Fathers (Guest Post)
By Betty Rotiche, Instructor at Kenya Highlands University
Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads out there!
Let's consider how Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Mathew 6:9-13 and Luke 11: 2-4. He said that when you pray, say “Our Father who is in heaven” The Bible refers to God as a father. The trinity is composed of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We can learn about God’s design for fatherhood by looking at who God the Father is. Jesus gives us glimpses as to who the Father is as opposed to the misrepresentations that are prevalent in our modern society. The best person for men to learn how to be a father from is not the society they live in but God himself. Jesus continues to teach his disciples on what to specifically ask for from the father. Let us look at these requests and try to understand from other scriptures what this means and their implications for fatherhood. Jesus says we are to ask him to:
"Give us this day our daily bread…" implying that a father provides:
God is a giving God. Fathers are expected to give generously and thoightfully to the needs of their family members. In Mathew 7:9-11 Jesus outlines that even if you are evil you still attend to your children's needs as none of you gives a stone instead of bread or a serpent instead of fish to a child who asks for food. He therefore challenges them that if they can do that in spite of being evil, how much more would a heavenly father who is perfect do?
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…" implying that a father extends grace:
God is a gracious and a compassionate God. Fathers are also supposed to be compassionate towards their children. Psalm 103: 13 says that as a father has compassion on his children so does the Lord have compassion on those who fear him. The story of the lost son in Luke 15:20 gives us the ultimate demonstration of a Father's compassion and the ultimate extension of Grace. When the father sees his son from afar, looking beaten and battered by life, the father does not allow for the judgement of those around him but instead dashes and extends grace saying he was dead but is alive again. It is like saying, "Forget about his earlier life and let's focus on him being alive again." It is inevitable that children will offend their fathers…. but let's remember that fathers extend grace.
"Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…" a father protects:
Fathers can actively protect their children from temptation.
In Colossians 3:21, fathers are urged not to embitter their children, while in Ephesians 6:4 they are urged not to provoke their children to anger but instead bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The Ukrainian fathers have demonstrated to the world what it means to protect family courageously even when facing a strong enemy. A father protects from the temptations of this world, from physical harm, social harm, emotional harm and spiritual harm.
"For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory..." implying that a father has authority:
Fathers are authority figures in our homes and communities. They give direction. As such, they are expected to be temperate and self-controlled, manage their family well and have their children obey them. I Timothy 3:2-5 says that these are pre-requisites for external leadership. In other words, showing leadership at home comes before leading in the church or the corporate world.
Fathers protect, provide, extend grace and are authority figures. For Christian fathers, their role model for fatherhood is God the Father because He is a better Father, and is in fact the perfect Father. This Father’s Day, I encourage every Christian father to look to the Heavenly Father for guidance. You need God.
Much as our current society may want to devalue and degrade the importance of fatherhood, fathers matter. Fathers give confidence to their daughters; fathers teach our boys how to be men. We love you fathers; we need you and cannot imagine a world without fathers.