There’s a Roadmap for Dads Everywhere in the Bible

It isn’t hard to conjure up images of a dysfunctional father: failure to provide financial support, absence from the home physically and emotionally, and all forms of physical and substance abuse.

Modern media almost seems to delight in showing us fathers who don’t measure up. We are constantly bombarded by images of either macho men who chase women for conquest or hardened drunks who terrorize the women (and others) around them.

For men seeking to be good fathers, the successful formula is not merely the absence of poor or toxic behavior, but instead is the aggressive pursuit of loving your wife, sacrificing yourself for your family, being undistracted and present, and laying down your life for the gospel of Christ Jesus.

In a culture that undermines the traditional family, minimizes the role of fathers and rejects the marks of the Maker, we must celebrate the fact that dads matter to families just as much as moms matter. We must acknowledge that God designed men and women uniquely to play specific roles in the family unit. When those God-given roles are thwarted, broken or dismissed, weak families and a confused society are the results.

Father’s Day is an excellent time for us to pause and celebrate the godly men in our lives, while also making the case for biblical fatherhood. This view of fatherhood dissents radically against the moral order and depraved images we see all too often depicted in our society. This view of fatherhood rests wholly on the purview of manhood presented in God’s Word.

As my friends Rick Burgess and Andy Blanks wrote in their book “How to Be a Man,”

“Examples of what a real man is can be hard to come by. The big problem is simply that you’re starving for good examples of what a man is. Some of you don’t know exactly where to look for your model. Even the godliest guy you know isn’t a perfect example. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus makes it possible for you to have an identity that is completely found in Himself.”

As men and fathers, we are called to be leaders and particularly the leaders of our homes. God gives crucial instructions to his people in Deuteronomy 6 and specifically gives responsibility to godly men.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

The central, God-given role for fathers is to lead children to know and follow him.

We need fathers who take the explicit instructions of this verse seriously. We need men who love implicitly, lead and show attention to their wives and children. Wives need husbands who love and lead them tenderly and compassionately while valuing their worth and dignity.

Why? Because these men can show the gospel to the culture as they emulate the love of Christ for his church in their own families. Men pursuing these things become heroes to their children not because of personal accomplishment, but because of submission to Christ.

As a husband and a father, it is both my honor and privilege to help my wife flourish in her giftings, to lead her with integrity and honor, to love her with the love of Christ, and to partner with her in pointing our children to God’s Word and godly instruction.

There are six applications of this passage in Deuteronomy that I believe give men a great start in seeking to honor Christ in their families.

First, make uninterrupted family meals a priority. If we are to have an impact, our lives cannot revolve around activities, entertainment and sport. We must prioritize family time.

Gathering regularly for family meals takes planning and sacrifice, but it works. A huge body of research shows a direct relationship between regular family meals and children’s ability to learn and achieve in school. Researchers are only validating what the Bible already tells us; intentional family gathering is extremely important.