The Truth about a Dad’s Influence
Families are in crisis. And the root of that crisis falls on parents…especially disconnected dads. Frankly, we are living in a culture in which fathers are often invisible – a so-called fatherless culture. Our families and our nation are paying the price as a result. Too often dads are lost, struggling in the role that God has called them to do.
Too many dads today are delegating dads…leaving the raising of their children to the influence of our culture or their mothers. But may I remind you that the one assignment you have in life as a dad is being a father to your children. It is the one assignment you cannot…you must not…delegate to someone else.
Too many Christian dads fail to embrace their role as the spiritual leader of their family. Friend, we must never underestimate the value, the importance, and the significance of the work of the father as the spiritual leader in the home. In our politically correct society, this role has been undermined to the great detriment of the Christian family. Now, this in no way diminishes the influence and the impact of wives and mothers. But the fact is God has charged men with the responsibility of training, developing, disciplining, and discipling their children.
Men, don’t be content with the fact that you’re simply a dad. Instead, I want to challenge you to become a dad who is a force in the lives of your wife and children. Understand the incredible influence you have on your children to direct them in the kind of life God desires for them.
Dads, you have the greatest potential for influencing your children…especially to influence them spiritually. The big question is how do you become that influence?
God has given us a book in Scripture known as the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is, in effect, a training manual for life. It’s all about how to live life wisely and skillfully. The principles we find in Proverbs are sermons in a sentence…delivered from a father to his son, from Solomon to his children.
This manual on life from this ancient father is a powerful resource for us today as parents. As Solomon seeks to teach and train his own children, he in fact is laying out for us the truth about how to influence our children. The focus of that influence is summed up in Proverbs 4:7, which states:
Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom….
Solomon knew it was important that his son make wise choices in life. And he understood the powerful role of his influence in guiding his son into that wisdom.
If you want to exert godly influence upon your family, it must begin with you taking God and His Word seriously. Look at Proverbs 1:7:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (or wisdom), but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
You will often see in the Proverbs a contrast between wisdom and foolishness. And here Solomon is saying to his son, “Son, here’s how not to become a fool. Take God and His Word seriously.”
There was a time in American life when describing someone as a God-fearing man was a common occurrence. But today it sounds out of date and antiquated to speak of someone as being “God-fearing.” Yet, we are called to love God…and to fear God. In fact, fear has been described as love of God on its knees. It is the awesome reverence and respect that is due to Almighty God.
You know, we teach our children many things…everything from baseball to baking, from fishing to fashion. But there is one thing most parents fail to teach their children. And it’s the one thing that should be at the top of the list: The priority of loving God–of fearing God–and of walking in the wisdom of His Word.
So let me ask you a question…or maybe I should ask your children the question: Dad, are you a full throttle, full out, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, or are you just sort of a fringe Christian? Dad, are you sold out to Jesus Christ, or are you living in the shadows of your faith? Kids recognize ambivalence every time! And if you are ambivalent and nebulous about what God means to you…about what Christ means to you…your children are going to pick up on it.
Men, your children, your grandchildren, are looking to you to lead them. Make the right choice to first follow Christ and then to live for Him in the fear – in the love – of God. And then train up your children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.
I challenge you today to be the Dad who influences your children for Christ. Be the spiritual influence who will lead your son…your daughter…to seek after God with all their heart. Don’t underestimate the power of your influence. Don’t be a delegating dad.
May your children find you faithful.