Some Helps for Earthly Dads from Our Heavenly Father
Study Guide , June 16, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
So Dads, you get a whole day to enjoy the good of what you’ve done, who you are, and what you mean, not only to your family, but to others beyond number, and for time without end. So way to go, and press on Brothers.
And have you noticed, that Dads tend to come up with a lot of just practical stuff to say and pass on to their kids. They just cut right to the chase, as they say. Here are some examples. And perhaps you heard your own Dad say something like these, and maybe even said them yourselves.
Like: “Measure once, cut twice. Measure twice, cut once.” Or – “Don’t make me stop this car”. Or – “I’m going to cloud up and rain all over you!” Or – “Don’t wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it better.” Then – “As long as your feet are under my supper table, you’ll follow my rules.”
Then here was some counsel from a Dad to a guy wanting to date his daughter: “If you drive up to our house, park in the driveway and honk the horn, you better be delivering a pizza because you won’t be taking out my daughter.”
This is a good one, too- “I’m not yelling at you. I’m helping you hear.” Or – “God gave you two ears and one mouth, because you need to listen twice as much as you talk.” I remember hearing that from my parents!
How about this practical help? “Right to tight and left to loose.” And this is good: “No matter what happens, you can always come home.” Sounds like the father of the prodigal son on that one.
Anyway, those are some helpful helps from Dads, wouldn’t you say? Of course, the best helps for all of us earthly Dads come from our Heavenly Father. So let’s ponder some of them for a bit.
We’re not going in any particular order, rather, we want to just make some key observations about our wonderful Heavenly Father, and then by the enabling grace of God’s Spirit, we are to then try to be more and more like our loving God in all things…here in being a father, or grand-father, or even a father figure to others.
I have often carried a card that lists the attributes of God. And one of them says, ‘Because God never changes…my future is secure and eternal.’ That’s great. But because God never changes, not only is my future secure, my present is also secure as well, especially in knowing just what my Heavenly Father is like. In fact, since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, it enables each of us to be secure in knowing just what our God is like. And not only can we know what our God is like, but we can then also know what He will do in different situations, as well as what He won’t do, and so on. We know how God dealt with His people in the past and thus we know how He will deal with His people in the present. Or to personalize it, God has basically let me know how He is going to deal with me, as well as how He thinks about me, and how He will treat me at all times, when I’m faithful and even when I fall short, and so on.
The point is; it’s by knowing this unchanging nature of God, as well as His unchanging nurture toward His children, towards me, that it then gives me great security, assurance, and peace in my relationship with my God. And the thing is Dads, this same attribute of this unchangeableness will do the same for your family.
Kids need to know what their Dad is like, and what He will be like with them, in good times and in bad. They need a Dad that is unchanging in his love for them, unchanging in his care for them, unchanging in his treatment of them and dealing with them. In other words, Dads need to be consistent. Dads need to let their kids know, let their family know, who you will be and what you will be like, regardless of whatever the situation is. When Dads are unstable, inconsistent, unfair, and uncontrolled in their actions and reactions and treatment of their children, it creates a continual stress and tension and confusion in the relationship. And that has damaging effects on everyone, and can ruin a relationship for a lifetime, as well as dishonor the Lordship of Christ over your family.
Basically, Dads are not to be moody. There’s no place for ‘moodiness’ in Fatherhood. Do not allow yourself to be moody. Fatherhood has a higher calling. It’s called ‘Duty’. So Dads: ‘Don’t be moody, just do your duty’. ‘No moody – just duty.’ Even if it’s not something you’re troubled about with your children or wife; like even if it’s something you’re disappointed about in or with yourself, say, in how you dealt with your kids or your wife, or handled some situation. Being down on yourself is like trusting in yourself. Who are you trusting in really? Remember, to be disappointed in yourself is to have trusted in yourself. But God hasn’t called us to trust in ourselves; we are called to look away from ourselves and fully place our trust in Him. That’s exactly what the Apostles did in all things: 2 Cor 3:4-6- “Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” NASU
So our trust is to continually be in the Lordship of Christ and in the adequacy that God supplies us with through the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, what your family needs is your consistency in trusting in the grace and the guidance and the adequacy that comes from God. Remember: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, not ‘I can do all things in and of myself’. If you’re going to distrust anything, distrust yourself. Don’t get down on yourself, just distrust yourself. None of us are adequate in and of ourselves to be the men, the husbands, or the dads that we are called to be. We need to be realists about this, but also then be optimists about this, knowing that through Christ we can be more and more the person God created us to be…as long as we trust in His ways and not ours; and look to His adequacy, not ours.
This counsel from Prov 3:5-6 is also some of the best counsel for Dads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” NASU
So again, remember: ‘No moody – just duty’. Do not permit yourself to be moody, but rather, commit yourself to be consistent in your attitude and in your emotions and in your treatment of your family. And as you do so, you will help grow security and stability in your family, as well as the blessings of victory for you as you enjoy overcoming your old self and becoming your new self in Christ more and more, just like our memory verse talked about.
