“I remember lookin’ up to look up to him. An’ I remember, most the time he wasn’t there. I’d be waitin’ at the door when he got home at night. He’d pass me by to go pass out in his chair. An’ I’d say: ‘Walk a little straighter, Daddy, You’re swayin’, side to side. Your footsteps make me dizzy, and no matter how I try, I keep trippin’ an’ stumblin’. If you’d look down here, you’d see: Walk a little straighter, Daddy, You’re leading me.’” – The powerful first verse of Billy Currington’s hit song, “Walk a Little Straighter”.
A dad’s walk can be impeded by more than alcohol. One dad led his family to church every Sunday but Monday through Saturday the focus was on succeeding in business. The kids’ spiritual growth was abdicated to the church but he made sure they were driven to get good grades and do well in their extra-curricular activities. The marriage was under a lot of stress and it surprised no one that the couple divorced when the kids went off to school. Surprisingly it did surprise folks that the kids, in spite of having participated so consistently in the youth programs, drifted from a faith in Christ and wanted nothing to do with church. Daddy was leading them down a different path – Look good on Sundays but walk differently Monday through Saturday.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 5:18-20. Paul’s call is to be sensitive to what we are under the influence of. An addiction, be it to alcohol, work or something else, is a powerful scheme of the devil to distract dads and destroy families. In chapter six, Paul adds, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”- Eph.6:4. Inconsistency of a dad’s walk causes confusion in the home and exasperates children. “Training” is the day to day discipline in relationship with Jesus the Christ lived in marriage and witnessed by the kids. “Instruction” is the spiritual discussion in the home between Sundays and consistency of character on display at home, work, church and hobbies. Kids need to see dads walk straighter every day under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
The last verse of the Billy Currington song goes: “The old man’s still like he always was, but I love him anyway. If I’ve learned one thing from him, it’s my kids will never have to say: ‘Walk a little straighter, Daddy, you’re swayin’, side to side. …’”
Intentionality to overcome a bad home situation makes for a good dad. Humility to grow in discipline and obedience under the influence of the Holy Spirit makes for a faithful father.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your example of a sinless life in the flesh. Too often I fall short allowing my eyes to drift from You, succumbing to desires of the flesh or trusting pridefully in myself. On this path, I have confused and even exasperated my family with talk different from my walk. Forgive me. Help me walk straighter in a way that glorifies You. Increase my sensitivity to what I am under the influence of and grant me clarity to rebuke anything that is not of You. I accept responsibility to be a faithful father, the man, husband and father You call me to be, that the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father walks straighter each day under the influence of the Holy Spirit.