When I was growing up, I did a pretty good job of staying out of trouble.
A big reason I stayed out of trouble was because of my father.
I didn’t do a lot of the bad things other kids did because of my Father, not because I feared his punishment so much as I didn’t want to disappoint him.
That same thought process has carried through to my adult life and my relationship with God. There are a lot of things I do, and a lot of things I don’t do, because I don’t want to disappoint God, and I think that is as it should be.
I was just reading this last week in Hebrews, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” (Heb. 10:38). That God would otherwise be displeased with us should motivate us to act in obedience to Him. That’s not “performance-based acceptance” or a works mentality; it is what you do for someone you love.
I was fortunate. I had and have a great father. He was present, firm and loving. Most people are not so lucky, and it often affects their ability to relate God. It is quite common for children of divorced parents, or who grow up without a father, to have difficulty trusting God or to know how to relate to Him.
Fathers are supposed to be earthly examples of the character and love of God in the lives of their children. It should be no surprise then that when men divorce their wives and move out that their kids will end up having trust issues. Why shouldn’t they? One of the two most important persons in their life walked out on them at the time in their life when they were most impressionable and vulnerable.
I say all this to say that if you are a father, you are responsible not only for providing for your children but preparing the soil of their heart for the seed of the Gospel. As Jesus made clear in the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:1-9), it is not the quality of the seed that determines how one responds to God but the quality of the soil. And it is the job of fathers to ensure that soil is rich and moist, not hard and rocky. GS