It happened to me one summer. My wife and I scheduled the kids to play baseball and attend several activities at the county park. I raced home from work each day to grab a quick bite of dinner, then hustle everyone into the car and off to the ball field. Afterward, we raced back home to plunk the kids into bed so they’d be ready for the next day . . . at least physically.
As the weeks wore on, I realized I had dropped the ball. I had allowed an activity-driven lifestyle to crowd out the most important training—the nourishment of my children’s souls.
The Bible stresses a father’s duty to train up his children consistently in God’s truth, despite all the busyness of daily life (Deuteronomy 6:6–9). Fortunately, if we have failed, we can repent and move forward (1 John 1:8–9), trusting that God will empower us to be more diligent in the future.
I am responsible to train my children to be more like Jesus. Every waking moment I have to be intent on “
bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). I have to plan to meditate regularly on Christ’s example of humble obedience (Philippians 2), so when I arrive at home I can act like Jesus toward my wife and children. I also have to make specific plans for my wife and me to lead our children through Scripture memory and Bible study during the summer. That may include setting aside a specific time each day. Even on vacation I should set apart time to read God’s Word with my family.
As descendants of Adam, we are naturally lazy. When Adam shirked his responsibility to protect his wife from sinful influences, God cursed the ground, making his work harder. Fatherhood is especially difficult. Our sin nature kicks into gear as we drive home from work, longing to fall into the easy chair. When we trip over a toy or see the kids fighting, our natural reaction is not “How can I train these children to be more like Jesus?”
When I am tempted to be lazy or quit, I must remember that though the first Adam’s sin brought chaos into our world, the Last Adam lived a life of perfect obedience in my place. He died on a Cross and was raised to life so my failures could be forgiven and I could point my children to Him.
I can live intentionally in light of this gospel truth. After all, I was “
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). It’s my responsibility to lead my family in that walk!