“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
In the verse above, the relationship between God and His followers is defined. God is our “Father” and we are His “children”. God seems to enjoy being called “Father” more than any other title — He uses it is to describe Himself all throughout the New Testament.
So when God allows a man to be called “father”, He is giving him a very special honor, and with that honor God gives a very special responsibility. That responsibility is this: Earthly fathers are to be reflections of the Heavenly Father.
The key to being reflections of the Heavenly Father is loving your child because God loves us. Even though we are sinful people, even though we rebel against Him, even though we don’t deserve it, He loves us. Nothing, the Bible tells us, can separate us from the love of God. So a father should have a bond with his child that is held together with love.
In order to love your child you must understand what love is (We’ll use 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 to explain what love is):
“LOVE IS PATIENT”
Be patient with your child the same way God is patient with you. We all stumble. We all mess up at some point. Yet God is full of grace, always ready to forgive, and always ready to help put us back on track. Fathers should do the same. I am not saying ignore a child when he or she has done wrong – God will correct those He loves and so should we – what I’m saying is always be there to help put your child back on track. Don’t become easily discouraged when problems occur. Remember, God looks at what we are capable of becoming not necessarily what we are right now. Father should do the same when they look at their children.
“LOVE IS KIND”
Speak kindly to your child. You will probably never truly understand how powerful your words are. So please, think very carefully before you speak to your child. Always say, “I love you”. Always take time to encourage. Always take time for a hug. Always tell your child how they make you proud. Again, we can look to God as an example. He gave us the Bible to tell us how much He loves us and to encourage us.
“LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES IN TRUTH”
God made sure we had a Bible with the truth written in it and He expects fathers to pass that truth along to their children. A father must not only do the things written here, he must also teach his son or daughter to do these things. You have the wonderful joy of teaching your child rights from wrongs, truths from lies (Remember that being an example is the best way to teach. You have to practice what you preach). You also have the wonderful joy of introducing your child to the very God of the Universe! You can say, “This is God. He loves you and created you special. And this is His Son, Jesus, He payed for your sins.” What a privilege! Enjoy it!
“LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES”
Being a father is a great responsibility but it isn’t one we have to face alone. The Lord would not give us the ability to have children without giving us the ability to be godly parents. When the pressures of fatherhood come, take heart! Jesus will be with you every step of the way. We should pray everyday for our children. We should give thanks for them because they are gifts from God. We should ask that we be given wisdom to teach and guidance to direct. We should pray that God would always be head of our home and that we fathers be given the strength and grace to represent Him to our children.