Three Primary Expectations of Dads
So, Father’s Day 2015 is just behind us. I thought I would share a bit from my Father’s Day Sermon to do a more in-depth look at three primary expectations God has for us Dads. No, this was not the sermon, but it could be a sermon in and of itself, don’t you think? Anyway, here are what I consider to be the three primary expectations God has for those of us who are Dads.
1. Love God with everything you have (and are).
Yeah, I know that this is a primary expectation God has for everyone. When Jesus was asked to sum up the Law and the Prophets, He declared in Matthew 22:37-38: “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”
So, God makes it clear that your love for Him must be first and foremost. God will not share the Throne with anything or anyone else. But, just in case you weren’t totally clear on this, Jesus clarifies the type of love you are to have this way in Luke 14:26: “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison-your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes your won life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”
Your love for God and for His Son Jesus must be strong enough that the way you love ANYONE ELSE by comparison should look a lot closer to hate. Now, Jesus is not telling you to literally hate your parents, etc., He is saying that you should love Him way more than you love any person on this planet. Dads, do your kids know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love Jesus?
2. Love your wife the way that Christ loves the church.
Paul’s instructions to husbands on this matter could not be any more clear. In Ephesians 5:25-26, Paul writes: For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
Dad, your love for your wife should be to the point that there is never a doubt that you would literally lay your life down in sacrifice for her. You made a vow before God and man to honor and cherish her. God takes vows made to him quite seriously. In fact, if we are not going to honor those vows, He would just as soon we keep our mouths shut. Remember the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 5:2? Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.’
Proverbs 5:18 reminds us: Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Proverbs 12:4 says: The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and he receives favor from the LORD.
1 Peter 3:7 says: In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives.
The greatest gift we can leave for our kids (besides a saving relationship with Christ) is the model of a Dad who loves his wife. Period.
3. Model that love for your kids.
Dads, you need to live your life in such a manner that your kids “catch you” loving God with abandon. Your kids should “catch you” loving your wife without question. In fact, unless your kids know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love God first and love your wife like Christ loved the church, then they can never be totally sure that you love them. As the ’80’s-’90’s Christian Rap/Rock group DCtalk proclaimed: Love is a verb. Your actions do indeed speak much louder than words.
I pray that our kids grew up in a household where they knew that I loved God with everything I had. Studying and applying God’s Word with my family was of paramount importance to me. I wanted to pass that value along to my kids. They saw that God came first. Period. Oh, I said those words often, but I tried to live them out even more often.
My kids also grew up knowing that I love my Bride way more than I even love my kids (and my kids know that I love them to the moon and back). Peggy and I showed age-appropriate affection towards one another in front of our kids (and often got a Jimmy Fallon-like “Ew!” especially from our daughter). One of our children asked me once, “Dad, I know that the Bible says the man is to be the head of the household. So, why do you always go along with whatever Mom says?” I explained that Peggy absolutely submitted to my spiritual leadership, but that we discussed matters privately and came to agreement or understanding. If we could not agree on something, she submitted to my leadership. But, we NEVER had those discussions in front of our kids. We presented a united front to them, and try as they might, they could not play us off against the other. I also let my kids know in no uncertain terms that they would ALWAYS treat their Mother with respect…or find themselves literally flying across the room and have me all up in their grill in an instant of Bruce Banner turing into the Hulk scariness.
Now, I believe that my kids knew how much I love them. I am a Dad who is involved in their lives. I am one of their biggest cheerleaders. I am available to be a resource of “great wisdom” if they so choose. I have tried to be consistent in that regard.
Dads, none of us are perfect. I am far from perfect. I am just a man who loves God with everything I’ve got, who loves my wife as Christ loves the church, and who tries to model that love for my kids (and grandkids) every day. I pray the same for you.