Being a godly dad starts with God! As you walk close to Him, He will transform your life and you will become a godly father to your children. He is our perfect Father, and our example; and as we get to know Him through His word we will grow in wisdom, grace and love and we will be empowered to raise our kids to the glory of God.
It starts with knowing Him first by repenting of our sin and putting our faith in Him for forgiveness of our sins and receiving the free gift of salvation. As we daily commit ourselves to live as God’s sons, He will instruct us on how to teach and train our children to know and worship God with us.
Here are some practical ways to love our kids like God, our Father, loves us:
1. Delight in your kids before discipline.
In Proverbs 3:11-12 we read, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Before you discipline your children, you are commanded to delight in them. Practically, this means that most of a dad’s time is spent enjoying his children, encouraging them, laughing with them, showing them affection so that there is a deep bond of love between them.
“A Godly father models submission to authority and the welcoming of correction by repenting of his own sin.”
Part of his love for them is shown by his disciplining them as needed to keep them on a path of wisdom and righteousness. This is to be modelled by the dad who has God as his Father and who gladly received instruction and correction from God and other authorities whom God has placed over him. (Government, church)
Therefore, a godly father models submission to authority and the welcoming of correction from God in his own life. All of this is the essence of love – discipline leads us to repentance and back to God and life. Practically, this means that a good father lives out the gospel every day in fellowship with God and his children, and that he knows what to do with sin in the life of his child because he has been dealing with his own sin first.
2. Protect your kids by fearing God.
Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” Sadly our world is not a very safe place for children. Statistics show that neglect, abuse and brokenness in homes are far too prevalent – but God says that the safest place for a child is with the dad who fears the Lord.
Men who fear God take God’s wisdom and use their strength to create a place of protection and provision in their homes so that their wives and children can live freely and happily under their care. Practically, this means that a godly father does not allow his children to be unsupervised in the homes of people he does not know, he is very careful to oversee any dating done by his daughters, and goes to great lengths to ensure that safety is pursued in everything from where the family lives, to who they are in close friendship with and who they welcome into their home.
3. Be a man for your kids and live righteously.
Proverbs 20:7 says, “The righteous walks in his integrity, blessed are his children after him!” Similarly, Paul tells the Corinthians that when he was a boy he acted like one, but when he became a man he put childish ways behind him 1 Corinthians 13:11. It is imperative that Christian dads repent of their childish ways (laziness, lust, whining, drunkenness, juvenile antics, neglect of family to pursue hobbies, foolish spending and so on) because their sins and selfishness affect the lives of their children and grandchildren. A godly father should aspire to live in such a way as to be a righteous example to his children, which produces a path of blessing that children can follow in, as their dad faithfully provides that leadership.
4. Work hard for your family.
Lazy fathers are disobedient to God, yet desire to have children who are obedient to them. Such dads may speak good wisdom, but it is overshadowed by the loudness of the foolish hypocrisy in their own lives.
Proverbs 26:7 stands as a warning to such men: “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.”
Wisdom is not merely what a father says, but is shown by his lifestyle and the support of his words by his actions. Foolish fathers say things like, “Well, don’t do as I do, do as I say.” Really? You may as well say “I’m a hypocrite, but do as I tell you to do anyways.” Proverbs tells us that these men speak with no authority and so their children will ignore them or even mock them because of their hypocrisy. Tragically, these children often face the most devastating teen years because they do not have a wise father to turn to in a culture of sin and folly, and they themselves may fall prey to much sin and pain.
5. Create a godly legacy for your kids.
While fools are consumed with the present, a godly dad looks to the future. Proverbs 17:6 draws our attention to the future saying, “grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”
The point God is making here is that we should think about what kind of a dad and grandfather we want to be even before getting married and having a family, because we have a lot of work to do to get there. Godly men aspire to be good fathers and grandfathers and are faithful to pray for the generations of children who will follow his godly example. Wisdom enables a father to see that the way he lives affects the kind of children he raises, which affects the kind of children they raise, and so on.