I was thinking about the commandment to honour your father and mother. Both my parents died when I was young, and before I became a Christian – so I had no opportunity to honour them in life. I do remember, however, that as children we were taught to honour and respect people in various situations. Grandparents were to be honoured, as were any elders and people in authority too – teachers, ministers, police, doctors and so on.
I believe honour may have been a casualty throughout all of the 1960s. However, God’s Word does not change and the commandment still stands – we are to honour our father and our mother.
So – what makes a good father? Firstly, I believe a good father honours the Lord. Take a look at the following verse.
“And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in Heaven, so in earth.” – Luke 11:1-2 (KJV).
The word ‘hallowed’ is an old English word meaning “…greatly revered and honoured”. As fathers, the example our faith sets for our children as we live out a life spent trusting in Christ cannot be underestimated.
Children copy their parents, and reverence is such a visible component of our faith. The spiritual life of a father is a life of service to almighty God.
“For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” – Romans 14:17-19 (KJV).
A father’s lifestyle simply must have an influence on their children. Even as we, our children’s parents, also in turn honour our parents – our children’s grandparents – it sets a wonderful example for our children.
Look at Ephesians 6:1-4 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (KJV).
Good fathers honour their wives. There is much said about relationships in the Bible, but surely how a husband treats his wife is obvious to his children.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church…” – Ephesians 5:25-29 (KJV).
Before God, fathers have the responsibility of being the best example they can possibly be. It seems unfair that we are constantly on display, but that’s the role God has given men – to be both physical and spiritual leaders. The apostle Peter sums up how our lifestyle should look in 1 Peter 3:7-12.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (KJV).
If we are good fathers, that will be demonstrated in our actions – in our love for God, in our love for our parents, in our love for our wives and in our love for our children.
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About the author
Barrie Hanson lives in Bluff, Southland. He has been a Christian for over 40 years and in that time he has been a preacher, Pastor and a church helper in both Auckland and Hamilton.
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