Thoughts on Fatherhood…Part I

(As we fast approach Father’s Day, 2012, I find it interesting that the reading plan I’m using for my devotions has me in Deuteronomy right now.  Moses letter to the “children” he led out of Egypt and to the edge of the promised land is full of advice and instruction for dads, or anyone else, trying to follow God and raise a family.  I want to take a look at a few of those things this week (yes, I’m planning on blogging more than once a quarter) as we head up to Father’s Day.)

“Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  Deut. 6:4-6

This charge, what Jesus identified as the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:36-37) is the foundation for a dad.  It’s the command to love God more than anything else, to give him the primacy He alone is worthy of.  Where is your priority?  Not priorities, but priority.  The main thing.  The ONE thing.  The thing that makes you tick, the thought that is with you when you go to bed at night and get up in the morning.

If it’s anything other than God, you’ve got a major problem.  Dads, if we get this one wrong, we get everything wrong.  It’s like the present your wife bought your kids for Christmas that you stayed up until 5 a.m. putting together, only to realize you got step #1 wrong and had to start over.   Or like that “weekend” patio project that turned into an all summer project, all because you messed up in the beginning and had to begin again (and you should have hired it out anyway, but that’s another story!).

Point is, if YOU, as the dad and spiritual leader of your home, mess up on this point, how can you expect anything else in your house, spiritually speaking, to go the way it should go?  How can you expect to lead your family where you’re not going yourself?  There’s a word for that: hypocrisy, and kids see right through it. You think they’re going to make a relationship with Jesus the main thing in their life if it’s just somewhere on your list of to dos?  Not likely.

I’m so thankful that my dad always put God first in his life.  In his work, his family, whatever he did, my dad made God a priority, and still does.  Go to his house today, and his Bible is never far from him.  Hang out with him for any length of time, and you’ll end up talking about the goodness of the Lord, I guarantee it.  He just didn’t talk about the Lord…he walked it out in front of me.  And you know what?  His dad was the same way.  I don’t think this really hit me until I became a dad myself.  Funny how that works.

I’ve found that I have to constantly check myself in this area, checking my thoughts, my actions, the motives and intents of the things I do, and asking myself if God is the Main Thing, or just one thing on a long list.  You see, I’ve found that when He is all to me, then all the rest of life takes care of itself.  No, it’s not daises and daffodils all the time, but there is a calm that comes from knowing He’s in control.  When I get it wrong…well, let’s just say it’s not too good.  Not too good at all!

But when I am seeking God first, when I am spending time in the Word and in prayer, I know this:  I love my kids better.  I’m more patient with them, because I’ve spend time with a Father Who is every patient with me.  I stop and make time for them, because God has unlimited time for me.  When I spend time with God in His Word, He makes me the man I’m supposed to be.

So what about you?  Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength? Is your life centered around Him and His Word? Is there an area (or areas) you’re refusing to give over to His will?  If so, WHY?   Whatever you’re trying to find and achieve by making something other that God your priority is folly.  Only in Jesus can we truly find the life and joy (not happiness) we seek.  He has given us  “all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us” (2 Peter 1:3).

So this Father’s Day, get your priority straight.  Return to the Father Who loves you.

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