Characteristics of a good father

“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation.
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13

                There are many great lessons that can be learned through a study of the Lord’s Prayer. It is a model prayer that shows us how we are to pray. There is also something we see in this prayer about God. We learn more of who He is and what He is like. The characteristics of God that are revealed in the Lord’s Prayer is the same characteristics that should be found in a good earthly father and in the life of every believer.

                Heavenly Citizenship. The prayer begins by recognizing God who is in heaven. Our Father is in heaven. He is seated on the throne. His dwelling place, His abode is heaven. Psalm 14:2 says, “The Lord looks down from heaven….” Ecclesiastes 5:2 states, “….For God is in heaven and you on the earth….” Isaiah 66:1 says, “Thus says the Lord, Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool….”  When it comes to our earthly fathers, the first characteristic should be that they have a heavenly citizenship. This is true for all of us. When all is said and done, the only thing that matters is where you stand with Jesus. In order for a man to be a good father, He must begin with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You can say and do all the right things that a father should so, but apart from Jesus, it is all meaningless. Is your citizenship in heaven? Have you given your life to Jesus? Do you know that you are saved?

                Respected Name. The prayer continues with the words, “Hallowed by Your name.” This term refers to the holiness of God and the purity of God. He is so perfectly Holy and Righteous that we should give Him the praise and the respect that He deserves. The name of God is so great that it should never be taken lightly. It is a respected name. Just as our heavenly Father has a respected name, so should our earthly fathers. The respect for the name of God is something that is demanded. God does not have to prove Himself. He is God. He is the creator of the universe. He is the great star-breather.  We respect the name of God simply for who He is. The respected name of an earthly father differs in that it is an earned respect. Fathers, have you earned the respect of your children and spouse? Do people in the community and those you work with have a respect for you? This respect comes only by submission to the heavenly Father. The more we are living for Him. The more that His love and His righteousness is flowing through us, the more our name will be respected.

                Sovereign (in control). In the model prayer, Jesus prays for the Kingdom of God to come and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This has to do with the sovereignty of God. This is one doctrine that is often times very difficult for us to grasp. However, we must understand that the Bible clearly teaches that God is sovereign; He is in control of all things. It is interesting though that Jesus would pray that God’s will, would be done. Is God’s will not being done right now? Jesus prayed for the Kingdom to come. Obviously, if Jesus prayed for it to come, then it is not here yet. The Bible teaches us that Satan is currently the ruler of this earth. Within the sovereignty and love of God, He has allowed history to take its course. He has allowed Satan to rule over the earth for a limited time. One day, God will set up His Kingdom on this earth and will rule and reign for 1,000 years! So, even though God is in control of all things, God has, in a sense, chosen to limit His sovereignty for period of time. This does not mean that God is not in control, it just means that God is allowing time to take its course. Therefore, Jesus prayed, that just as God is in control in heaven, may He also be in control on the earth. This also parallels with our earthly fathers. The Bible teaches us that the man is to be the head of the home. He is the responsible party. He is to be in control. He is to be sovereign. However, just as God does not ‘Lord’ over us in this present age, earthly fathers should not ‘Lord’ over His family. He is not to rule as if He is a dictator, yet He is to be in control. In other words, he is to have things together. He is to be the one that the family looks to for stability. He is the guiding hand in the midst of the storms of life. Moms and children, have you ever had a day when everything went wrong, it was just a bad day? At the end of the day, when the man of the house comes home, what is like? There is a sense of stability. Everything is going to be okay, because daddy is home. When the man of the house is out of town for a few days and the family is left with the day to day struggles of life, there is anticipation for the time when daddy comes home, because then everything is going to be okay. Father’s, do you have things under control in your home? This is one of the requirements for pastors and deacons. They are to be men who ‘rule their home well.’ Do you rule your home well? Do you provide stability for your family? Are you in control?

                Provider. The prayer goes on to say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This has to do with provision. I believe that Jesus had both physical and spiritual provision in view here. God provides for His children. We should not worry about what tomorrow may bring, because God will provide. He also gives us spiritual provision. He has provided salvation for us through His Son. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to comfort us. He has provided eternal security and forgiveness of sin. He has given to us His written Word to instruct us in how we are to live. Earthly fathers are also to be the providers. Men, it is your responsibility to provide for the needs of your family. Yes, there are exceptions. You may be physically unable to work and you must rely on other means for provision. However, if you are physically able to work, you are responsible. Men, it is not the job of your wife to provide for the family. You should not be sitting at home while your wife is out working two or three jobs to keep the family afloat. If you are physically capable of working, then you must work. You may say, well, I can’t find a job that pays well enough. Hogwash! That’s just an excuse! While you are waiting for the ‘perfect’ job, you could be flipping burgers or washing cars or mowing lawns. Whatever it takes, fathers, you are the one that is responsible for providing for your family. Be a man! Not only are fathers to provide for the physical needs of the family, but also, the spiritual needs. It is the responsibility of the man of the house to disciple His family. You are to teach your children the Word of God. You are also to lead the way to make sure that your family keeps Christ first in all that they do. You are to take your family to church and show them by example, the need to be actively involved in the work of the Lord. Your children need to see you living out your relationship with Jesus. They need to see that you are man enough to take a stand for what you believe in. This includes making those tough decisions to keep your relationship with God as the top priority of your life. Men, are you the provider? Are you taking care of both the physical and spiritual needs of your family?

                Forgiving. Jesus goes on to pray that God would forgive us of our sins. We have a heavenly Father who is so forgiving. Think of the number of times that you sin, yet, God still forgives you. When He does forgive you, He takes the sin away. He never lays it to your charge again. Fathers, we should also be forgiving. When our children do wrong, we should discipline them and teach them how to do right. However, once the discipline is over, we should let it go. Don’t hold the sins of your children over them. Don’t keep bringing it up and reminding them of all they do wrong. Every day is a new day. The sins of yesterday are in the past and we should forgive and never bring it up again.

                Protects from evil. Jesus also prays that we would not be lead into temptation and that we would be delivered from evil. There is a lot of evil in our world today. As fathers, we have a responsibility to protect our family from the evil of the world. I personally believe that you cannot shelter your children enough. We talk like sheltering our children is a bad thing, but it is not. It is a good thing. You see, they will be exposed to evil. No matter how hard you try, they will see evil. You can just walk down the street and they can be exposed to all kinds of evil. The point is that we are to protect them from the evil. We are to give them the tools necessary to fight against the forces of evil that come against them. We are to make sure that are homes are a safe haven from the evils of our society. Protect your children. Keep them from evil.

                Glory to God. The Lord’s pray concludes with praise to God. As fathers, we are to make sure that our life and the life of our family is bringing glory to God. It is all about Him. He alone is worthy of praise. We should live a life that brings praise and honor to His name.

                On this Father’s Day, may we be forever grateful to the men in our life who have followed the example of our heavenly Father. May the characteristics of a good father be evident in all of our lives.

 

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