Today would have been my father’s 77th birthday.  As I was reading Scripture this morning, I started thinking, once again, about the legacy I would leave my children.

Being a father on this earth does not last for very long.  Sure, some days may seem longer than others, but in the end, you always hear about how fast life goes by. 

For a father who is in Christ, there is a larger purpose in raising our children and it has a much longer-lasting effect.  This objective can often seem overwhelmingly impossible, but thankfully, God’s word has some great guidance for us and by God’s Spirit, we can have an influence that outlasts us.
I specifically noticed today in 1 Thessalonians that Paul used an example of being a “father” to make a greater, eternal point.  
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:10–13 (NASB95)
 Paul points out three aspects of how a godly, earthly father resembles his work as an apostle.
PERSON: In the eyes of our children, we are to be authentic.  How does that look?  We are to be:
  • Devout (with devotion)
  • Upright (fair, justice)
  • Blameless (giving no reason for complaint)

Being the person we are supposed to be does not happen by accident.  As godly fathers, we must put in the work to rest in Christ.  Being diligent to care for our own spiritual health by prayer and bible reading provides a foundation from which to serve as a godly father.

WORK: Being a godly father is not easy.  We are not allowed to just phone it in.  We must be engaged and involved in guiding them. I often feel like much of my engagement looks like micromanaging.  That sounds bad, but much of it is necessary for the long-range plans I have for them.  For our children, we are to:
  • Exhort (urge strongly)
  • Encourage (console, cheer up)
  • Implore (urge something as of great importance)

One way our Heavenly Father shows He loves us is by discipline (Heb. 12:6).  Discipline is not always a negative interaction. He pays attention to us and gives guidance and correction when needed.  Earthly fathers are called to lovingly discipline our children with the the goal of properly reflecting our Heavenly Father’s authority and care for His own.

PURPOSE:  It is important to remember and often refocus, for me.  Maintaining our testimony (person) and putting in the work is not an empty pursuit.  We do it for an ultimate purpose.  We do it, so that our children will:
  • Walk in a manner that reflects the goodness of our Creator,
  • Submit to Jesus’ authority as King
  • Believe in their need for and the sufficiency of Jesus’ payment for sins,
  • and be eternal members of God’s kingdom, which does not fail and does not end.
I fail to do each of these things, so often; however, by God’s grace, I pray that God would overcome my weakness and demonstrate His power to call and save my children. 
I love the family God has given me and as I am guiding them, remind them that my reason for being so “consistent” is that I want to be with them forever with our Creator.