Fathers: Help Your Children Know God
By Rick Warren
— May 21, 2014
“I showed what You are like to those You gave Me from the world. They belonged to You, and You gave them to Me” (John 17:6 NCV).
The world is full of sons and daughters who desperately need a father who is a spiritual leader. Is it possible your kids are among them? You can become a spiritual leader to your children by developing the characteristics that we see in Jesus as he taught his disciples for three years.
Even if you are not a father, or a mother, you will be able to lead others into the heart of God by following the example of Jesus.
First, Jesus helped the disciples to know God.
Dads, this is your number one responsibility as a father. You need to help your children get to know God because eternity hangs in the balance: life or death, heaven or hell. It is your job to help make sure your kids are introduced to God.
Look at what Jesus says: “They belonged to you.” He’s acknowledging that the disciples belonged to God; and reminding us that we don’t own our kids. They belong to God. He loans them to us for a period of time in which he wants you to parent them. Parenting, like all forms of leadership, is really about stewardship. You learn to say, “God, I am the steward of these children, whom You put into my care, and I will do what You need me to do to help them achieve their purpose.”
Notice Jesus then says, “I showed what You were like to those You gave Me.” Jesus doesn’t say, “I preached. I sermonized. I pontificated. I lectured so the disciples would know you.” He says, “I showed.” He led by example. This is one of the most sobering truths about being a parent. For right or wrong, for good or bad, whether you like it or not, your children’s idea of God is going to be largely determined by the kind of father you are. You may not like that. I may not like that, but it’s the truth.
If you are an impatient and demanding father, they’re going to think God is impatient and demanding. If you are distant and detached and never have time for your kids, they’re going to think God is distant and detached from them. If you are inconsistent and unreliable, if you break your promises, they’re going to think their heavenly Father is inconsistent and unreliable and breaks His promises.
What is God really like?
• God is caring.
• God is close and aware of the details.
• God is consistent.
• God is competent.
If my kids are going to grow up knowing God is caring, close, consistent, and competent, then I must be caring, close, consistent, and competent. I must care about my kids enough to show them what God is like and show how they can become like Christ.
Over the next few days, we’ll look at six more ways that Jesus exhibited spiritual leadership. First, by helping them get to know God; then by (2) teaching them God’s Word; (3) praying for them; (4) guarding their mental growth and (5) spiritual growth; (6) releasing them to serve God’s purposes; and (7) teaching them the importance of commitment by showing his own commitment.
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