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Men Wanted: Part 4

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted April 16, 2013

RELIGION – A friend of mine was seeking a deep conversation with a distant father. He asked his dad what was life all about. He said that his dad paused and said “Hell, boy I don’t know.” Now he does get points for frankness, but I would like to think that as fathers and men we could do a much better job at fulfilling the words of 1Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”

Giving your family a vision of where you want them to be and making directions to achieve it is a good thing, as we saw in our first two studies. But you will also need to be able to give concrete instruction at times. I know growing up I would routinely ask my dad a question and the most common refrain was “Go ask you mother.” Now this is the right call on a lot of questions: is my room clean, can I go outside in my underwear, do I have to eat my spinach. But this is not an adequate response to many of the inquiries of your children, if you want to be a good leader in your home. Each time your kids ask a question, you have an opportunity to give them instruction. Trust me, kids can ask some good questions about God.

Don’t simply wait for your children to ask questions, be proactive. I try to find ways to set up scenarios with my boys and get them to ask specific questions. I will sort of bait my boys and say “what happens if someone says something mean or curses at you? What will you do if a stranger approaches you? What happens if someone is being mean or hurting your little brother? (My wife does not care for my instructions here, she is a little more pacifistic than me, let me just say don’t mess with little Luke Howle if big brother Cason is around!)

You see it is inspiring for your children to get this kind of authoritative instruction from their dad. It shows that you’re not asking them to go it alone, but you’re going to show them exactly what to do. You are going to go through life along side of them.
Right alongside of instruction, is imitation. Men, imitation is the fundamental nature of true leadership in the home. There is no room for, “Do what I say and not what I do.” That is failed leadership and blatant hypocrisy that is very common today. Men, you should set out to give your inspiring examples and clear demonstrations of selfless service to God and others.

When it comes to your children’s speech tell them “If I say it, you can say it. If I don’t say it, you don’t say it.” This will make you consciousness of your own speech, and it will show your children that proper speech can be achieved.

But what happens when you hit your finger with a hammer and let one go? Then you demonstrate something else for your children: confession and repentance. You simply tell the kids “I am sorry I said that, it was not appropriate, will you forgive me?”

Some men may think they should never apologize to their children for moments of sin and failure (they think that demonstrates weakness), but this only hardens the heart of a child (and a wife for that matter), toward their father (or husband). Men, understand that demonstrating confession and repentance to your kids is as important as being a “good example.” They see the way you handle you faults and failures and it is teaching them how to handle theirs.

The apostle Paul captured the essence of instruction and imitation in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”Paul simply says, "If you want to know what to do—just follow me." Paul wasn't being arrogant—he did not think of himself as sinless. At this time, however, the Corinthian believers did not know much about the life and ministry of Christ. Paul could not tell them to imitate Jesus because the Gospels had not yet been written, so they did not know what Jesus was like. The best way to point these new Christians to Christ was to point them to a Christian whom they trusted (see also Gal 4:12; Php 3:17; 1Th 1:6; 1Th 2:14; 2Th 3:7, 2Th 3:9). Paul had been in Corinth almost two years and had built a relationship of trust with many of these new believers.

Men, seek to live your life so that you can say to your kids, "Do what I do, and you'll do well."
        Pastor Phillip

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