You may have begotten children but have you become a father? Are you walking worthy of God’s calling of kingdom and glory? Let me ask you, is your home an armoury?
An armoury has a single purpose: to equip soldiers for battle. Swords are sharpened, strategies discussed and wisdom passed down from war veterans to the noobs. Would this be a fair description of your household? Are you training your children to put on the full armour of God, preparing them for the trials of the Christian life?
“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” - Acts 14:22 (NKJV)
I am now going to put forward some pretty challenging rhetorical questions. Reflect on the answers and pray afterwards. Iron sharpens iron, and God uses challenges to draw out impurities that we may become useful objects in his service and be conformed into the image of Christ. Let the Refiner’s fire purge thee!
The Responsibility of a Father
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord...” - Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)
A simple question: are you doing this? Notice how this responsibility is not placed on pastors, youth workers or Sunday school teachers. You the father are the principle trainer of your children in the Scriptures. In fact, one of the reasons the church even exists is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, not to replace you in the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).
To “bring them up” implies longevity. This is discipleship from infancy through to and beyond adulthood. Not a “they go to this weekly Christian Club” or “I sent them to that discipleship camp” or “we do church on Sundays”.
Paul reiterates this concept to Timothy reminding him of how he has been assured of the Gospel since childhood:
“…But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” - 2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)
Notice how Paul commends Timothy for his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures from childhood. Not moral messages, nice stories or motivational talks. This text also states that children can possess wisdom and obtain salvation.
Can you or your children answer the following objections to Christianity of this age?
- Why does a good God allow evil in the world?
- Why should I put my faith in Christianity when there are so many other religions?
- Hasn’t the Bible been corrupted in its translation over the years?
- What about biblical contradictions?
- Doesn’t science disprove the Bible?
- How can you be a Christian when religion only starts wars?
- If God is love why does God condemn homosexuality?
- How did Noah get all the animals on the ark?
- If God created Adam and Eve, only two people to start with, where did all the people come from?
If this is not brought up in the home it will be brought up in the playground, web search and future workplace. Don’t send your children out ill-equipped and unprepared. Focus your teaching on the attributes of God and the Gospel’s roots in real history. These are the overarching issues of all Biblical objections. Be responsible, make your home an Armoury.
The Role of a Father
“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” -1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NKJV)
Paul was an example of godliness to the saints in Thessalonica. Do the words devout, just and blameless describe your behaviour in the home? Can your children look at you and think “I want to be like Dad when I grow up, because he’s like Jesus”?
- Devout – Are you regularly in the word of God? Do you lead prayers? Do you set time aside to open God’s Word with your wife and children? Are you meek and demonstrate an attitude of contrition? Would your children call you devout?
- Just – Are you consistent when you discipline your children, correcting them appropriately and exalting mercy when they do wrong? Would your children call you just and fair in your dealings with them?
- Blameless – Do you set the example of godly character? Are you concerned about what you put before your eyes? Have you cut off your hand and plucked out your eye in order to have an unspoiled conscience and pure heart before your King? Can your children call you blameless? Or do you tolerate the presence of “respectable” or hidden sins?
Do you exhort, comfort and charge your children to walk worthy before God as you do? It must be by example, modelled by you. Remember your failings before God, this will aid you in showing your children mercy when they disobey. Always exalt mercy over judgment (James 2:13).
More importantly, do you disciple your wife? Is your goal to wash her with the Word and present her blameless to her Father in heaven? (Ephesians 5:25-27) Is she your helpmeet in modelling godly character and submission of authority to your children? (1 Timothy 2:11-14) Or has she had to pick up your slack?
Just as an Armoury has a chain of command, so must your home. Understanding Biblical roles in marriage and in the home is key to making your home an Armoury.
The Time of a Father
How much time do you spend reading your Bible as a family? It takes 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible throughout loud (at pulpit rate).
- Visit the website tiii.me with your children.
