Respected Authority – Discipline and Honor – Faithful Father Series

God's Authority

When we speak of authority as Christians we must consider the differing levels of authority in the home. These are easy to delineate but I can guarantee that I, like others struggle with them. The first and absolute authority is God. If you are a Christian and you believe that you are the final authority in your home, you are wrong. I’m not a finger pointer though because I do it too and it is a pride thing for me. I work hard for my family, for the things we have and enjoy but all of that is God’s providence. There is no splitting hairs in that statement, your life, my life exists because he created humanity. Without that, there is nothing. Yet we lose perspective of that daily in life.

Authority of God

God has authority over all things but what is authority and who has it? Authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. There are several types of authority we are completely under the influence of in our life and they all come as a gift from God. The Government as we see in Romans 13:1, The legal system (Judges) as seen in Romans 13:2, authority of the church (Titus 5:1) and Family/Parental authority in Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20. These are clear and undeniable, it is plainly stated in each of those verses. The authority of God is unequivocal and He has delegated authority (Daniel 4:17) to some institutions on earth. While church, the government and the legal system are topics we may cover another day we are in the Faithful Father series so parental authority is the topic of the day.

Define Parental Authority

I can think of no more important passage in the Bible for defining parental authority and obligation to your children than Deuteronomy 11:1-19. In this passage we are commanded to love and serve the Lord by keeping the rules and commandments given to us. Deuteronomy 11:2 specifically charges us with teaching our children these things. Then Deuteronomy 11:19 tells us when and how we should teach God’s word. The short answer, always. Our authority is only through God’s power and our children will not understand or respect that authority unless they are taught about where the authority stems from.

One of the ways I have been trying to help my children understand the chain of command on a spiritual level is by posing several questions when they have done something they probably should not have. The biggest one right now is lying. Our conversation goes something like this;

Child commits some act.

Me: Did you do this?

Them: No (They are lying, I know, I witnessed the problem.)

Me: What is the thing I dislike the most?

Them: Lying

Me: When you lie, who do you lie to?

Now at this point they know the answer, I have explained to them that every time they commit some act of disobedience they are breaking a commandment. They know that by lying to me they are not just displeasing me, but more importantly, God.

Them: God, Jesus, You, Momma

Me: That’s right, so i will ask again and remember, I am not going to get angry but I am going to be disappointed that you would lie to me and by lying to me you are displeasing God.

Usually after that they tell the truth, we talk, they still lose something they like doing because I am a firm believer in cause and effect. My goal is to first follow God’s command that I bring my children up under His instruction and discipline (Ephesians 6:1, 4). Parental Authority is the distribution of God’s will through the husband and wife. It is not a place of superiority and it is not about having a specific position in the home.

Culpability

The parents position in a home is not one of merciless dictator, husbands are to love and sacrifice for the wife as Christ did for the church. A wife is to help her husband in all things. They raise children under God’s will. These are symbiotic relationships and not one-way streets. We often see that position as a perk and forget that it carries responsibility.  In all places where God has given this power of authority there is also a requirement that individuals in that position will come to account for their actions.

Society is kept safe with laws, this practice was in place from Creation when God gave a single law and man failed to obey. Laws serve multiple purposes, they protect individuals and they protect society as a whole. Society creates laws when it believes an action or set of actions are causing a significant amount of harm to individuals and to society. Those with authority must understand that they have a duty of care to those under their influence and any abuse of that position answers to God. God rewards those who use that position to protect and bless those under their influence (Luke 12:42-48; 20:9-16).

Husbands, seek to not be spiritually passive. Engage with the Bible and with God daily. Engage in discussions with your wife about God, daily. Consider this, if your wife has more knowledge and is more spiritually mature than you, you will have to answer God’s questions of why you were not leading your family spiritually. This does not mean to just step back and defer to your wife in all things connected to God. Instead it is a call for you to dig in and do what God made you for. Loving Him, protecting what is His (your wife and children) and leading them to Him, through His word.

Applying Authority to Yourself

The authority, as a husband or father, you are given has nothing to do with your position in your family but has everything to do with your character as a person, as a Christian. The greatest leaders are servants. Jesus made the case for that in Mark 10:42-45 and we see this in the most successful businesses as well. There are two types of leaders, those who focus on supervision, organizing and performance. These are transactional leaders, they may be efficient but not effective. The other type of leader who works with people to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group. These are transformational leaders.

A servant leader is both of these things and a husband should strive to be both of these things. There are times where supervision of your children is essential but more often than not you need to inspire them to be better, not just command them to. The best way to do that is to show them how, by committing yourself to doing the things you want them to do. Give them a vision of what God wants from His earthly followers and then drive towards that goal.

Wrapping Up

I am not perfect, I just share my thoughts on the Bible and what God is telling me needs to be communicated. Ask these questions of yourself to make sure what you are doing is based on servant leadership and not narcissism;

  • Have I given it all to God? Am I the slave of Christ? There is no room for partial obedience in God’s heart.
  • If I am in a position to exert authority am I abusing it? Or am I using it under the weight of knowledge that God will call me to answer for how I am treating those under my authority?
  • Am I serving those I am over? Am I practicing the humbleness that Christ displayed while he was persecuted and slain?
  • What is my character saying about how I use that authority? Am I leading my family by obeying God’s word first?

