August 22, 2017

Being a Good Father

Thomas Overmiller

A man who has children is a father, but a man who takes responsibility to meets the needs of his children is a good father. So what do children need from a father? They need a provider, encourager, teacher, and spiritual leader. That’s what we learn about good fathers from Ephesians 6:4.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

As we begin a new year of opportunity, will you take a moment to reflect with me about what it means to be a good father? Be aware that no father can fulfill these expectations through character and determination alone. To be a good father requires a healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit. His leadership, wisdom, and enabling of the Holy Spirit makes it possible to be a good father (Eph. 5:18).

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

As a provider, you must understand and provide for the needs of your child. Every child needs proper clothing, nutrition, and medical attention. They need appropriate opportunities and resources for social, academic, and skills development. They need protection from destructive influences. They need to know that from the cradle to adult life, you conscientiously understand and gladly provide whatever they need as an individual. Regularly tell your children how much you enjoy taking care of them!

As an encourager, you must conscientiously avoid personal responses and behavior that frustrate your child. Do you mock or make fun of them? Blame them for inconveniences? Favor one over another? Make flippant promises? Multiply unreasonable expectations? Recall past offenses? Refuse to apologize for your own failures? Your children desperately need the opposite of these things. Nurture their trust and security by abandoning these tendencies at all cost. Go out of your way to strengthen your children with the frequent heartfelt, encouraging words and fatherly hugs and kisses.

As a teacher, you must give your child instructions. Others may help, but you are the lead instructor. Teach your child right and wrong. Encourage and acknowledge wise behavior, while firmly and gently correcting wrong behavior. Explain things that are obvious and obscure; assume nothing. Have thoughtful conversations, answering questions patiently. Explain facts of life wholesomely, before wrong information confuses them. Teach them how to love, to work, and to communicate. Teach them skills for life – domestic, trade, social, and financial skills. Openly share the wisdom God has given you. You have so much to give!

As a spiritual leader, you must train your child for Christ. Know God’s Word for yourself and share your understanding with your child. Be sensitive to God’s specific will. (You are raising your child for Him.) Quietly, deliberately ask God to show you as much of His intentions as possible. Conscientiously discern the special personality, talents, and spiritual strengths that God has given your child. Your child needs a father who is on personal terms with Jesus and who leads them on His behalf. If you ask for the wisdom as a father, God will give it to you. That is one prayer He will always answer!

An honest father deeply understands his personal incompetency. Yet he may turn to God for supernatural guidance and enabling to receive all that he needs to be a good father. And this is what your child needs most of all – God the Heavenly Father as their Provider, Encourager, Teacher, and Leader, through your conscientious leadership as their human father in reliance on the Holy Spirit. Are you this kind of father? In what way does God desire for you to lean more upon Him as you endeavor to be a good father to your children this year?


Thomas Overmiller serves as a Bible professor at Baptist College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.


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