Fatherhood was one of the first responsibilities God gave men.
Fatherhood was one of the first jobs God gave men. Immediately after creating Adam and Eve, God commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28) One of His primary purposes for marriage was offspring who would fill the earth with God’s praise and glory. However, providing sperm for conception is merely the beginning of God’s expectations for fathers. The Bible provides many points of guidance on what God’s expectation is to be a good father.
Here are just a few verses that describe a father’s role:
- Psalm 103:13 – As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
- Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- Proverbs 20:7 – The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
- Colossians 3:21 – Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
- Proverbs 4:1-9 – Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. …
- Proverbs 13:24 – Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
- Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
- 3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
- Psalm 127:3-5 – Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Ten Characteristics of a Godly Father
- A godly father knows God – It should be without stating, but many men want their children to have a relationship with God but do not have that relationship themselves. Children model what they see. So godly fatherhood begins within the heart of a man.
- A godly father loves and honors his wife – it has been said that the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. Even if a man is divorced or single, he can still model respectful behavior towards his child’s mother. Children imitate what they see.
- A godly father accepts responsibility for his children’s spiritual training – While providing financially for a family is an important responsibility for fathers (1 Timothy 5:8) it is not their only responsibility. A father must encourage Christian character in his children by his example as well as his words of instruction and the expectations of behavior he sets forth for and enforces with his children.
- A godly father is continually aware of his influence – fathers may not realize it but everything they do is influencing their children. Words alone are not enough.
- A godly father models selfless service – much of Jesus’ earthly life was given to serving others. As followers of Jesus, we are to imitate that service (Matthew 20:28). Godly fathers figure out ways to involve their children in acts of service.
- A godly father is consistent – nothing confuses children more than inconsistency, either in discipline or example. A father that is loving one minute and angry the next creates insecurity in his children.
- A godly father disciplines his children appropriately – discipline is a part of child-rearing and should not be ignored or solely delegated to the mother. Hebrews 12:9-10 reminds us that earthly fathers disciplined us for our own good and our heavenly Father does the same.
- A godly father does not allow himself to be controlled by outside influences. Addictions such as alcohol or drugs often create a home environment marked by insecurity, fear, and depression. Fathers that display addictive behaviors often teach their children to do the same.
- A godly father is a man under authority – Due to his sinful nature, a man will fight to be his own boss. However, Jesus demonstrated that He was a Man under the authority of his heavenly Father. He readily gave credit to God for His successes and submitted Himself fully to the will of God.
- A godly father will lead – the world is in desperate need of men who will lead wisely. Leadership is not domination or control. A leader is one who goes first. He sets the pace for the family by practicing what he preaches. He is on the lookout for dangers and takes initiative to protect his family from them. He is a man that his children can be proud of (Proverbs 17:6)
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