Becoming God’s Man

As Father’s Day approaches, I’d like to share some insights from a book called Temptations Men Face by Tom Eisenmann. Tom’s observations and suggestions are both convicting and encouraging. While Tom listed many temptations to consider, here are the top three that stuck out to me as a father. 

First, the temptation to give things instead of giving ourselves – our presence, our personal involvement.

Don’t misunderstand. Providing for one’s family is biblical. 1 Timothy 5:8 calls the man who fails to provide for his family’s needs “worse than an unbeliever.” But the temptation I’m referring to goes far beyond the basic level of need. It’s the toys vs. time battle: a dad’s desire to make up for his long hours and absence by unloading material stuff on his family rather than being there when he is needed – in the bleachers during ball games, in the audience during a concert, by your child’s side when the homework calls. Don’t allow the stuff to speak louder than your presence. Nothing takes the place of a father who gets involved. N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

Second, the temptation to save our best for the workplace. 

Nobody has an endless supply of emotional energy, creativity, enthusiasm, ideas, humor, leadership drive, and a zest for life. How easy it is for dads to use up all those things at work, leaving virtually nothing for the end of the day. As a result, the wife and kids get only the leftovers. Fathers, our families deserve better! By failing to pace ourselves, and not deliberately saving some of our creative energy for home, we tend to be listless, negative, boring, and predictable around the house. How rare are those unselfish men who think ahead, maintain right priorities, healthy boundaries, and keep their families surprised by joy. Colossians 3:23 tells us that, “whatever we do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”. While we tend to focus on the increase and the reward at work, we must remember that God has blessed us with our families. He wants us to serve Him heartily in the leading of them, and to contribute to the home like with sweeping, dish washing, changing of diapers, or emptying the trash. The man of God does not operate on the same standards as the herd. Our God has blessed us with work, and it is all sacred before Him. Nothing is unimportant; we do well when we serve him by giving our best to the needs of our families. 

Third, the temptation to deliver lectures rather than earn respect by listening and learning

James 1:19 is worth a look, here: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV). When things get out of hand at home, it’s our normal tendency to reverse the order James suggests. First, we get mad. Then, we shout. Last, we listen. When that happens, our families tune us out (I’ve learned that the hard way). Our family members may stop. They may look. But they aren’t listening. They begin to grow roots of bitterness or indignation towards us. It’s a sobering realization, dads, but our home is not an extension of the office, and our wife and children are not employees. Perhaps we get respect where we work, but at home we must earn it the old-fashioned way. We must work for it. We must give it and live it out to receive it from those we love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 tells us to, “be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love”. In love: respectfully learning and listening rather than lashing out in anger or lecturing. When we are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger we show our families that we are not just hearers of God’s word, but doers of the Word. 

A prayer for fathers: 

Father God, please bless all fathers with wisdom and discernment. Your Word tells us that wisdom is a gift greater than gold, and we pray such a gift would be given to all fathers who seek Your will for their lives. Help us grow in learning to know, understand, and discern Your voice and urgings. Assist us in the decisions we make that affect not only our lives but the lives of those You’ve given and surrounded us with. Mature us in our faith so that we may encourage those around us to trust and come to know You more richly. Thank you for being our Father, our creator, our redemption, and for first loving us. Thank you for the gift of our families, and for being there for to help us love them as you do. 

In Jesus’ Name, amen.