Where did we get the notion that the Christian life is a piece of cake? Where is the evidence for the "name it, claim it" theology that promises God will skip along in front of us with His great
John the Baptist said it well, "He (Christ) must increase but I must decrease" (John 3:30). God is truly glorified in us when we are less and Christ becomes more. In other words, God is greatly glorified in us when we are most sanctified by Him. As a father and a man of God, my sanctification is God's greatest purpose for my life. It's where He receives the greatest glory, and without a doubt, it is the greatest blessing I can give my family.
We have our perfect model, mentor, and teacher in Jesus Christ. His love for the Father compelled Him to live in a manner of great intentionality and purpose. He was always about the work of the Father for the glory of His Father. My personal calling is to follow in His footsteps. I know that my life, much more than my words, will have the greatest and most lasting impact on my children. As God defines me as a man, He refines me for a greater purpose.
At its most basic level this means less of us and more of Jesus. This is an inseparable reality within our standing as a child of God. To be held within God's grip of grace compels a response. The closer we are to God, the more we will serve God. Saving faith will produce works, and God's love within us will move us to share His love with others.
What does this mean for us dads?
1. For me personally, it means that my words are not enough. I need to teach my kids the love of Christ by living out the love of Christ. To say I love God is not enough. I must relentlessly purpose to live that love in way that impacts others, most significantly my own kids.2. As dads, our children can be a kind of mirror that reflects our life priorities back to us. While this may not always be true, we are positioned by God as dads to have this type of impact on our kids. If I see my son acting a certain way toward his mother, I'd need not look too far to see who he learned it from.
3. This is a God-driven truth I have learned over time. God uses my personal sanctification as one of His primary influencers over the lives of my wife and children. The closer I walk with God, the more He will use me to impact my family for Him. Yet, God is not limited by who we are or the lives we have lived. Rather, in Christ Jesus our lives are unlimited by who He is. This means that my past doesn't define me—Christ does.
4. As a father, I am continually praying that God will bring godly men and women into the lives of my children to influence them for Him. In Christ, we are a community of believers and are called to build into one another. As men, we should especially be aware of the many single moms that are out there. They're often doing it all alone, and in many cases, looking for godly men to build into the lives of their children.
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works."
Titus 2:11-14 ESV
As a child of God, this is my life calling. As a dad, I can't do any better than aiming at God's greater purpose for my life, less of me and more of Jesus. This life purpose affords no middle ground. I must firmly hold-fast to the plow that God has given me and not look back (Luke 9:62). It is a sanctified life filled with continual repentance, renewal and total reliance on the completed work of Jesus Christ. If I'm striving for God's finish line, regardless of my failures along the way, my family will be blessed and God will be glorified.