Kids love to run around, scream, and laugh. Hide and seek is the go-to game at the moment in our house, and our daughter loves to play it. What is so cute and amazing is my kids think we can’t see them. For example, during the first game, the moving bump in the curtains gave her away. During Round 2 she was trying to hide under the table, but her legs hanging out gave her away.
Oh, how often in the same way we Christians think we can hide from the Lord. He probably laughs like I did. We cannot hide anything from God. Part of being a godly man is being transparent, repenting to God, and confessing to others. Don’t think your secret sins will not be copied and passed down.
Kill that sin, talk to your kids about it, and fight with your kids for joy and holiness. Don’t live a double life; we can’t fool our children, and we for sure can’t fool God.
Work vs. Family
Most cultures praise people who work hard. Many people find identity and joy in their work. But we must be careful that our job doesn’t take us away from our family. Before we take a promotion or new job we must ask ourselves if it will keep us from our families.
This doesn’t just apply to fathers; wives, be cautious to take on a job when it isn’t necessary. One of the greatest callings and jobs that God has called mothers to is making and keeping a home (Titus 2:3-5).
Men can often choose career over family. We see this when men excel in their work but slack in their duties at home. Our careers are temporary, but marriage and family is life-long. Our careers exist to serve our families (1 Timothy 5:8).
Men often pour their lives into a career because they are built to take on challenges. We men are naturally bent towards conquering a mountain or winning a battle, but for some reason these natural tendencies are somehow turned off to the challenge of training and equipping our little soldiers at home. God has given us a little army to train, to lead, then to one day launch into the world; there is no mission or job more important.
I took the family out to dinner for Mother’s Day. While waiting for the food, my wife took our son out to walk around. While my daughter and I stayed in the restaurant, I remember looking across the table at her. She was beautiful. It was a time we had all to ourselves and I realized we needed daddy/daughter dates.
Time and place depends on your situation, but I try to have a date with my daughter once a month. She was four years old when we had our first “date” at KFC. We enjoyed eating our ice cream cones and talking about her school and interests. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy time with our daughters, open up communication with them, and let them know they are precious to us.
We should also spend alone time with our sons. In Proverbs 23:26 King Solomon said, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” We train their hearts as we give their eyes an example of a man to follow. Men, we are teaching our boys how to be men with every little thing we say and do. Fathers, we are teaching future fathers.
One afternoon I was helping my wife fold clothes on our kitchen table. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a large branch fall out of the biggest tree in our yard. On closer examination I saw that the branch began to move and slide back and forth in snake like motion. Snake! My man instincts fired up. Fight or flight, I was ready, but I soon realized I didn’t have a snake-killing weapon, so I grabbed a broom.
I’m not a hunter. I don’t find pleasure in killing. But my role is to protect. I locked onto a threat in the yard where my kids innocently play. When I arrived outside, that enemy had already begun to retreat, so I looked around for another weapon. As the snake slithered up the tree I grabbed a dirty old basketball that I’m pretty sure belonged to the last renter, then hurled the ball upwards to get the enemy in striking distance. Like I said, no pleasure in this. I wasn’t trying to show off to my wife. Actually, she was thinking the whole time, “That’s not smart.”
Men, it is our job to protect our families from physical harm. Whether that means we take them to their well child appointments, or check the living room in the middle of the night when our wives ask, “Did you hear that? What was that?” We are also called to guard our family emotionally and spiritually.
Our families should feel safe when we are around. Men, I hope our families see us as their protectors and not someone they need protection from. Maybe the greatest threat to them is our own sin. We live in fatherless times, so the sad reality is that sometimes moms and children don’t have a protector around.
Men, we need to set aside time for the family. I remember one of my professors, Dr. Livingston, saying that his daily schedule is broken into three parts: Morning is for God, day for work, and evening for family. Meaning in the mornings we spend time with the Lord in his Word, then we go to work, and when we come home we block out that time for family. Not only to be there but to actually be there with them. Big difference.
Our hearts and minds need to center on loving and enjoying our family when we’re with them. The emails and phone calls can wait. We must show our family they are of highest importance and value to us.
Have Godly Friends
Recently, a taxi driver drove up beside me and pointed out that my tire was flat. I was so thankful he took time to do that. People on the outside have the advantage of seeing things we can’t in our own lives. Our friends, especially our wives, can see flaws and sins much better than we can. I remember thanking that driver with a smile and nod. He was a complete stranger, but that day he was a good friend.
How much more should we listen to the advice of those we live with and love so much. Let them feel safe in pointing out our “flat tires”. We need men in our lives who will help point out our blind spots. A true friend will, no matter how hard it might be, point out things in our lives that need to be fixed or changed. We are to be that friend to others as well. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
Be Spontaneous: Surprise Your Loved Ones
My wife loves when I do things spontaneously. If I just randomly turn into the parking lot of a fair, or randomly stop to buy some ice cream, she likes it. Any time you can surprise your kids with any little thing, do it. Go out of your way to make your kid feel special and thankful to be yours. Think of all the times God has surprised and encouraged you.
Mark Your Calendars
Mark your calendar for birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions so you don’t miss them. Men, it should be our joy to prioritize our families. This will show them how they are more important to us than our work, and how precious we consider time with them to be.
Men, Know God’s Word
How and what will I teach my family? Put yourself and your family under the authority and instruction of the Bible. You don’t need to know what someone else thinks about money, but rather what God says. When it comes to covetousness, anxiety, and laziness, what does the Bible say?
The Bible is sufficient for us and our families. God doesn’t leave us in the dark, not knowing what to do in this broken world. He gave us his Word, which is a “lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119: 105).
The Bible isn’t arranged by topic. Have you ever thought about that? That’s not a divine editorial mistake; it was God’s intention. The Bible is one big story. Lots of little stories building on each other tell the story of redemption. Going to the Bible to just hunt down parenting or marriage passages is not what we need. We need the big picture.
We need the ability to clearly and simply articulate the grand redemptive story found in Scripture and teach our children to do the same.
During a meeting with a friend, he asked if I had seen the new Avengers movie. I said no, and somehow he told me one of the main characters dies . . . Knowing the end of a movie ruins it, but the greatest story ever told is so great because of how it ends.
Have you ever read Revelation? What hope and joy it can bring to our lives and to our parenting. God wins! And since he brought us into his family, we win. Revelation is my favorite word in the Thai language because it sounds just like “we won” in English. Not we will win, but we won. It has already been set in stone by the creator who is not bound by time. And it is so sure that it can be a written as a done deal.
I didn’t grow up with a love of reading. I was forced to do it in school, but all that changed when I realized how important reading was for my soul. For some of you reading this book it may have been a challenge, but it’s such a good discipline and habit, and it can have a huge effect on you and your loved one’s life.
We should not only read books for information or teaching material, but also for growth, change, stimulation, and “filling up.” Just like a well, reading fills us up, causing us to have something to give.
We need glorious truths to take residence in our souls and when the moment presents itself we have truth and life to share.
Copyright © 2020 by Brandon Lingle @ https://lookaside.fbsbx.com/file/Intro%20-%20Chapter%201.pdf?token=AWweAHzYHnnqtG2JEAISzHe3UhxcHs-NuTUU4ezmjnOlaskyUYxtwmTJTQmnzd9PB1B4dxu1AkBlaA6niTImhDiBNoDcyjBKL4wqWplEPWnPC0zaKv89YZoCVxEdNYkXFzsn_13oGGWZPyJGqX_W7Z8W3LAZk32Rd8AxCCrO0vHuCg . Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org