A Pattern For Fatherhood
“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”1 Thessalonians 2:11
The richest explanation of profound Bible truth is done with the similitude. Otherwise complex teachings are broken down into bite-sized pieces with a simple likeness. Whole realms of study are encompassed with the use of a single, two-lettered word: “as.”
Beyond the simile however, God IS the heavenly Father of all who have received the adoption of sons. You are not born into God’s family- you must be born again into it.
“Even so we, when we were children, [of disobedience and wrath, Ephesians 2:2-3] were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”Galatians 4:3-6
You see God doesn’t just treat us AS a father should- He IS the Father, and every dad ought to parent like He does.
And just what does a good father do? Paul makes it very plain in the passage:
Every fatherly responsibility is captured in these three objectives. Every father ought to be the exhorter, the comforter, and the charger of his children.
Sometimes we get lost in the lingo and dismiss words like these as ‘churchspeak’ or ‘Bibletalk.’ But these are just suitcases waiting to be unpacked with practical wisdom for today’s patriarch.
An exhortation is an encouragement with involvement.
I may encourage my son to play baseball by cheering him on from the bleachers all season long. But I exhort my son to play by taking him out in the backyard, putting on my glove and pitching him the ball.
An exhortation start’s with: “Let’s…” Let’s play ball. Let’s work on the mower. Let’s clean up around the house. An exhortation shows that it’s more than just a good idea- it’s a GREAT one we should work on TOGETHER.
Not everything your child attempts will be successful.
Failure is part of learning; such a valuable part that without it very little is actually ever learned. It is how dad treats failure in his child that steers the learning or stifles it.
The comfort says, “It’s alright.” I still love you, in spite of failure. It allows for being human, both in the father, and in the child.
But note, the comfort comes AFTER the exhortation. It’s alright to try and then fail; it is not alright NOT to try at all. A good father will push for the attempt, but he will also be there to pick up the broken glass.
History is resplendent with the tales of men who tried and failed… and then tried AGAIN.
Life’s victories will go to the one who gets up and goes on one more time than the other guy. Wars have been decided by who had more spirit, not by who had the best weaponry. Winners are made from losers who just never quit playing until the buzzer sounds.
Charged means, “Now, do it again.” It acknowledges the attempt as well as the error. You don’t charge a full battery, you charge a dead one to get more use of it. So, as fathers, we must not leave our sons and daughters to recover on their own; we must “charge” them. (Not overcharge them, however.)
And this is just how our Holy Father deals with his family. He says, “Let us try-” helping us with His Spirit. When we stumble, He says, “It’s alright, learn from it-” healing us with the “comfort of the Scripture.” (Romans 15:4) And afterward He says, “Now, try again. Be strong-” fueling us with motivation and energy to persist.