“Everything falls and rises on leadership” says Dr. Maxwell. That can be an intimidating statement especially if you are a father. As Pastor Kwatouta said in his article, “ The Role of a Christian home” our families are broken and they are also affected by sin; and if Father’s try to lead their families in their own strength, they will surely fail. However, there is hope. Jesus Christ through his death wants to change us, to transform us and make us like Him. By trusting in God to help us lead our families, they will be exceedingly different from those in the secular world. They will reflect the love of Christ. A transformed family brings transformation in a society. Again we saw this in the article “The Role of a Christian home”. A broken home leads to a broken society. In this article we will look at the role of a father in detail. Before we get there, there are two things that we need to know as fathers.
- Personal devotion with God – As a father we need to fight and plan to spend time with God. We need to be by his feet and learn from Him, because he knows what is best for us. As we spend time with God, we learn about who He is as well as the state of our own lives. Joshua was commanded to stay close to the law of God and to meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:7-8). We do devotion so we can learn about our maker, so we deepen our relationship with him, and so that his voice becomes clear to us. He is the Father of all creation, and our Fatherhood must reflect his.
- Rest in God – We are not Superman; we are weak. We need to accept that we are not perfect. However, this does not mean it should be an excuse not to lead. We will be broken as we lead, but we need to rest in God because in our weakness He is strong (2 Cor. 12:9). We must continue asking Him to help us, to confess that we are weak or struggling and we will be amazed as to what God will do. The Bible gives us an example of Jesus’ submission to His Father. Jesus suffered to bring salvation to his people, but he rested in His Father knowing that the Father knows what is best “Not my will, but your will” (Luke 22:44).
What is the role of the father?
- Love your wife – Ephesians 5:25-26 says, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s Word.” Love is sacrificial; it is you saying that you want what is best for your spouse. We are to lay down our lives for the sake of our spouses. We need to study our wives, and to ask “How can I love my wife better?” We tend to love others according to how we want to be loved. For example my wife appreciates words of affirmation, I on the other hand appreciate quality time. If I go to my wife and think that I am showing her love by spending quality time with her (an important thing), she might not appreciate that much as compared to me affirming her with words. As we do that, we die to ourselves and become more like Christ.
Some men grew up in broken families – not having a good example of what marriage is about or looks like – and as a result they bring that wrong image into their marriages. Growing up they observed that only Daddy was served – he hardly did any serving. I too fell into that trap when I got married. I went into marriage thinking that my wife must serve me. My friend, that is not how marriage works. That is not what love is. Our role is to love our wives. How do we love God better? We study and spend time in His word. Husbands, spend time with your wife, study her and learn to love her better. By doing this we will be setting an example to our children as to what marriage is about and how God wants the marriage to be and look like. Jesus showed his love towards the church by dying for the church and as fathers we must do the same.
- Take up the responsibilities – Sometimes we think that as fathers, all we need to do is provide for our children’s physical and educational needs. We think that as long as they are getting the best education, we are doing a great job. If that is your mindset, you need to make drastic changes. Partner up with your wife in disciplining your children as well as spending time with them as they take part in the activities they enjoy. Too often, our wives are spending more time with the children and we might think, “Well they are spending time with their mother and mother knows what is best, so I don’t need to do anything”, but mothers are also struggling they need our support as fathers. It is not only the mother’s responsibility to spend time with the child, it is both our responsibility as parents. You don’t need to make spending time with your children an extravagant thing. It can be as simple as taking a soccer ball and kicking it to each other in your backyard. The little things matter.
- Lead your family – Be the initiator and allow your spouse to assist you. Take the initiative when it comes to having family devotion and help their faith grow stronger. We are the heads and the leaders of our households – that is our biblical mandate. Because it is our biblical mandate, we should trust that we are not alone as we lead our families. We have God and His word and we also have our wives to help us. When we talk about men being the leaders of the household, we are by no means saying that men are the boss and everything that they say goes. Rather, it means that we are servants. We exist first of all to serve God and serve our household. In fact, it should be clear in our homes that as fathers we are seen as servants. We must set an example as to what it means to be a servant of God.
In conclusion, we need to be more practical in our roles as a father. Spending time with God, studying our wives to love them better, spending time with our children and leading our family. God has placed us in that role. Therefore, fathers, lead your family.