14 Feb The three most important things your kids need to know
The Fundamental Foundation of Good Fatherhood:
A Close Relationship with God and Jesus
In the thoughts and verses below I will share with you three of the vital foundations that God, by his grace and love, taught me as I raised my children. At the end you will find a personal note from my son, David. When it comes to fatherhood, there is much to say about discipline, communication, building memories and so much more. But let’s start with this basic foundation: God’s love for us, our love for him, and our daily walk with him.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
First things first: our entire approach to God, spirituality and life in the church is primarily motivated by his love for us. Through the years, I realized more and more how imperative it was that my children see this in my heart, words, and actions. God loved me through Christ, and I loved Him in return. The fact that I believed deeply in his love—and relied on it daily—helped them to realize that this was the reason I was his servant, and obeyed him. It showed them that my motivation was positive, based on his love and on joy and peace, and not on mere shame, guilt, and duty.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:11-12
Second, my children also realized that the greatness of God’s love for me is what inspired, caused, and enabled me to love them—my children—as much as I did. As they grew older, I shared with them more and more about my own sinful nature and how God’s love had changed me and enabled me to be a loving father for them. This was a major part of what motivated them to come to love and serve God themselves.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Finally, my children observed that I walked with God. I knew him as a friend. Unbeknownst to me, they took note of how I regularly went outside and prayed, walking with God and Jesus. They saw that I not only spoke to God and Jesus, but that I listened to him by spending time in daily Bible study. My children later shared with me that seeing my walk with God had a profound, positive impact on them, even though I did not realize it at the time!
Fathers (and mothers!), I am encouraging, urging, even pleading with you: walk humbly and closely with God! It will help and inspire your kids as they see that you have an intimate, personal relationship with your loving God. The fruit and impact of this for your family will be greater and reach further than you may ever know.
I’d like to give my full throated “Amen” to everything written here! I remember well waking up on a snowy morning and running to the window with my brother to see the blanket of white in the back yard—and hoping that school would be cancelled. We noticed one set of footprints meandering through the snow into the woods behind our house. We knew right away what that meant: Dad was already out there talking to God. We knew that Dad, as our authority, also submitted to a higher authority. And we knew that he and God were friends. We knew that Dad’s relationship with God is what made him a better father. He shared that with us in words but he also modeled it day in and day out, year after year. This was the greatest gift and the greatest teaching he ever gave me. I learned that God loved me, my dad loved me, and my dad walked with God—which enabled him to love me better!
Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for our discussion on this topic in episode 22 of the Sittin’ With Sam video series!