- Ask them what T.V shows they have watched
- Divide the time by 70 hours and 40 minutes to work out how many times they could have read their Bibles.
The goal of Bible reading is obviously not to just get through the Bible but to study and know how to apply its truth. However, this exercise should make you evaluate the most precious commodity God has given us: time. Steward the precious and fleeting time you have with your children whilst they are under your care.
So when and for how long should you be doing this? Short answer: all the time!
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (KNJV)
We have a tendency to compartmentalise education- it’s something you do for a few hours a day and then stop. Education is a lifelong pursuit. The pursuit of understanding the Scriptures is a sign of wisdom. Pray and nurture this pursuit into your children. Do it all the time, when you are washing dishes (Matthew 23:26), when you are gardening (Matthew 3:10), when you are relaxing (Mark 2:27).
If you do anything long enough you will become decent at it. Prayerfully abide in the Scriptures as a tree does by pure water (Psalm 1) and your home will become an Armoury.
The Impact of a Father
It’s amazing that when I was 8 years old I could tell you so much about Pokémon. I knew all 150 characters, their wacky names and strengths and weaknesses, I knew the characters in the TV show and how they related to each other. I knew how to play the complicated card game and even finished the video games. This was without any adult assistance.
Children can learn, process and execute vast amounts of information. The problem is not with complicated doctrine in the Bible. In other words, what we are teaching is not the issue. It is the method that you need to address. How are you teaching the Bible? This makes all the difference.
Teaching who God is (His attributes) and what He does (the Gospel) must extensively be understood by your children.
As a father you will have the single greatest impact on your child than any other human will. How are you going to teach the Bible in a way that will engage their attention, demand their response and reward the application and memorisation of what you are teaching them? How are you going to impact them?
The Armoury Bible Game was developed for this very purpose- to give you, the father, a tool to work with to dynamically teach your children the Christian Scriptures. By playing the game your children will walk away from a 1-2 hour Bible study wanting to play it again next week. They will have learned doctrine and Scripture without realising it and be motivated by your quests to continue learning outside of the game.
The goal of parenting is to train a child up so one day they can leave you and start their own family that does likewise. Will your home Armoury leave a legacy?
The Limits of a Father
You can lead a child to Jesus, but you can’t make them Christian. You are not God. It is His will that will be done with the children God has entrusted to you, not yours. Let this fact assure you that even when you fail God will not.
Remember your utter dependence upon Christ, lest you become self-sufficient, prideful and fall.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” – John 15:5 (NKJV)
Through tireless efforts, pleading, weeping and prayer, entrust your soul and the souls of your children to your faithful Creator, otherwise the Armoury you are building will be in vain.
The Joy of a Father
“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.” - Proverbs 23:24 (NKJV)
There is a joy in parenting that is counter-intuitive. Having a child means you have greater demands placed on you, less disposable income, less time, more noise, less sleep, things get broken, etc. Yet despite all these things there is immense joy in raising a child in the knowledge of the Bible.
God uses fatherhood to force us to be selfless. To be made more like Jesus is the foundation of joy and denying yourself and serving others- though difficult- always produces joy. There is great joy in being a father. We want to communicate this to our children so they will desire to raise godly children of their own one day.
To Do List
“A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul” -Proverbs 13:19 (NKJV)
I find if I don’t write something down it doesn’t get done. Having a clear set of objectives will aid you in accomplishing the tasks ahead of you; making your home an Armoury. I hope by reading through this you have come to a greater understanding of the duty of a father. Consider the following and let me know if you have any other suggestions in the comments below:
- Reflect on what has been stated here and examine yourself.
- Establish a regular habit of Bible reading as a family.
- Pray and sing songs of praise together.
- Emphasise the Attributes of God.
- Emphasise the Bible as a book of accurate history.
- Provide answers to biblical objections (apologetics).
- Above all make sure your children have a firm understanding of the Gospel.