Being under the influence is allowing something outside of self to direct the next steps of life. What are you under the influence of? Over the past year, we have dealt with mandates to lockdown our lives, wear masks and to fear a virus over all else. We have essentially been a people under the influence of fear in the face of a crisis.
“But before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God’s gentler nudges.”- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. When the proverbial frog is in the pot of boiling water, it takes more than a nudge to get him out. Will dads respond to the crisis that was 2020 and to the boiling up of cultural pressure on family in a way that honors the Father?
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:19-21. Paul's words, "to live is Christ", is to honor and live into the Father’s design, particularly in our walk as men, husbands and fathers. This past year has been a wakeup call to how much dads and moms have abdicated to others, especially the schools and churches, in the rearing of children. Schools and churches are not bad institutions but they are not to supplant parents as the primary influence in the raising of the next generation. When institutions exert disproportionate influence, often times parents struggle to defend foundational truths addressing the definition of marriage and family, sexuality and gender clarity and God as our Father. Paul’s words were, “I will not be put to shame”. Today, dads must stand firm against intimidation from political and cultural pressure. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. – Ephesians 5:18. The charge is to not be under the influence of what the world throws at us but to set a new direction in this world under the influence of the Holy Spirit in the raising of the next generation.
Tips for new direction:
- Read the Bible daily. Start with the letters - Romans through Jude, then read the gospels and Acts, then back to Genesis through Revelation;
- Lead family discussions over dinner around Sunday’s sermon or scripture reference;
- Read and discuss God’s design for mankind as a family – Genesis 1:26-28, 2:24; Malachi 2:15, 4:6; Ephesians 5:21-6:4;
- Pray as a family for clarity in and obedience under God’s design for mankind;
- Schedule time to systematically read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States as a family;
- Ask the minister and/or youth director at your church how you can help them;
- Invite Faithful Fathering to your church to charge dads to take on a new direction.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Word and the direction You provide early and often. I confess I have succumbed to political and cultural pressure, living under directives issued in fear of a crisis. Forgive me. Thank You for the wakeup call that was 2020. I commit to stand firm under the direction You provide and under the design given in Your Word. Thank You Dad for the charge to not be under the influence of this world but to set course for a new direction under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Equip me to live into Your design and be Your representative in marriage, family, church and beyond. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father sets course for a new direction in family, church and community.