Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fathers, Turn Your Hearts Toward Your Children

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children…” – Malachi 4:6
Let me share four ways a father’s heart is turned to his children. How does a father reach a child whose heart is turned from the father? How does a father reconcile with his children and teach his children to reconcile with God? The child learns how to have a relationship with God by learning how to have a relationship with the father. We who are fathers are the windows through which a child sees God. God’s primary purpose for a father is that He would pattern godliness and holy living before his children so they might know who the Heavenly Father is.

1. Fathers, know when to lay down the law and know when to give grace to your children. Why is it we are so often convinced that more is better. We are admonished to do everything in moderation. We should apply the same laws of moderation when disciplining our children. Too much or too little can be most destructive. Laying parameters gives security to the child. Trust me, he/she doesn’t want total freedom. Drawing a line in the sand gives your child a sense of security they desperately need. But know this; your children will learn the grace of God when grace is demonstrated by their fathers. Ask God for wisdom to know when to show grace.

Fathers, your children were born in sin. Your mission in life should be to teach your children how they might be freed from the bondage of sin. A strict set of rules and regulations in your home will not deliver your children from sin. Rules never transform the heart, relationship transforms the heart. The relationship you have with you children is far more important than a set of ‘do’s and don’ts’.

2. Fathers, learn to talk with your children. Step out of your world and into theirs. You may hate their music and their tattoos and you may be confused by their desire for body piercings. Ask them what they like about the music. Ask them why they want a tattoo. You can refuse them permission to participate in certain things as long as they live under your roof but let them know you are interested in them. The worst thing you can do to a child is ignore them. Moms are much better with communication skills than dads are but it is crucial for us to talk to our children.

Josh McDowell asked this question to a large number of youths: “Who can you go to when you are experiencing difficulty in your life?” Dad was number 48 on the list. A child who doesn’t feel comfortable talking to his father is a child whose heart is turned away from his father.

3. Fathers teach your children. "For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children." (Psa. 78:5)

Most fathers never seem to grasp the scriptural concept that it is the father’s responsibility to teach his children. We are so trusting when we hand the souls of our children off to others. Fathers, you send your kids off to school for 1,260 hours every year. A teacher you probably don’t even know has seven hours daily with your child. How many hours a day does your child get you? It’s our God-given responsibility to know what others are teaching our children. If you take the time to find out you may not be pleased.

A child's character and set of values has already been formed by age seven or eight. It’s a father's responsibility to teach his children and he must do it while they are young.

4. Fathers must protect their children. Jesus said, “A certain man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it…” A father must set a hedge about his family. He must build a wall to protect his family from drugs, immorality, sexual predators and pornography. Talk to your children about the dangers of these sins.

Fathers, it’s your job to filter the internet in your own home so your children are not accessing filth that may corrupt their minds and destroy their souls.

Fathers, it’s your job to know what kind of music is saturating the grey matter between their ears. Music is extremely powerful and it will mold their minds and pattern their souls.

Some fathers are weak. Some fathers can’t act as spiritual guardians of their home because they lack spiritual power. They have unconfessed sin in their lives. The first step to becoming a good father is becoming a good son. The key to having a good relationship with your children is to have a good relationship with your Heavenly Father.

One day we will stand accountable for our children before a just God. It is a fearful considering how imperfect we all are. I want to rear my children in the fear of the Lord and hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

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