their father in their maturation.  May your sons and daughters be able to testify of your handprints in every major transition of life that they undergo under God’s providential care.  May they be able to testify that the primary tools that God used to move them from infancy to independence were the hand and voice of their father.  So, through the empowering influence of the Spirit of God Himself, move your children to maturity – one step at a time.    

in the discipline… 

Mr. Dad, this is the first leg of raising up your children.  Raise them up in the discipline of the Lord.  This is more than just spanking and grounding.  It is coaching – teaching your children not to live by instinct, impulse, lustful desire, peer pressure, or worldly trends, but rather by the principles and wisdom from heaven above.  It is the entrusting of skill.  Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.  In the same way that a tennis coach trains his pulpit to prepare his racquet early, keep his feet moving, bend his knees, keep his eyes on the ball, and follow through the swing.  In the same way that a physics teacher trains his pupil to show his work, construct free body diagrams when attempting to solve dynamics-related problems.  Fathers, in the same way, train up your children to navigate through this world with the godly disciplines found in the person and words of Christ Himself.  

and instruction…

Mr. Dad, this is the second leg of raising up your children.  Raise them up in the instruction of the Lord.  Oh that profound Greek word used here, which implies the instructing and affecting of the mind.  It’s more than lecturing, and it’s definitely not yelling or monologuing, but rather training your children to reason and interpret the world around them accurately, to evaluate the world around them soundly.  It involves, in beautiful tension, both leadership and dialogue, both talking to them and talking with them, both exhorting them and conversing with them.  Train your children, Mr. Dad, come to accurate conclusions about God, themselves, and the world around them.  Train them not only in their habits, but more importantly in their thinking.  Hand down to them not rules and procedures, but rather a worldview consistent with God’s revelation of truth found in Scripture.  

of the Lord

Mr. Dad, you will always be their dad.  But the day is coming when your authority over your children will be an artifact of the pass.  Yet, they will always be, just like you and me, men and women under authority.  What will matter is whose authority they are submitted to in their living and thinking.  Fathers, with authority, teach your children that you’re not the ultimate authority.  Show them that you yourself are a man under the authority of the Lordship of Christ.  Raise up your children to recognize, both by your example and instruction, the absolute supremacy of Christ.  Teach them to respond humbly and submissively to His lordship.  Show them what it looks like to respond to our Lord in repentance and faith.  Teach them, that they must “hate their father and mother” and give the whole of their lives to following Christ.

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