1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
Last week, we began to look at the qualities to which a man should aspire if he desires to be a godly father. From the passage above, we learn of three commands. The first devotional focused on what it means to ‘be watchful and stand firm in the faith.’ A godly father should be a man who is alert for the enemy, and who does not waver in his faith. He is a man who stands firm.
Today’s devotional is on the second command and what it means to be strong and act like a man.
We live in interesting times. The line between what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman is blurred like never before. Women dress like men, and men dress like women. The media is engaged in an all-out assault on the family, and it is attacking the traditional views of manhood and fatherhood.
Bob Lepine in his book, The Christian Husband, writes: “Prior to the advent of television, the dominant institutions shaping the next generation were the family, the community and the church. Now the average American spends more than three hours a day watching television, and the average American household has the tube glowing almost seven hours a day. With literally hundreds of cable channels from which to choose, young men can surf until they find the masculine role model of their choice. When boys do not have godly fathers to model a realistic picture of manhood, they turn to television and the popular culture to find alternatives.”
Think about this, in the fifties, we had John Wayne and Daniel Boone as our role models. Today, we are presented with gay men on shows like Modern Family and Will and Grace. We need to take a stand and show our sons and daughters what real men look like and how real men act.
Our goal should be to become “a good family man.” Dr. David Blankenhorn, head of the Institute for American Values, points out in his writings that this phrase almost has gone into obscurity. He says the phrase “was once widely used in our culture to designate a true badge of honor.” A good family mean is one who “puts his family first.”
Dads, we need to bring back this badge of honor and wear it boldly. The word good refers to widely accepted moral values. Family points to purposes larger than self. Man points to the traditional God-given picture of masculinity.
With this breakdown of definitions, what does it mean to be a ‘good family man?’ First, we see from Scripture that the father is to serve as the family provider. This was not disputed 50 years ago when clearly the father was the breadwinner. But this is not as clear today. However, I believe this responsibility, by God’s direction, falls upon the man. James Dobson writes, “Even though the majority of wives and mothers work outside the home, it is still a man’s charge to assure that the financial needs of the family are met.”
Secondly, the father is to be the leader of his family as the spiritual head. Dad should be the final arbiter on issues of substance as he takes his guidance from the Word of God. Now I know this headship role has been abused by some men, but that is not the way God intended. The father is to be the servant leader in the home, love his wife and be willing to die for his family. He should read the Scriptures to his children, or at least make sure they are read, teach them the fundamentals of the faith and give spiritual direction to his family. It is his role as the father to prepare his children to leave the confines of their home and head out into the world one day.
Third, the father is to serve as protector. He is to shield his family from the onslaught of the outside world. It is his responsibility to see that his house is safe and that the children come home at a decent hour. He is the one family members come to when they feel threatened and afraid. And it is his role to defend the honor and well-being of his family.
Dobson writes, “As a huge oak tree provides shelter and protection for all the living things that nest in its branches, a strong man provides security and comfort for every member of his family. [The father] knows who he is as a child of God and what is best for his wife and children. His sons need such a man to look up to and emulate. Men were designed to take care of the people they love, even if it involves personal sacrifice.”
When we fulfill this responsibility and act like men, our wives, sons and daughters will have an infinitely greater chance of becoming the men and women that God intended for them to be. When we find our purpose, then we will have significantly greater security in who we are in Christ.
Next week, we will examine the third quality mentioned in the above passage as we continue to consider God’s design for godly fathers. Remember, a father’s influence is tremendous and will impact his offspring for generations. Amen!