By CRAIG HARRIS
Ephesians 6: 1-4 (NIV): 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" — which is the first commandment with a promise — 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Dads set the spiritual thermostat in the home. There's no way around this. Children look to their fathers to see what is really important. If they see that a father's faith is truly important to him, they will mirror this in their own lives. If a dad's faith doesn't mean that much to him, they will tend to follow his lead.
And it's not what a father says that shows how important his faith is to him, it's what he does. This is one of these instances where actions speak louder than words. Children are watching to see how important their dad's relationship to God is. They are watching to see how much he honors God; how much he fears God; what importance he places on his faith. And if a father says his faith is important to him, but doesn't live like it, they simply won't buy it.
It's a tremendous privilege to have this much impact on our children. God made them to be putty in our hands, ready to be molded into worshippers. God made them to mimic us. Yes it is a privilege, but also a terrible responsibility. When I stand before God, he will ask how I did with HIS children, that he entrusted me with for a short period of time. Everyone ultimately makes up his own mind and chooses his own level of faith, but the stage is set at home and the father is in the lead role.Paul tells fathers not to exasperate our children. This means we don't discourage and frustrate them, but teach them by our own actions to honor God.
Fathers, it's our job to teach them his Word. It's our job to teach them the importance of having genuine faith.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel The Dead Peasants File are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Churches.