Hey guys, are you living your life in such a way that you can confidently exhort your children (both physical and spiritual) to follow you? As fathers, our lives are to be lived in such a way that our children can imitate us. Our children are to see us as we continually turn from sin and towards God. When we fall, they observe how we repent. When we are on the mountain top, we teach them how to walk humbly. We are to show them that in every circumstance we seek the face of the Lord. They should “catch” us praying and observe our lifestyle of worship. They are to see that our relationships with others are lived out based on the truth of God’s word. Our children are to see “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” as the fruit born out of a genuine intimacy with Jesus. Heavy duty, huh?
Listen, perfect sinlessness is not the criteria here. I don’t think we’ll ever be perfect while in the flesh, but that doesn’t excuse us from living a life worth imitating. Maybe there’s a dad reading this, and you feel like you have absolutely blown it as a father. Maybe you have. Perhaps you are estranged from your children, and it seems like there is no hope. Don’t believe it for a moment. There is hope in Jesus.
I can tell you that there was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have advised anyone, much less my children, to imitate me. Because of my sin, my children were hurt deeply. I put them in situations that no father should expose his children to. One of my daughters was so upset and hurt by what I had become (and rightfully so) that she withdrew from me. But God gives more grace!! Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. Hallelujah!!
When Jesus saved me, when I was truly born again by the Spirit of God; I began to pray about the relationships between me and my girls. It hurt deeply, but the Lord made me to understand how my sin had truly affected my children. Although I understood that there are indeed consequences to our sin, I began to humbly cry out for my girls, and ask God to bring healing and reconciliation into our relationships. And guess what, He did.
It’s not too late guys. You can be that father who lives life in such a way that you can say to your children, “Follow me; this is how it’s done.” You can be the father that shows his children (both physical & spiritual) what it means to walk with Jesus. The first step though is coming to Jesus and surrendering your own life to him. Jesus can and will restore the broken relationships we leave in the wake of our own sinful lives, but we have to come and first be healed ourselves. Our children need to see fathers who are surrendered to Jesus. We fathers are to be a living example to our children of what it means to walk with the Lord. Really, we ought not have to do a whole bunch of preaching. Our message is our life. “Follow me as I follow Jesus.”