The month of June is known across America as a month to celebrate LGBTQ and transgender practices. I believe it’s important for you to listen to an inspiring testimony of a woman named Laura that came to salvation during her transgender rebellion against God. It’s a moving and important testimony of redemption that will help us all better share Christ with those who struggle with these areas of sin.
Please click on the link below to listen to her story. Press “play” between the title and her picture to hear the story.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring
them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. Leading a family and raising children in this day is a daunting task. The Lord will give strength for the task, but it’s important to refocus on the fundamentals.
Being a father is a God-given authority. The authority of fatherhood follows after the loving and good authority of God the Father toward us. As fathers live under the authority of God the Father, so our children live under our authority. At a minimum, this means parenting should be parent-directed, not child-directed. The spiritual leadership of the father is meant to direct the life and formation of the child. To be a father is not to stand-by while your child does whatever they choose, but with proper godly love, discipline, and education to direct the course of your child’s life. This loving direction, education, discipline, and training is constant when a child is young but should taper off as they enter their teens, and end as they launch into adulthood. When a child enters adulthood the father’s goal is for the child to establish their own home beginning again the fatherly role in the next generation. Your authority as a father hems in your children to guide their path. As a father it is your role to teach your children who God is, what He expects of them, and how they can experience the love of God through the forgiving grace of Jesus Christ.
I would argue that the most important attitude of a father is to love their child. Love is the master virtue of the Christian life and the first fruit of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Jesus Christ, we experience the love of God through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. We have peace with God through the cross and go from
being enemies of God to being His beloved adopted children. The authority of fatherhood will never be effective, and will instead be hurtful to a child, without authentic love. Dads, you know whether you love your kids or not. Your kids know whether you love them or not. If you view your children as a drag to your finances and free time this indicates a lack of love. If you can’t discipline without anger, there is a lack of love. If you don’t want to spend time with your kids, you don’t love them like God wants you to. I believe every dad struggles with these issues. I know I have.
The answer is always the same when we begin to recognize a lack of Christian love in our lives. We must draw near to the Lord in prayer and Bible study. In prayer you have to earnestly ask the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to bear the fruit of authentic love that you can’t contrive. Confess your sins and failures asking the Holy Spirit to make you the gentle and kind father you know you should be. If you need to ask for your child’s forgiveness, do that as well. If you did not have a loving and gentle father growing up, know that you can learn these ways from your Heavenly Father.
Fathers, I encourage you to see your children like empty vessels that need to be filled up with your love afresh each day. You fill them with words of affirmation and blessing, by making good memories together, through praying for them, listening to them, working with them, doing your best to tell them about Jesus, and most fundamentally – just telling them you love them. This will wear you out. As you pour out, you also must be filled. This filling must come from the living water of Jesus our Lord. Living water that never runs dry. You must spend time with Jesus every day. You must MAKE time for Jesus every day and ask Him to make you into the type of father you could never be on your own.
After loving our children, we must train them. Fathers, you must lead the way in training. Teach them to put the things of the Lord first. Teach them to love their mother and their siblings. Teach them to pray and read the Bible. Teach them to love learning and respect their elders. Teach them respectful manners and practical life skills that are related to their gender. Fathers, teach your boys to be men, and cherish your wife as she teaches your girls to become women. Be patient with your children as they learn but press them always to grow in the talents God has given them.
Next, you must discipline your children. Hebrews 12:5-11 is very clear that God will discipline us in the Christian life to correct our path, because He loves us. Every parent that loves their child will discipline their child. Discipline done with love builds character and turns a child away from sinful, selfish, and irresponsible actions. Discipline teaches a small child that they must live under authority. Discipline uses a small amount of pain brought into their life by a father who loves them, to turn them away from a great amount of pain in later life that will come from those who hate them. I understand that spanking is well out of fashion in this day and that there are important exceptions to children that have been abused, but the Proverbs speak about the need to bring the quick and decisive discipline of a spanking into a child’s life (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15). All discipline must be administered without anger, but proper discipline from a loving father will work to shape the soul and character of a small child.
Fathers, never give up on your children. Never stop in pursuing your children with love. Never stop preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to your children. Never give up on the faithful discipline of stubborn small children. Never stop praying for your kids and investing in their lives. Pray for their souls until they come to salvation. Knowing that your child authentically believes in Christ as their Savior is infinitely more important than any other life goal. Their soul before God is more important than what college they go to, what sports they play, what job they get, or what level of worldly success they attain. Your children should emphatically know that you care more about their soul than any of these things.
May the Lord help us to be godly fathers,
Some basic parenting resources:
Shepherding A Child’s Heart, 2nd Edition, by Tedd Trip (for small children)
Parenting by The Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child, by John Rosemond (for small children)
Age of Opportunity, 2nd Edition, by Paul David Trip (for teenagers)
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, by Paul David Tripp
Focus on the Family: a long-standing trusted ministry with podcast and countless resources