Fathers, as providers and protectors of the family, are always loaded with problems and all kinds of burdens. But how can the children lighten the load of their fathers? The Book of Proverbs said, “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him” (Prov. 23:24). Fathers are most relieved of their burdens when they see that their labour in the Lord is not in vain and their children are walking in righteousness. On the other hand, when their children choose to be fools and do all kinds of wickedness, this unnecessarily adds to their burdens. It is worth noting, however, that many children are able to walk in righteousness because they were blessed with godly fathers that brought them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
As wickedness abounds in the world, raising children becomes more challenging. This is not to mention the fact that children these days tend to make their own plans and do things that conflict with parents. Disciplining children is also a challenge. There are times when words are not enough and fathers use the rod to drive the message home. However, fathers should heed the admonition of the apostle Paul. He said, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). If children are pushed to the limit, they may rebel even more. The better “rod” to use in training children is the Word of God. This is a powerful tool since it is active, alive and able to penetrate even to the division of soul and spirit It is also a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12).
Because of the inability of some fathers to use the proper tool in disciplining their children, there is so much fighting and confusion in the family. The shouting and cursing will certainly be of no help. Instead, it brings more destruction and no one is a winner but the devil who is watching and rejoicing at the destruction of the family. The number one strategy of the devil is to destroy the basic foundation of society – the family. If the devil succeeds in doing that, then it will be a lot easier for him to destroy society as a whole. Jesus warned, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:24-25).
As mentioned before, the role of a father is not only to provide but also protect. Both these roles are not easy to do. The father can only do so much to provide, not only for the current needs of his children but for their long term needs. Also, he cannot provide 24/7 protection for his children. It is for this reason that the best move that a father can do is to bring his children to the Lord, who promised to provide for those that will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The Lord also promised to protect them saying, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
If there is a family that we can look up to as a model, it is the family of Noah. In spite of the fact that they were living in a very wicked society, they were able to set themselves apart so that when God decided to restart life here on the earth, only Noah and family were spared from the destructive flood that came to devastate the earth. It was not easy for Noah and his children to live the holy lives that God demanded, since we are told that “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). Noah might have been jeered and considered crazy when, rather than enjoying life in the manner that others were enjoying it, he obeyed the Lord’s command to build a huge ark on dry ground. They could not believe that the ark would ever make its way into the sea to float. Even his children might have also been considered weird for sticking with their father as they joined in the construction of the ark. But as they held on to their faith, not being distracted by the negative influences of the society in which they were living, they survived the flood and only Noah and his family were saved.
It certainly is the joy of a father to see his children walk in righteousness just like the children of Noah. However, he needs to do his part to ensure that his children are instructed in the ways of the Lord so that, as a family, they can walk together in righteousness. He needs to impress in the heart of his children the need to build good relationships with the Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of what people will say. They need to stay together and pray together for their family to stand. The greatest reward that a father can get is to see his whole household saved. Hallelujah!