Authority is not a fickle subject. It is something that God has clearly defined in the Bible and has given us direction about. Authority done in a manner befitting Christ brings discipline from those subject to it. If a leader, a husband, is doing this he will have honored God’s desire for the position he has been placed it. It can be difficult to remember that desire when we are angry but we have to hold fast to our confessions of God’s love and use them for good and not the crushing of another’s spirit.

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Faithful Father Series: Introduction

Faithful Father

There are no more terrifying roles in a man’s life than those of husband and father. I mean let’s be honest, we can really make life difficult for the ones closest to us if we do not guard ourselves against the enemy. In fact, we can make their life suck by not being a faithful father and devoted husband. As a step-parent I am constantly guessing myself on how I am raising my children. It is not because I feel that I am a bad parent or that my heart is not in the right spot. It is a huge responsibility to raise children while dealing with my own issues of being a “step” parent.

I will be honest, I have no love for that term and it stems from overhearing people say things like, “Well that isn’t his dad anyway, he’s just a step-parent.” or any other derivative that attempts to sabotage the place a man has in his family. God put him there, not you. God is you father, and let’s be clear, He adopted us as Paul clearly tells us in Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ.”

God has been good to me, I have not had to hear that towards me personally and pray I never do. I was raised calling my step-father “Dad” and not anything else. My kids call me “Scott” or “Scotty” and I hope one day that it gets replaced with “Dad” because I am that for them. I get it here and there when they are in bouts of excitement and it makes my heart swell.

Small rant aside, my heart is not to say that biological father’s are not to be given their due because they should. The purpose of this series is to empower Christian fathers to be faithful to the duties God has spoken of, for them to strive for. This series addresses the fact that it doesn’t matter if you came from a split home, an abusive father, a father you don’t even know, or a well-meaning Christian father who may have failed at God’s will for that position in his life; all of those circumstances shaped you today but they are not who you have to be. You can build your family legacy apart from that and be the faithful father God has called you to be.

It takes work, lots of hard, self-less, prayerful, self-sacrificing work but at the end the legacy you can leave is a family full of God and love.

Characteristics of a Faithful Father

So what does it take to be that man God calls you to be for your children? Over the next seven weeks we will discuss the characteristics of a faithful father highlighting each one. A preview of what God wants from a father figure is;

All of those things combined is a tall order but God wants his children to not only love him but to love others and to spread His message. That cannot be done without all of these things together. We like to use the phrase “Great Risk for Great Rewards” and I cannot think of a greater reward than being a faithful father who has raised God loving children who have a desire to seek Him and spread His work to the world.

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Daily Devotional – Grow in Faith

Grow

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. – 1 Timothy 4:15

If God has truly made an impact in your life because you have truthfully made the commitment to trust Jesus Christ as your savior then you will grow. To give the reference verse some back story, Paul is writing to Timothy whom he asked to go to the church in Ephesus because it was a mess. A mess because while they loved God they had forgotten how much God loved them. They were a church on autopilot. In Revelations 2:1-4 Jesus tells them directly that while they profess in faith and show a walk in faith for anyone to see they do not grow in faith because they have left their first love by putting their devotion in to the church and not the people of the church.

Faltering in the First Love

Remember the butterflies that you had when you accepted Jesus for what He is? Son of God, the Lion, the Lamb and more. I would be lying if I said that it did not wax and wane for me. I’m human and broken. Sometimes I don’t like what God is putting in front of me, but I still love Him. Those times when I am listening to the enemy and not to God is when that First Love falters. Maybe it is getting caught up in the trappings of portraying what a Christian should be like the church at Ephesus was. Their biggest transgression was forgetting how much Christ loved everyone, including the unbelievers. When we as a church, I say that meaning the people of God, attack unbelievers by slander, action or denial of even acknowledging their existence we are showing we have let our First Love go. How can we grow in Christ when we are doing exactly the opposite of what Christ did?

How to Grow our First Love

To have your First Love is to be like Christ. One way to be like Jesus it is to serve others. He did this exceptionally well, perfectly actually. Why did he come to Earth and die? In service to us so that we may find a path to Heaven. When we lose that love we lose our desire to serve others including the lost, and even our brother and sisters in Christ. God has breathed words in to the Bible, in to our hearts and it will help us combat losing our love. We need to do everything we can for God. He has done enough for us. We grow our love by doing just that, loving others and not loving what we think the church represents.

Instead of calling people freaks or perverts or assuming they are terrorists because their faith is different (Ephesians 4:29), we should be trying to understand why they feel the way they do and reaching out to them in love as Jesus did. When we reach out in anger we condemn them in a way Christ never intended. As Christians we understand what judgment is because all will be judged. It is not the act of judgment, which is the formation of an opinion, that is a problem. It is how we express that judgment that is the problem. If we express that opinion in anger or fear then what have we done? We have taken away from how we should present ourselves as Christians. We have robbed ourselves and others of that First Love.

