As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. -Psalm 103:13 (NIV)

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

As Christians, any discussion of fathers naturally reminds us of our heavenly Father, the Father and Lord of all! And every day of our lives are Father’s Day celebrations of Him.

And for fathers down here, we are to model godliness to our children.

God-fearing fathers have a tough road to walk, in a different way than the tough road traversed by mothers.

(A quick note: As John Gill’s Exposition on the Bible explains, “fear” is better translated as reverence and respect.)

Like many working mothers, working fathers have a morning commute, a long day at work, an evening commute, and then have to magically invigorate themselves to be there for their children when they get home.

Other dads may be stay at home dads, whose work is grueling in a very different way: Keeping up with ever more energetic kids, who want to do more and more with a dad who is only getting older and more tired!

Some fathers, sadly, are not present at all for their children, whether it’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, or all of the above.

All of these fathers have the same responsibility as all parents, and that is to raise their children up in a godly way, which includes word and deed. And while some fathers may sadly not do this, the ones who do are often underappreciated and discounted.

Seven points on fatherly to-dos are gleaned from Deuteronomy 6, and are discussed in detail in a ParentLife article:

  1. Fathers are to initiate action.
  2. Fathers are to teach.
  3. Fathers are to discipline.
  4. Fathers are to communicate.
  5. Fathers are to be available.
  6. Fathers are to be aware.
  7. Fathers are to be involved.

Read the whole article, “Seven Steps for Effective Fathering,” for insight into godly fathering »

As our Father in heaven lovingly adopted and guides us by grace under his wing, we are to do the same with the children He has loaned to us!

God-fearing dads, hats off to you. You may think you fail spectacularly from time to time, as does any parent, but know that you are freely forgiven so you can continue to honor the Lord in your stewardship of the beautiful children He has on loan to you. Even when people don’t recognize your contributions, the Lord sees them, as do your children, and that is what matters. You are making memories they will remember for decades. As a fellow father, I say: Let us strive to love our sons as our Father in heaven loves us. Father on.