I’ve been thinking a lot about Fathers lately. I’d like to write them all a letter, especially those dads who come to church on a somewhat regular basis, or even those dads who show up a couple times a year. I guess I’d kind of like moms to read what I have to say too, because I’ve seen so many women who undermine every move their husband makes.
The thing is most parents, and adults in general, have no idea the tremendous impact they have on a child’s life. And this reality is even more significant in the world of a Christian.
I’ve lived enough years now to say with confidence I know the answer to raising kids who grow up to know Christ. I guess I can’t make any guarantees, but as I look over the vast number of families I use as my “test subjects.” I can’t find one single deviation from my findings.
Those children who had two parents (or grandparents, if the grandparents were instrumental in raising the children) who both were committed to serving Jesus Christ with no compromising, now have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve also seen the same results with kids who some sold out Christian chose to mentor.
But let me describe these families a bit for you . . .
These families whose children have grown up to love Jesus seldom missed Sunday worship, and the adults truly wanted to be there. I would venture to say these families would not have missed more than three Sundays a year. There were never any excuses allowed for missing church, sports never took precedence. The adults were actively involved in the life of the church, they attended special events and fellowship dinners. They helped with clean up days and showed joy in serving. They never acted like it was a chore. Serving Christ and Worshipping Him was never a duty, but it also was required for anyone who stayed under the roof of the house.
These families lived Christianity at home. There were no dual lives. Now, this can become tricky because I know some families who LOOKED like they were living the Christian life, but later it came out that one parent was secretly living a lie. And, you know what? In those instances, it had a profound impact on the children in those homes. When even one parent acted like they were living the Christian life, but in their heart wasn’t, the enemy had a foothold and it effected the children.
On the other hand, the families I know with a 100% success rate with their kids growing up with a living faith, both parents (or other very influential adults) had a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. By that I mean it wasn’t just Sunday Morning religion. These folks read the Bible for themselves and pray continually. They invited the Holy Spirit to live in their home and most gave their kids to Christ when they were young.
And gentlemen. . . one for you . . . each of these families had a male modeling the life of Christ. Sometimes it was a strong grandfather. I’ve even seen individual children who’ve been influenced by a male mentor in the congregation, but in most of the cases I’ve experienced, the instrumental and deciding factor was a dad of faith, especially in the case of sons becoming sold out people of Christ.
Guys, you have an awesome responsibility. You are more influential than you think. And ladies, when you undermine your child’s father’s influence, you damage your child (unless of course your child’s father is a drug addict or criminal of sorts).
Men were designed to be the spiritual head of the household, you set the standard of faith for your family. If you allow the enemy into your life, you allow the enemy into the lives of each member of your family. If you cheat, that spirit of deception will be in your household and your children will be susceptible to it. You set the bar.
So many men set the bar so low. As the leader of your home, you are the one who gives authorization for which Spirit is allowed in. And sometimes you can give permission by your actions. Your prayer life and the life you live outside of church determine the spirituality of your home. If your wife is living a holy life, but you are not, you are still bringing in spirits that will influence your children, and while your wife has the power to do the same, it seems from all I’ve watched through the years, that in a traditional marriage, the man has more clout in the Spirit world. I know some women who won’t like that, but it’s just what I’ve observed.
It’s not terrible to let your wife do most of the spiritual, biblical training in the home, but your kids should know you support it. They should see you read your Bible, or at least see you carry it and know you value the words in it, even if you read before they wake or after they go to bed. Your family should hear you pray and know you pray for them. And most of all, the Holy Spirit should be the only Spirit you allow into your home.
None of this is to say kids can’t find Christ in a single parent family or with only one Christian parent. It happens! Plus, when single parents immerse their children into a good loving congregation, one which places an emphasis on a relationship with Christ, the odds of their children finding Christ in a real way increase significantly. Which means even you men who have no kids still have a responsibility!
As I write, Father’s Day is only two days away. The main reason we should honor fathers is because of the power they have in the lives of children. I pray for dads everywhere that they may recognize the awesome God-given responsibility they have so kids can begin to have a fighting chance in this world.