Final Thoughts

To nurture our first love we must nurture our faith. It is a synergy that is necessary for us to grow. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord and to not lean on our own understanding of things. Our understanding is often flawed with emotions of anger, fear etc. These things are where we are following our heart and not our faith. Worship God with all of your being, Pray to Him all the time, Serve others in everything that you do, Give all that you can muster to Him and then dig deeper and give more of yourself. There is no depth to which we can go that God doesn’t get. When we think that God just won’t understand we are wrong. He is God and He knew us before we were born and will know us long after we are gone. Plan seeds of faith, goodwill and love and water them to grow. Ignore the seeds of doubt the enemy tries to sow in your field of works.

Daily Devotional – Child of God

God's Child

To be blessed with a child is the most precious gift next to our salvation that God bestows on us in this life. What do you love more than anything? For me it is my kids. I am not taking away from my love for God at all. I believe it is a different kind of love. You can’t fully explain either. They both make your chest swell and your eyes fill with tears. The difference I think is in how these differing loves affect us.

A Child’s Love

A child’s love can provide soothing peace after a long day of work. It’s one of the first things I look for when I come home. I set my backpack down and if they don’t know I am home I shout, “Where’s my kids?!” and then the pounding of feet and I am tackled. Even if I were sore I would happily bear that pain as they crash into me because there is no place I’d rather be. Until later in the day they don’t like what I have to say and throw a huge tantrum! That’s where things diverge, our children and even we forget our love when other emotions take over. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or to defend yourself against. My boy tells me he doesn’t love me when he is not happy with my choices for him. As a father you know that is just not true and even though it stings you smile and tell them you love them anyway.

God’s Love

Is perfect. It doesn’t change even if we curse the things He has chosen for us. Even when we decide not to live for Him and then come crawling back. It is the same consistent love over and over. That is why He is the perfect Father. He will run to meet us if we truly want Him there. That is why the parable of the Prodigal Son is so powerful. Man was God’s child before the Fall and afterward the only way we can be adopted back in is through the heartfelt desire of His grace and love. He thought nothing of his son’s desire to run off and sow his wild oats and he thought nothing of his son’s return except that he was home and he could love on him once more.

Final Thoughts

God let’s us have those glimpses of His love you know. Like when you hold this angry red child fresh from the womb and you want to bawl more than they are. When you are at the bottom of the depths of your despair and there is no way out, that whisper in your heart, that urge in your mind to become better, to become one with Him. When you’re at church and the music wraps itself around you and you can’t help but raise your arms up. That’s just a tickle of His love. It’s effervescent and the only way to capture it is to be like David and go after God’s own heart. To seize the chance to say, “Here I am Father! Love me! Allow me to love you!” When you get to that place, you’ll experience love in a way you could never imagine.

Daily Devotional – The Palms of His Hands

Palms of His Hands

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me. – Isaiah 49:15-16

When you have children, biological or adopted they become everything. You shower them with as much wonderful love as you can but also have to deal with the bad side. We never forget our children, it is impossible to. Whether they are throwing tantrums or winning awards we are there until God decides we have to come home. Parenting is one of the most rewarding relationships and also the most trying. In fact, it is the second on the list I feel. The first is your relationship with Christ. Through His blood we have been cemented in our relationship with God. The palms of His hands are all the evidence we need to see how deep God’s love goes.

The Hard Part of Parenting

Long nights with sick children. A willful teenager doing everything but what you raised them on. The unexpected loss of a child. These are the things that can make a parent irritable, flat out angry and heartbroken. We experience some or all of these as children grow. I am in no way minimizing the struggles of earthly parenting when I say this but God has endured that for millennia. He has created us and we often thumb our nose at God or see Him as dead because we don’t see the movement we want in our lives occur. This leads us to feel like we are better than he when we are really wretched (Revelation 3:17) and the spoiled child. We think that everything we have gained is because of our own works. Our children can feel the same way because they don’t understand the resources we pour into raising them or the sacrifices we make for them. God tells us about the resources and the sacrifices He made for us and we tend to ignore that. He, like us, have it hard at parenting.

The Good Part of Parenting

Limitless love. Bottomless grace. Good News. God gives us all of those things. As parents we get to see the wonders of our children as they grow into adults. From discovering how awesome macaroni and cheese is to the almost divine place pizza holds. We watch countless hours of Paw Patrol or PJ Masks to enjoy time with our kids. When we take an active role in parenting the way God has with us then we really truly reap the rewards of those sleepless nights and the butting of wills. Adoration, hugs, kisses and laughter should fill a home. God’s words inspire these things if we listen.

Final Thoughts

God’s sacrifices are shown in the palms of Jesus’ hands. His son was killed, frankly outright murdered for spreading the word. His feet, his side and his palms are testimony that even that sacrifice wasn’t too great because He has adopted us into His home if we come to Him seeking the truth. The next time I find myself wondering if God really cares I just need to look at my unmarred palms and realize that Jesus took that burden and allowed my skin to be untouched. He took the sin and allowed my could to be cleansed. Just look at your hands and examine your palms. Something so simple and if we stop to appreciate it, I think it will bring our focus back where it belongs. On God.

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