"Questions Fathers Ask Themselves"
Every "good" dad questions himself. Who am I? Why am I here? How do I do this "dad thing"? How do I love a kid who frustrates me? What does the Bible tell us dads?
Questions Fathers Ask Themselves
A. Today is “Father’s Day!” It is a day that was placed on the calendar to honor good fathers. Not every father is good and not every father should be lifted up simply because of a date on the calendar.
B. I remember when Kerri was pregnant with Elizabeth. I remember the joy of setting up the nursery. I remember the classes we attended while she was pregnant about the delivery. I remember going to the doctor’s office with her, she threatening him at the end of her pregnancy. But I also remember when she was born. I remember holding her and how scared I was. I remember the fears I had about what it meant to be a dad.
C. If you are a dad who really wants to be a great father, there are often questions dad’s ask themselves when they first learn their wife is pregnant. Maybe you asked yourself one of these questions:
1. Am I ready to be a dad?
2. How will I know what to do?
3. What if I make a mistake, will I ruin the kid?
4. How do I love a kid that frustrates me?
D. Let me simply say to you dads who love God and love your kids and love their mom – thank you. You are doing a great job. I know dads often get told to step up their game as a parent, and there is truth in that, but dads often don’t get the praise of trying to do something that doesn’t feel natural to many of us. So what advice does the Bible give to dads?
I. Teaching Your Children
A. Eph. 6:4, Col. 3:21
B. These two verses begin by addressing how a dad is to be in relationship with his child. Dads are not to “provoke” anger in their kids. The idea is that we dads should not seek to “arouse anger” or to “seek to irritate or exasperate” our kids.
C. Dad’s tease. Sometime too hard on our kids, but that is not the meaning of this phrase. It is seeking to anger your child, it is abusive in nature, is seeks to emotionally manipulate them in their anger cause them to act in ways that are not beneficial to them or others.
D. The flip side of that is to give them everything they need to grow up to become God’s blessing to others. In order for them to be productive Christian men and women they need a foundation that build on Jesus and an understanding of what it means to make Jesus your Master.
E. Paul phrase of “discipline/teaching” and “instruction” is a basic spiritual command given in Deut. 6 for fathers to teach the Law to their children “when they rise up, lay down or walk.” How do you love a kid that frustrates you?
F. Abilene Christian University researchers, Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Carley Dodd have did a cross-generational study to measure fathers’ positive and negative influences upon teens’ spirituality. Among top predictors of adolescent spiritual maturity, as related to dad, were his: (1) commitment to Christ, (2) spiritual well-being, (3) prayer life, (4) boldness in discussing issues of faith, (5) genuineness and (5) emotional closeness. Of those teens whose fathers expressed their love well, 84% had a high spiritual maturity, but among teens whose fathers had difficulty doing so, only 39% had a high spiritual maturity. Lewis said, “If a father will take his child on his lap and look her in the eye and say ’I love you,’ he will double her chances of being spiritually mature.”
G. Fathers give your kids spiritual guidance to become children of God, not just your child. Treat them with love, firmness, gentleness and discipline. Mold them according to God’s word and you will be God’s man.
II. Story of Abraham and Isaac
A. Abraham is called the “Father of Righteousness.” This man didn’t become a dad until he was 86 years old (Gen. 16:16). Ishmael was not the child of promise and there was strife. Fourteen years later, when Sarah was 90, she gave birth to Isaac, the child of promise.
B. My point is, I doubt it was easy for Abraham to be a dad in the traditional sense. He was much older than other men who were father’s for the first or second time. But what I want us to take away from the story is the love Abraham had for his sons, especially the story with Isaac.
C. Think about how Abraham loved God. That is the first step to being a great dad. Because Abraham loved God, teaching Isaac to love God. I imagine Abraham asked himself a lot of questions. But when he asked, “What am I to do?” God gave him a test – an answer if you will. God told him, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love and offer him as a sacrifice on a mountain I will show you.” (Gen. 22:2)
D. So Abraham took his son and we get one of the most touching stories. Listen to Gen. 22:6-8. I cannot imagine what it would take for a dad to love God more than he loves his son. I cannot imagine what it would take for a dad to strap that wood on his son, lead him up a mountain prepared to offer him as a sacrifice. There is no logic in what God is seeking and it goes against everything that God teaches. Yet, Abraham is willing.
E. We know that story. Abraham places his son on that alter, raises his knife and God speaks. (Gen. 22:12) Great dads love God more than they love their kids. That concept is very difficult for us as parents, but what we can offer to our children is a love beyond this world. A love that runs deeper than blood.
F. When my love for God is greater than my love for my kids, my kids get the benefit. I can give them all that this world has to offer, but unless I can share with them what God has to offer, they will die in their sin, separated from God and lost for eternity. Yes, love you children, but love God more.
A. I don’t understand the fullness of why God tested Abraham. What I know that because of his faith, God blessed all the nations of the earth. That blessing started with Abraham, then to Isaac, from him to Jacob, through his sons came the tribes of Israel, from one of them, the tribe of Judah came Jesus. In him I have found salvation.
B. How do you be a dad? How do you love kids that are frustrating? How do you know what you are to do? I come back to Abraham and simply stay, “Love God first. Love God always. Love God’s name and day and honor your parents.” Somehow, loving God is always the answer.
C. Many of you dads who are here today love your children with a type of love that seems inexpressible. I thank you for that love, but I challenge us dads to express that love in how deeply we love God. Our children will see that story in their life and the gifts that gives is far more than money, power, or fame.
D. I lift us dads up in prayer. If we can walk with you in your spiritual journey and you desires us as a church to pray over you and with you, then come as we stand and sing.