What responsibilities weigh on your heart as a father today? The world is performance-based, meaning the drivers typically involve self-improvement, self-motivation and self-promotion in status, career or influence. This can lead to priorities getting all discombobulated and key responsibilities getting pushed to the back burner. The Dad’s Armor study encourages and equips dads to keep hearts turned in the right direction.
One dad found himself caught up in the demands of work with an excessive travel schedule. Guilt of time away from family and frequently missing kids’ activities was weighing on him. In meeting with an older dad, he was encouraged that work is part of the journey and certainly a responsibility not to be ignored. But the gentleman also reminded him that financial provision was not the only responsibility he had as a husband and father. It is not even the most important responsibility.
The commandments I give to you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. … If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 & 1Timothy 5:8. It is a heart-level responsibility to embrace the commandments which Jesus summed up in three: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. … Love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matthew 22:37&39). And He walked the middle commandment, honoring His Father with every step He took on this earth. To honor the Father, dads must love Him, learn to love in marriage as Jesus loved the Church and reflect that love in family and beyond. The provide piece that Paul references is a call to be provisionary for the family. It is not simply financial provision. Dads are to provide a vision for healthy relationship in family. Heart turning begins as dads embrace the commandments and lead spiritually by example between Sundays.
The young dad was convicted of his heart turning to the world even as he was working to provide for his family. He reviewed the responsibilities at work and found he could be more intentional in managing travel the job required. During busy stretches, he would try to schedule the bulk of his traveling early in the week. If an overnight or two was required, he would not let it push into a weekend. Dan continued to do well professionally but now he was home for dinner and making the kids’ events more often than not. He even stepped up as a coach for his son’s team.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and Your heart for man. The world is good at turning hearts away from You, even in the guise of doing good. I am convicted that I allowed such turning in my life. Forgive me. Keep me alert to distractions that turn my heart from the love You call me to. I accept responsibility as a man, husband and father to lead spiritually with a heart turned to You - to love You, learn to love as You love and honor You as Your representative in my home. Amen.
A faithful father keeps his heart turned to the Lord and leads spiritually by example.