Next, in one of the most remarkable things God ever said about Himself is what He said in Jer 3:19. And we actually get to hear God thinking out loud about one of His deepest longings. Listen to what God says: “I thought to Myself, ‘I would love to treat you as My own children! I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father’, and I wanted you never to turn from Me.” NLT Isn’t that amazing? God looked forward to having children who would call Him ‘Father’. God wanted a family. That’s really why He created mankind in the first place. You knew that, right? God wanted sons and daughters that He could call His children forever, and He wanted them…He wanted you and me to call Him – ‘Father’.
Now then, what this also reveals, and what all of us Dads can be helped by here, is that as our Father, God wanted to care for us and to take care of us. Just think about what He said: He looked forward to us calling Him “Father”. He didn’t resist the idea of being needed, no, instead, He relished it. And not only did He relish the idea of being needed, He took delight in being our Father and in doing the things that a Father would do.
Before we go on we need to stop right here a moment to let ourselves be stunned a little bit more…meaning; Do you ever think about the fact that God looked forward to being your Father, and looked forward to you calling Him your ‘Father’? How many of us, when we think about our relationship with God, we still think about it as though God is still a little bit reluctant about it all, still a bit reluctant about this relationship He has with us. Bruce Wilkinson put it this way; he said that many of us live our lives with this lingering idea that God is always a little bit miffed at us. You know what he’s saying here? Brother….Sister…you need to drop that thought, drop that falsehood as soon as it pops into your head, because God has always looked forward to being your Father. He has always looked forward to having you call Him ‘Father’, and to then relating to you, and taking care of you as your Father, now and forever. Remember how amazed the Psalmist was about this fact? Ps 103:11-13- “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” NASU
It’s like the Psalmist saying to us: “You really need to get a grasp on this. However much you think God loves you…you need to think again, because you haven’t even come close to how much He really does love you. It’s like trying to measure the height of the heavens above the earth.” Or like he’s saying: “However compassionate you think God feels about you…you need to think again, because you’ve only just scratched the surface of the depths of how God delights in being your own Father…your perfect Father, who only wants good and peace and joy for you.”
If you will let yourself get a handle on how God really feels about you it will be life changing, as it was for the Psalmist. Remember what Jesus told the Disciples? John 14:2-3 – “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” NASU
Guess what? Jesus said that to you. Sometimes we miss the powerful truths of what God is saying to us because we tend to think that it’s just something He said to others. Jesus was not just saying this to the twelve…He was saying it to the ‘ones’ as well. He was saying that to everyone who is His disciple; to everyone who is a child of God the Father. Listen again as God says to you, by paraphrasing it: “I’m going to prepare a place for you in Heaven. And then I’m coming back to get you. (And why?) I’m doing this because I want you to be with Me forever.” Did you just hear what God said to you? Are you catching more and more of how God really feels about you?
Now here’s the thing: Part of what we are saying here Dads, is that we can only pass on to our children what we have received from our Heavenly Father. Therefore, the more we will seek to learn about how our Heavenly Father really feels about us, and what He wants to do for us and is trying to do for us, and the more we let ourselves experience what God want us to experience in our relationship with Him, who is our perfect Father, that is when we will be more equipped to pass on some of that kind of love to those who call us ‘Father’.
Thankfully, God created us to naturally love and naturally share many caring virtues with our families. We see the remnants of these qualities even in many unconverted parents around the world. But the thing is, we don’t naturally have the ‘fruit of the Holy Spirit’. These qualities and virtues are of God. And they are intended to be developed and matured through our relationship with our God and then through growing this special fruit of the Holy Spirit in order to ultimately connect children to our Perfect Parent, our Heavenly Father, who longs for us all to call Him: ‘Father’.
Remember, part of the frustration and weariness in parenting is trying to pass on what you don’t naturally have much of…the fruit of the Holy Spirit. No wonder so many Dads are weary. We need to regularly go to the source of Fatherhood; we need to continually commune with our Heavenly Father Himself, and then let ourselves drink from the fountain of His love. We need to regularly draw from the well of His joy, His peace, His patience, His goodness…and so on. And when we let ourselves believe what God is actually telling us and let ourselves receive what our God actually has for us; His fruit of the Spirit; then we’ll have something of that to pass on to those who call us ‘Father’.
Interesting isn’t it, how parenting basically comes down to one principle? ‘Pass it on’. We look to our Creator who says to us: “I want you to call Me, ‘Father’.” And then we watch what our Heavenly Father does for His children, and we listen to what our Heavenly Father says to His children, and we receive what our Heavenly Father gives to His children. And so then when it comes to our children, God basically just says to us: “Now then, just pass it on. Just pass on to them what I have passed on to you.”