In Deuteronomy 6, God instructed parents to teach their children His law when they get up in the morning, walk along the way, sitting down and going to bed at night. The Jews used daily experiences to teach their children the godly principles of living. It was by being a living example. In my counseling for 25 years, I find there is a major lack of husbands and fathers being the strong spiritual leaders of their homes.
As a young child, I was blessed with parents who loved God, loved each other, and lived their lives governed by the Fruit of the Spirit. Before I was old enough to understand the Bible, I saw it in the home that made godly living real to me. My parents were not super spiritual. They made a choice to obey God’s Word because they loved God above all else. That is a choice we all have.
Paul instructed fathers in this passage of scripture: Ephesians 6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord [that is, accept their guidance and discipline as His representatives], for this is right [for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline]. 2 Honor [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise— 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may have a long life on the earth.
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with loving-kindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This passage of scripture should be thoroughly studied by every father. God will make them accountable to His instructions. Fathers are not to have outbursts of anger, not to be demanding in a controlling manner or be verbally, emotionally or physically abusive. These actions are totally ungodly.
The father is the first ‘god with skin on’ to a child. If a father allows anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and emotional pain to be dumped on his wife and children, again it is totally ungodly. He is sinning against his family. He cannot blame his actions on anyone or circumstances. If a father desires respect, he must be respectful to his wife and children. We all choose our actions. The actions of a father will have a major impact on his children’s decisions and feelings about God.
Look at the positive instruction to fathers from God: Fathers, bring up your children with loving kindness in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This is done through examining the scripture.
Ephesians 5 – (AMP)
Be Imitators of God
5 Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
This scripture is telling all of us to be imitators of God by copying and following His example as well-beloved children – children will imitate their father! We are to walk in love valuing each other – practicing empathy and compassion. We cannot be selfish and be godly. As God came in flesh and sacrificed His life for our salvation, we are to love others as He loves us.
This truth is for all people who claim to be Spirit-filled. We cannot be godly in our humanness, but we can do this through the power of God being infused into us by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost does not force us to do right. It is our choice to surrender to God. We cannot be abusive, hurt others with uncontrolled anger, be abusively controlling where everyone around us lives in fear and be godly. This is sin. Study the works of the flesh (if you do any of these such things, you will not have a part in the kingdom of God) and the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.
In counseling marriage and family issues, a godly husband/father is the greatest need – he is to be the pastor of the home. The husband/father is to be the god-like genuine Holy Ghost controlled man following godly principles. God is love. We define love by:
1 Corinthians 13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Excellence of Love
13 “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [a]love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. 3 If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].8 Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].”
The love of God is in our heart by the Holy Ghost. We all need to be patient, kind, thoughtful, not jealous, not envious, not proud or arrogant, not rude, not selfish, not easily provoked or angered, and does not remember wrongs that must be forgiven. A loving person bears all things, believes the best about others, hopes and remains steadfast and strong even in difficult times, and endures all things with a godly attitude. This God-love never fails, fades nor ends! This is possible by the choice of imitating God in all we say and do.
We must allow the Fruit of the Spirit to dominate our lives: Galatians 5 – Amplified Bible:
22 “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the [l]sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.
25 If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. 26 We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.”
God’s word is powerfully clear in His instructions for godly living. The heart of God must break when He views fathers who are not godly bringing life-long damage to a family. I’ve been in the counseling ‘trenches’ with these pain-filled families for 25 years and it breaks my heart. What is rewarding is witnessing the healing of a family changed by God’s truth when they are willing to get on God’s pottery wheel and mold them for His glory!
Every family needs a God-centered husband/father who develops an intimate relationship with God, passing all of his actions through God, overflowing with God’s love and compassion to his wife and children through all circumstances. It is possible with God!
I pray that all pastors would teach their husbands/fathers how to be godly men by the Word of God. Many men have told me, “I do not know how to be a godly man. I had no role model in my life.” Through teaching, we can stop the generational dysfunction of hurting, clueless fathers. Everyone that hears my teaching begs for more of the Word. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
I taught a recent group of people on the subject of spiritual, emotional and relational growth for about 55 minutes. Then we opened for questions. After additional comments, they remained in their seat and said we want to hear more. God’s Word has the answers for Christ-like living. We must become students of the Word and learn how to be ‘self-feeders’ seeking God’s wisdom daily!
I’ve spent a few hours writing this article out of my heartbeat of wanting all believers to have spiritually healthy families. The main reason being that we must be holy and He is holy. Jesus Christ is coming at any moment! If we are not living godly, we will not be rapture ready! Do you want to go to heaven? Do you want your loved ones to go to heaven? Then spend time with God in prayer and His Word. Your life will be radically changed for His glory!
© Carol Clemans: www.carolclemans.org – Bible teacher 50 yrs., Certified Pastoral Counselor and Christian Life Coach for 25 yrs., Holy Ghost 61 ½ yrs., teaching for churches/conferences, providing nationwide confidential counseling by phone/Skype (636) 448-0121. Go to: www.carolclemans.org – read ‘about ministry’ page for details. Watch short teachings on Carol Clemans YouTube channel. Follow on FB: “Life Enrichment Ministries, Inc. (501c3”), “Carol Theobald Clemans,” Group: “Growing in God.” Ministry Ref: Pastor Daniel Batchelor, Dupo, IL.