“The parent’s task is not a yoke to be borne; it is a privilege to be enjoyed. If God’s design in giving us children is to bless us, the task He calls us to as parents is nothing more than an extension and magnification of that blessing. Parenting is hard only to the degree that parents make it hard by failing to follow the simple principles God sets forth. To neglect one’s duty before God as a parent is to forfeit the blessing inherent in the task, and those who do so take on a burden God never intended parents to bear.” -John MacArthur
According to the Census Bureau, more than 1 in 4 children live without a father in the home in America. This reality is one reason why our country is in the condition that it is in. Knowing that almost 25,000,000 children grow up without their biological father is heart-wrenching. The child misses out on many things that God has designed for the home. A Father’s love, a father’s guidance, a father’s care. This is so incredibly damaging to the child as they walk through this fallen world, without a father holding their hand.
It is sad for the child, but it is also sad for the parent. Those who leave their families out of convenience, aren’t gaining, or winning in anyway. They are the losers. They lose out on the wonderful privilege it is to be a parent. They lose out on the gift that God has given them, and God is not mocked, they reap what they sow. They sow neglect, they reap misery. They sow selfishness, they reap discontentment. Acting like little boys, and not taking responsibility like men in the home, is at the heart of our issues in the church, and in our country.
Fatherless homes are a tragedy, and another tragedy are fathers in the home, but the homes are fatherless nonetheless. What I mean by that, is that fathers may be physically present in the home, but as for fulfilling their spiritual duties as a leader, they might as well be on the other side of the planet. Men are designed to provide, protect, and lead. Lead their families through the scriptures. Lead their families in prayer. Lead their families to the foot of the cross. This is the primary duty of the father, and by the way we see children acting in our country, we know that this duty is left neglected.
What are some enemies of this duty? Sin, entertainment, indifference, and ignorance.
Men who harbor secret sin such as pornography, will without a doubt neglect their spiritual duties. They may provide for their families just fine, but as for providing spiritual leadership and guidance, that will be non-existent in men who habitually view pornography. What men must do is repent of this horrific sin, that they are not hiding from the Lord. He sees, He knows, and He will repay.
Another enemy of spiritual leadership in men is the T.V. remote. Distracted men produce distracted children. Men who do not have their eyes fixed on Christ, produce children who do not have their eyes fixed on Christ. What isn’t understood is that training your children in the things of God is where true joy is found. The television doesn’t compare to that. It reminds of the C.S. Lewis quote,
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The privilege of training our children is the holiday at sea, entertainment is the mud pies that C.S. Lewis speaks of.
Indifference is the enemy of our children. Just simply not caring about their spiritual growth. Some fathers are present, but they have checked out. To all the dads out there, check in! Don’t complain when your children do not obey you or the Lord, if your brain is in outer space. Earth to all dads, it your duty to not only be present in body, but in mind.
I list ignorance as an enemy, and this falls on me. Preachers have gone far too long without calling dads out, and diligently showing them in the scriptures what it means to be a man. I remember the first time a preacher sat me down, and walked me through each verse that commands me, and it was all news to me. So many men, who attend church, have no idea what is required of them, and the blame falls on preachers.
Men, engage, initialize, put away childish things, and lead your families. It is a privilege, it is a joy, and so many squander it.