I had an uncle step into my life as a father-figure when I was young. He and my aunt opened their home to me for a number of weeks each summer. Their home was quite different than the apartment I grew up in and my uncle used this time to introduce me to a number of experiences and opportunities to grow. These included a couple of backpacking trips with other men and young men. He helped a city-boy grow into a man.
Are you intentional about growing in specific areas of your life? Are you facilitating growth in the marriage relationship and in the life of your kids? Are there opportunities with extended family? It is easy to mistake busy-ness in life for growth. Check out of the busy-ness and plan some unique experiences and opportunities to grow this summer. Here are a few suggestions: Visit the local zoo or other attraction in your city that you have not been to in years; schedule a few day hikes; or plan a trip to the Ark Encounter or Creation Museum in Kentucky.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. – 1Peter 2:1-3. Here, Peter stresses spiritual growth, “pure spiritual milk” to provide a firm foundation for growth. Yes, the world was full of distractions in the first century just as today. Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:13-14. Now, the writer of Hebrews points to spiritual maturity. It is ridiculous to think that a grown man would continue to suck on a bottle of milk, yet that is the case spiritually for the majority of men. The call is to create experiences and opportunities to grow spiritually. I encourage reading Scripture daily, a regular family devotion time, a family hiking trip or a ‘Walk to Emmaus’ retreat experience. The same discipline instilled to achieve physical, financial or emotional fitness should also be applied to spiritual fitness.
When Faithful Fathering conducts weekend retreats or the extended hiking and backpacking adventures across the summer, the objective that we share with participants is for all to be pushed physically, emotionally and spiritually. Through activities, teaching and structured discussion time, “solid food” is taken in. As a result, dads and kids mature to a new level of relationship with each other and with the Heavenly Father.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for being my Father and for providing father-figures in this world. I confess that while I practiced religion on some Sundays, I fell well short of growing spiritually and in leading my family to You. Forgive me. Grant me the discipline needed to spend time in Scripture, to mature on the “solid food” You offer through Your Church and provide “pure spiritual milk” for the family You blessed me with. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father practices discipline needed to mature spiritually.