It’s Father’s Day today, so it’s only appropriate to touch on the topic of fathers, and also husbands, because fathers are also husbands. The Bible gives instructions on how to be a Godly father and husband. I want us to take a look at some of those instructions today.
My focus today will be a charge to the men, the fathers and husbands (and future fathers and husbands, too, so listen up, young men), because this is where it begins. The Bible is clear on this order, that it starts at the top with the fathers and husbands. We are the ones who shoulder the responsibility of leading and caring for our family—our wife and children.
First, about the role of the father.
1) It is most important that your faith be real and strong. This is where your strength, wisdom, love, patience, and authority as the head of the house will come, both as a father and a husband.
You are not merely the leader of the house. You are the spiritual leader of your family, and because of that, you need to be closely connected to God.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:2 So that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.
Fathers, it is our responsibility to know and love God and to follow him wholeheartedly, thereby setting an example for our children, so that they may have the same, if not greater, faith. The greatest gift we can give as fathers is to instill faith in our children. We are to teach it, as the next point indicates, but we can’t teach it if we’re not living it ourselves. So, it’s important that we tangibly live out our faith, and not just pay lip service to it.
2) We also have the responsibility to teach the faith to our children. The primary responsibility of teaching faith to our children does not fall on the Church and Sunday school. The primary responsibility falls on us, the fathers.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Teach them early on about the importance of God’s Word. Teach them about what it means to truly worship God, and not just mindlessly sings songs as if it’s karaoke. Teach them the importance of attending church service with the right attitude and motivation. Teach them about tithing, and more importantly the Spirit behind it, which are trust, obedience, and generosity. Teach them about faith and prayer. Teach them about the importance of virtues such as humility, compassion, and mercy, as well as righteousness, faithfulness, and thanksgiving. Teach them! Take any and every opportunity in your daily life to teach them!
3) We have a responsibility to teach and model these things in a loving, real, and honest way.
We are not called to be heartless taskmasters, but fathers who wisely balance teaching with tenderness, and correction with compassion.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
As fathers, we are not to foster negativity in our children by severity, injustice, partiality, and unreasonable exercise of authority, or else they become resentful. These negative actions come out of our sinful nature, and we must be very careful so as to not take advantage of our God-given authority and role.
Fathers, love your children, just as God, our Father in heaven, loves us. As earthly fathers, we should try our very best to be an accurate representation of our Heavenly Father. We’re far from perfect, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for us to not give our very best effort. Our responsibility is to be a good witness to our children, so that they themselves will delight in the faith.
Now, about the role of the husband. The husband is the head of the wife. Now before we go any further, let’s make it clear right here and now. It’s not a cultural thing. It’s not a historical thing. It’s not a chauvinistic thing. It’s a Biblical thing.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
Women, if you have a problem with this, you need to resolve this in your heart. Because if you don’t, you have a problem with God. Don’t use the shortcomings of your husband as an excuse to be indifferent. That’s all I’ll say about this today, because today’s focus is not on the responsibility of wives, but on the responsibility of husbands, as head of the house.
It’s sad and shameful that men have used this exact charge from God to promote their own agendas of chauvinism, selfishness, misogyny, egotism, narcissism, etc. We have truly missed God’s Spirit behind this mandate, one of love and sacrifice.
God didn’t give men the right to be self-centered, hard-headed tyrants. Rather, he gave them a responsibility to be loving, caring, and sacrificial. The Biblical passage didn’t end with verse 23. Read on.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Men, both husbands and husbands-to-be, don’t use this Biblical instruction as an excuse to be a selfish, chauvinistic jerk! On this Father’s Day, as much as I want it to be a celebratory day to honor the men, be reminded of the fact that God has given us a great responsibility to love and make sacrifices for our wife, just as Christ did the church. Here are some concrete suggestions.
1) Love! Don’t think it’s good enough just to work and provide for the family. That’s a given. Do you think about what makes your wife smile? Do you try to understand what she’s thinking? Do you engage in conversation with her? Do you think about doing something romantic for her? Love!
2) Sacrifice! Don’t just think about what your wife can do for you. Do you think about what you can do for her, even if it means you have to sacrifice more of your time and energy? Do you think about what might make her day a little brighter, a little easier, a little more fun, even if it means doing something that you’re not used to or comfortable with? Sacrifice!
3) Don’t be a mama’s boy! You’re probably wondering, “Where did that come from?” but hear me out. Have you ever wondered why there are so many problems within mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships? It’s because too many husbands are mama’s boys.
Ephesians 5:31 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
This is the proper Biblical order, men. After you get married, your wife is now the #1 woman in your life. Not your mother, not your daughter, and not even your pet dog that happens to be female. Don’t be a mama’s boy. Love your wife!
Husbands, do these things, follow these Biblical principles, and your wife will respect you. Fathers, do these things, follow these Biblical principles, and your children will be a source of pride and joy to you.
Anyone who’s been in successful leadership long enough knows that respect does not come naturally with a title or role. You have to earn it by leading in the right way. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Men, will you follow that same example? As the head of the house, are you willing to lead humbly and lovingly?
As husbands, will you love your wife and make sacrifices for her? As fathers, will you love your children and teach them in the way they should go?