25 June 2014 by Jason Law CM –
There is a saying that ‘Good deeds start at home’. What this basically means is that the basic foundation and unit of society are the families, and how a family function and children are brought up is crucial to a thriving society. Within the family, the traditional role of leader is played by the fathers, and thus his is a key position within a healthy society.
Last Sunday, 22nd of June 2014, Pr Matthew Ling shared at FGA KL about the position of fathers. He shared that families are central to God’s plans, which is seen clearly in the passages and prominence given to families in Ephesians 5:21-33 and Ephesians 6:1-4. Following this, because fathers play a leading role in families, his role is an essential one that is intentioned by God. It is an immense role that requires a lot of encouragement and inspiration.
A striking example of a father’s heart can be found in Job 1:1-5. In it, we find that Job was a blameless and upright man; he feared God and shunned evil. And though his children seemed not to have followed him in righteousness, it was his custom to burn offerings as forgiveness for them and he would make arrangements for them to be purified.
This is the task of fathers; to dearly love his children and intercede regularly for them, even when his responsibilities may seem to tower over him at times. Pr Matthew shared that every responsible father is defined by 3 things.
His Called Position
Our fathers were called to a specific position by God. And the best way we can honour our fathers is by recognizing and appreciating them more fully as carriers of the ‘Fatherhood’ that is placed within them by God. This called position exists within them regardless of whether they are Christians or not. Some of us may be Christians with non-Christian parents, but the Bible counsels us repetitively in 1 Corinthian 7:13-24 and 17:20,24 to honour our loved ones by remaining in the place where we were when God called us.
Especially for Christian fathers, this position that is given by God is an awesome responsibility. Theirs is the chief accountability that a family is brought up that knows how to honour God and be great testimonies for Him. He is the one that leads the family, makes important decisions for them, ensure that the family is nourished and protected, strengthen and guide every member within it into handling their challenges and difficulties in a positive way, and provide a tough, dependable and fearless role-model. Very often, they may have to hide their own struggles and fears in order to shield their family. And all this has to be directed as it should, towards a foundation in God.
His Assigned Home
For Christian fathers, they have a responsibility to lead their family in devotion and towards honoring God above all other things. A good father needs to respect his wife and understands his children and lead them to be the best they can be in Christ. A father who cannot take care of his wife and children will be considered a failure not only in society but according to the Scriptures.
The first teacher in the eyes of a child is his father. He should teach his children towards what is right and what is wrong. A father should be strict, as well as a trusted friend to his children. The family ecosystem depends a whole lot on fathers. Ephesians 5 and 6 outlines the many responsibilities of a father.
Pr Matthew shared that when he first became a father, the magnitude of a father’s responsibility finally hit home. As a father, he was to protect and lead the frail baby boy in his arms into a strong functioning member of society that could take care of himself. It is not easy to be responsible for often not just one life but many lives, and many new fathers go through this time of fear and struggle as well. It is at times like these that many fathers realize that every baby had been assigned their home by God, and that every father had been specially chosen by God for that specific child.
His Given Heart
Every father has not just been given a called position by God, but also a heart of love that cannot be switched on or off for his children. A good father will love his children no matter what it takes; they cannot help themselves. Our fathers may come from different backgrounds, different makeup, different characters, or different cultures, but this is the thing that they all share as one.
Often, we see our fathers as the tough, unemotional disciplinarian. But each time they discipline, it tears at their heart. When the child leaves home, we often see our mothers cry and we think our fathers do not feel a thing, but deep down, they feel the loss as much as a mother’s. Fathers are parents as much as mothers and they love their children as much as a mother loves them.
Pr Matthew shared that a father’s role is often a lonely one. Because of societal constraints, many fathers, especially non-Christian ones, are not as free in exhibiting their emotion. And as children grow up, they watch as their children grow close to their mothers and formal to themselves. Deep down, however, they dearly love their children and often wish they could show it as openly as the mothers and be comfortable about it.
For Christian fathers who are caught up in these societal constraints, their greatest heart is to raise their children up for Heaven, knowing that in Heaven, where everyone has a New Identity, their children may not even recognize them as their fathers. God is instrumental even in the mundane parts of our lives such as families, and as Christian children we ought to understand our father’s hearts and cheer them on.
Fathers Need Equipping
Ephesians 4:11-16 highlights the importance of equipping, and Romans 12:4-8 reminds us that we each have a role to play in God’s Kingdom, not as a separate person, but as single Body in Christ. Pr Matthew pointed out that one of the areas under attack especially in the Last Days is the family. Christian families are under attack like never before because the devil knows that tearing down families is like tearing down the foundations of a wall. Destroy families and the Church will crumble.
He reminded the Church that it has a role towards equipping fathers and families. Everything has a role in God’s plans, and we cannot separate Church and God from families. How are we to focus on and love God when we cannot even protect and love our own families? The future of the Church depends critically on the way children and the young generation is brought up. It is a collective effort as a single body.
Pr Matthew shared that though our fathers may not show outward signs of love, they dearly love their families. It is the deepest desire of a father to bless his children and to be a strong role-model for them.
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