Father figure – How to disciple spiritual children Part 2 – Principle factor in child rearing

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father figureFather figure – principle factor in child rearing

Child rearing is a powerful principle.  However, it is also a two-edged sword.  When a father figure fails to be a worthy role model for his children, his failure complicates the development of future generations that proceed from his headship.  God has designed us in such a way that we intrinsically develop our own identity based on the way our parents or guardians raised us.  When the father figure is missing in the life of a child there are always unfavorable consequences.  One of the strategies of Satan is his attack on the family.  He knows that if he effectively mounts an attack on the fathers he can install his misery into their lineage for generations to come.  The only hope for a child that has grown up in the absence of a father figure is to at some point humbly receive a surrogate father that is able to communicate the same love and patience that a godly father would show to his own children.

Unfortunately, in the case where a father has been absent or deficient as a worthy role model, the children, while conscious of their own emotional need, develop defense mechanisms that make it difficult to develop the very type of relationships needed to build a proper self-image as children of God.  God has provided the father figure to prepare the child for a relationship with God the Father, and the mother as a pattern for the relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Ideally, the child receives this preparation from the biological parents but there can be substitutes.  The important thing is to recognize that children learn how to develop a relationship with God through the example of the parents and especially the father figure.

Early bible advice on child rearing

Interwoven throughout the Old Testament we can testify to the value that God places on the family and child rearing.  The goal of child rearing is to bring each child to a level of maturity upon which he or she can make responsible decisions on their own, learning to become independent and eventually interdependent in relation to their parents and other siblings.  The classic Old Testament passage on child rearing is Deuteronomy 6:5-7 and reads:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Here we have the Biblical model for raising children.  How does it happen?  First, the parents must have a complete and thorough love for the Lord.  This assures that they will naturally pass on to their children the same love.  This is foundational and absolute because if the parents are just going through the motions, they will produce children in the same pattern.  Parents always transmit their character to their children unless there is a substantial separation.  Besides having a genuine and profound love for the Lord, a heart-knowledge of His teachings is also necessary.  Before teaching anything to the children the commands of the Lord had to be “in the heart” of the parents. From the very beginning, the pattern for the multiplication of human generations depended on the mother and father having a correct relationship with God and His Word.  If the parents fail here, they will seriously compromise the whole process. (to be continued)

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