Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Mark of a Godly Father

A little late for Father's Day, but better late than never... 
When I think about how much fathers mean to their children, I think about my Heavenly Father, God Almighty. I think about how He has never let me down, how His love has never failed, never given up, and has never run out on me. God, my Father, is more than enough sustaining grace for my whole life. “His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) God is perfect, never changing, is slow to anger, and abounding in love and mercy.
What does that mean for earthly fathers? How could anyone ever live up to the standard that God himself has given... especially a father? A father is a leader; a protector and provider; a knight in shining armor to his little princesses, and a hero to his tiny warrior sons.
So how does a man cope when he misses the mark with his children, his wife, his job, or anything else? How can one man be so much to so many different people and never mess up? The answer is simple – he can’t.
The truth is, no one can compare. No one can be as loving, true, and righteous as God the Father.
And here’s the best part: He doesn’t expect us to be. God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, knows our shortcomings before we even discover them. And in His love, He purposed a way of redemption for us all; His Son, Jesus, the Messiah. “It is because of His great love that we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” (Lamentations 3:22)

The thing I admire most about my daddy is his obedience to God and the lasting impact the Gospel has had in his life. My father has missed the mark many times, and he won’t hesitate to tell you that. But what he does after the fact is what counts. What makes my father a godly father is his humility and willingness to bow his knee to our heavenly Father not only privately in his own home, but also in public arenas. The ability to say, “I was wrong, will you please forgive me?” is something that can bring an entire family to its knees when spoken with a humble and contrite heart.
Humility is paramount as a marker of a godly man. And a father is the best example to his children when he can point them to the One who is perfect in all His ways. A great dad is one who can admit that he’s not perfect, but is in a right relationship with the only One who is. This dad is one who will work diligently to provide for his family. He takes parenting seriously and does not stop protecting and caring for his children, not ever. A good father leads his family and becomes an example of what his daughters will look for in a husband; what his sons can grow up to be.
My children are blessed with a father who can make amends as easily as he can mistakes. This comes from a heart that has been cleansed by Jesus Christ; by the blood He poured out for us at the cross. I pray daily that I can be the wife who is so deserving of such an amazing man of God. I also pray that our children see him for the gift he truly is to our family. The mark of a godly father is one who is not ashamed to call upon his Heavenly Father at all times.
He rejoices in prayer as regularly as he cries out in anger, sadness, and the unknown to his Father. He understands that being a Christian – living real life, in real faith – means having an honest relationship with God. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,” afterall. (Matthew 4:4)
So this month, I want to take the time to honor all of the godly fathers. I also want to encourage every dad out there to know what a relationship with Father God really is. It’s not merely saying “I have faith,” or “I believe in Jesus.” It is a life of intimacy with Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit; relying on Him to give us our every need, and thanking Him for everything – absolutely everything – that comes our way.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says it best: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, and may you grow in your walk with the Lord this year to be the greatest example your kids will ever know. God bless you richly.