I am so thankful that I was raised by godly parents who modeled for me how to live unto God. Unfortunately, not everyone has been raised that way. But we definitely have control over what we model for our own children and grandchildren.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)
Do you have a strong relationship with your children? The way we first think about God has much to do with how we were parented—especially by our father. What image of the Lord are you portraying?
Many men struggle in their role as dads because their own fathers were either absent—physically or emotionally—or poor examples. But regardless of what a person experienced in the past, the best thing any parent can do is imitate God the Father. But how do we know who He really is?
We get our best glimpse of what the heavenly Father is like by looking at His Son. Speaking with the disciples, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me . . .He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:6, 9). Not only is Christ our path to relationship with God; He is also the way we come to know the Father’s true character.
When we look at Jesus’ life, what do we see? He was merciful, patient, gentle, compassionate, kind, and full of goodness toward all people (Matt. 9:10-13). The Savior healed the sick, provided for needs, and offered forgiveness—regardless of the offense (Matt. 14:14-21; Luke 23:34). But in love, He didn’t hesitate to discipline or correct others when required.
More than a solid education or material possessions, your child’s greatest need is a role model of devotion to God through prayer, Bible reading, and holy living. If you make knowing and following the heavenly Father your first priority, you won’t have to worry about what kind of parent you will be.