Those who have flown a fair amount likely have noticed something that has similitude worth considering in regard to parenting. Once airplanes take off, they are affected by the prevailing winds. If a headwind is encountered groundspeed will be lower, but if a wind from behind occurs, groundspeed will be boosted.
It gets interesting when the wind is from either side, a crosswind. The direction the plane is heading must then be adjusted right or left to arrive at the desired destination. Many a disappointed pilot realized too late that he had not applied enough correction in route.
Could that be like parents who are merely satisfied with outward conformance of their child’s behavior? There is a degree of obedience which looks like the child is heading in the right direction, but the child is hardened and merely avoiding consequences. He is “off-course” from the parents’ hearts and certainly not seeking to please the Lord Jesus.
Parenting is hard, really hard, and that makes it tempting to settle for compliance. For the child’s future, always be looking at his heart.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” (Proverbs 4:23).
If your foot isn’t on the gas a millisecond after the traffic light has turned green, you are likely to hear horns behind you “encouraging” you to forward movement. Yet, we seem to be in a time of unprecedented, underwhelming forward movement of men for things that are worthwhile. Where are the Christ-led, responsible, diligent, dependable, hard working men?
Let there be travel for a football game, or early rise for deer hunting, and today’s man will be up at the crack of dawn. Yet, children are starving to death for men-of-God role models. These are men who are having their own Bible time to fellowship with their God early every day. They are men who couldn’t imagine not feeding their families the Word of God each evening. They are men who have a faith worth sharing and actually share it.
Children need to see their dads as a solid example of life in Christ. Let us not be slack. Amen? “Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?”(Joshua 18:3). The “land” is before us. God has given us children and a faith to share. Forward.
One thing I have learned about men is that at the end of the day, a man will have done or worked on what is most important to him. Food is the best example. Eating usually ranks near the top for most men, and I’m confident few go without food in a day, regardless of how busy they are.
I plead with you to make your personal time with the Lord your first priority and next, your family Bible time. Our response (or reaction) to everything we face in life will depend on the closeness/quality of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Whether your family is unstable or in the “strong tower” (Proverbs 18:10) greatly depends on your walk. (It’s a good thing our salvation doesn’t depend on our works, or who could be saved?)
Dads, seek Him, delight in Him, and obey Him—all day, everyday. Where is your treasure: in this life or the Lord Jesus? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” (Luke 12:34-35).
Another Father’s Day is about here. The years click by, and we have one less year to influence the children living in our home. Has there been tangible growth in your life and children’s this past year?
The time to influence their lives is diminishing with each day, each hour. Have you noticed that resolutions don’t work? Good intentions even less. It takes commitment, then execution.
Are both hands to the plow? Is the cry of your heart, “Father, enable me to raise these children to love you with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength?” Dads, is that the way you live and love the Lord?
“…The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
Do you have a personal time in the Word daily? Do you also have family Bible time every day? If you spent a half hour each, that totals one hour a day in God’s Word. Why you are spending that much time reading the Bible? Might some think that is a little “over the top”? I’m confident that a lot today would think that extreme which is likely the reason why they don’t.
Building Strong Lives in Christ
Aren’t we are in the Word because we value our God so much–the One Who died for our sins–that we want to spend that much time and more hearing what He wants to speak into our lives so that we can live it?
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if being godly parents guaranteed godly children? I believe that most Christian parents consider themselves to be godly. Therefore, Christians go about their normal “godly” lives and expect their children to be godly, just like they are.
Here’s an intriguing example illustrating the fallacy of our thinking that way. The very good king Hezekiah and the (believed-to-be) godly wife Hephzibah were responsible for bearing the most wicked king. Their son, Manasseh reined 55 years, the longest of all the kings.
I plead with you to make your most pressing focus—the cry of your heart—to be raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Don’t assume it will just happen.
Brother, if that isn’t your lived-out passion, you are headed for a train-wreck of a heartbreak. Then it is too late.
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:1-2).
Do you have fond memories of what you left behind in the “good ole days?” “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).
Love of the sought after, popular things of this world is offensive to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 16:23). The cure isn’t just saying “no” to the appealing things of the world, but following Jesus wholeheartedly. Pursue a relationship with Him that makes the world look like dung. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
The sting of the world is bitter, but there are no regrets when we (and our family) unashamedly follow Jesus with everything we have.
If your wife rated you, how would you do?
– Decisively leads our family in pursuit of the Lord Jesus.
– Makes decisions consistent with our children becoming dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus.
– Speaks of the Lord Jesus’ working in his life frequently with the family.
– Makes decisions consistent with his owning the responsibility of the family’s spiritual direction.
– Makes decisions consistent with his owning the responsibility of the children’s behavior.
– Sets the example and inspires our children to be diligent workers as they prepare for the future.
“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).
Do you struggle with time to:
- Read your Bible daily in the morning
- Have Family Bible time
- Spend time with your wife
- Spend time with your children
- Increase the value of your vocational skills
Someone screams, “The house is on fire. Get out!” Whatever you were too busy doing before, now means nothing. You have a new priority that produces action. Brother, your problem isn’t time but misplaced priorities.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:33-34).
The cat sat against the wall in the hallway—head fixed, eyes intent on Teri as she attached the carpet head on the vacuum. I was fascinated watching those eyes and the one ear that never moved, as if riveted on Teri.
Arnold obviously uses his ears as a warning system. One ear was trained on her, while the other one, alternated one second on Teri and then one second down the hall behind him. Back and forth, back and forth, he was ensuring he was safe from sudden attack from behind. Arnold had lived outside before we took him in, and his survival depended on how alert he was to threats.
I wonder how many dads are that watchful for spiritual danger. Satan wants your family. Are we merrily strolling through life without a care, or do we hold our family’s spiritual wellbeing as precious? I grieve when I learn what children in professing Christian families are reading and seeing. Some examples would be books such as Harry Potter and “classics” that are wicked and evil, but justified because they are literature. In addition, there are horrific, violent video games and movies galore. Dads I plead with you: cherish your children’s souls.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).