Malachi lived in a day and age when society was sick. From priests to people, from marketplace to the home, he saw injustice, selfishness and corruption. He looked forward to the Day of the Lord, a day when things would be set right.
Malachi assumed that a society that is rotten must be restored at its core. “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Mal. 4:6).
Our society is rotten at its core. Our struggles in the state house, the warehouse and the school house all share the same source—things are not right at home. Our families are struggling. We need men to embrace their God-given responsibilities to be Christ-like leaders who love, lead and lay down their lives in sacrificial service. Our role model is Jesus, not Homer Simpson or Phil Dunphy.
I have been reading a chapter of Proverbs almost daily for more than 30 years. From that source of wisdom, I find four “Characteristics of Manhood” that are foundational for fatherhood.
“Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Prov. 25:26)
Our families must know that we stand for certain core convictions like loyalty, honesty, purity and compassion. We need to demonstrate these convictions by the way we live our daily lives. We are called to a consistency of life.
Men must master their own emotions. “Like a city broken into and without walls, so is the man who has no control over his own spirit” (Prov. 25:28).
Fear, discouragement and anger cannot rule our days. In the midst of all the ups and downs of family life, in the face of the drama and the trauma, stand firm. Be steadfast. Understand love as an unconditional commitment, a display of Christ-like stability.
Let me be clear, I am not talking about wealth. Too many men have neglected their families in order to chase after wealth. Financial security comes from diligence in work and discipline in spending.
Fathers, be the responsible party when it comes to money. Handle your finances in a way that honors God and blesses your family.
There is much confusion here. Many think that being the spiritual leader at home requires them to be the most spiritual person at home. Often that is just not the case. Spiritual leadership is, in a word, initiative. Think of Adam in Genesis 3 and do the opposite! Don’t be passive and force your wife and children to initiate. You set the tone in spiritual matters—church attendance, tithing and family prayer time. Set the agenda for the spiritual life of your home.
This Father’s Day, let’s pray for our men to rise up. Let’s pray for them, support them and encourage them as they love, lead and lay down their lives like Jesus.