He had attended church regularly as a boy but life experienced in a violent alcoholic home was not consistent with his experience in church. He drifted from the faith as a young man but was determined to overcome the shortfalls of his father. Over the next 20 years he focused on being successful in the world and providing well for his family. He was sure that providing well was the key to having a happy marriage and home.
An “overcomer” is a man that is driven not to follow his dad’s example. He is out to prove he can do a better job with his family. Typically, it works for a while but if it is driven by self-determination, the man will run into a wall sooner or later. For me, the wall was hit about 25 years-ago. I was providing well for my family financially but was failing relationally. I met with the pastor of our church and he asked about my relationship with Jesus the Christ. He asked if I routinely read scripture. Then he said, “If you do not know the Word of God, you do not know Jesus. And, if you are not in relationship with Jesus, your relationship in marriage and family is not on solid ground.” That was a wake-up call!
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. – 1Timothy 5:8. This passage tends to be taken in a financial context. Yet, throughout chapter 5, Paul writes about what it means practically to live your faith in family and beyond. As with all of scripture, the practical application of faith flows out of relationship with Jesus the Christ. Providing for family certainly has a financial component but it is just a part of the whole. The whole is a personal, passionate relationship with Christ that is lived in marriage and reflected in family. If the financial component or any other action becomes the focus, it is nothing short of idol worship.
Here are some practical ‘next steps’ to help provide well relationally in family:
- Read scripture daily – first the letters, then the gospels, then back to Genesis and all the way through Revelation. A chapter or two a day is a good pace. Incorporate prayer, worship, fasting or journaling as you are led;
- Have family devotion & prayer time and spiritual discussions between Sundays;
- Schedule routine date nights and occasional getaways with your bride;
- Schedule regular one-on-one time with each child early and often;
- Schedule passage experiences during the teen years with your son or daughter. These were hiking/backpacking trips with my daughter and my son but they can take many forms.
Prayer guide: My Father, thank You for the opportunity to reconnect what got disconnected in the first garden experience, relationship with You. Through the virgin birth, sinless life, obedience to the point of death on the cross, resurrection and ascension, Jesus the Christ opened the door to understanding the relationship You want with me, and expect me to live in family and beyond. Forgive me for worshipping idols, for focusing on financial provision. Help me provide well for my family by growing in a personal and passionate relationship with You. Teach me to live that relationship in marriage and reflect it in family and beyond. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
A faithful father provides well relationally in family and beyond.