It is critical to understand that family is God's idea, so it's no wonder it's under attack. Family is the way that God relates to his church and fatherhood is in God’s heart.
The last book written in the Old Testament is Malachi, and the very last verse of that book says "'He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
God as Father Separates Christianity From Other Religions
Back all the way to the Garden of Eden we see God creating and placing Adam and Eve in the garden, telling them to be fruitful and multiply; not only reproducing naturally, but reproducing after their own kind. This involves bearing children that would leave a legacy and we would have an opportunity to impart an inheritance to.
There are religions where there are over a hundred names for the various gods those religions ascribe to. However, in Christianity we see the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of the Bible revealed himself as father. We see Jesus testify that he came to reveal his father and he said if you have seen him, you have seen the father (John 14:9).
So this concept of relating to God as father is critical to our relationship with him, but also our understanding of our responsibility and our calling as men to raise up the next generation.
Who Exactly is Attacking Us?
That all said, fatherhood is under attack. Let’s be really clear though; Scripture says we do not wrestle and fight against people; we wrestle and fight against powers and principalities in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12).
God has an enemy and his name is Satan. We are warned not to be ignorant of his schemes or devices (2 Cor 2:11). We are admonished to walk circumspectly and with awareness at all times. But more specifically we are told not to be ignorant.
This enemy of ours has targeted the family structure, and specifically fathers. He started back in the Garden when he deceived mankind to eat the forbidden fruit.
Our battle is not with man, but with our enemy and his influence over the world and its systems. This is what we're fighting against and this is what is exerting influence against men, families, and fatherhood.
Why Are Men Under Attack?
It is paramount for us to understand that we are created in God's image and his likeness and he wants to have a relationship with us. He initiated this relationship with creation. If we look at the Garden of Eden, it's a picture of a habitat created for man and woman where they can thrive, reproduce, and follow God's program as he expands his dominion within the area God has placed man.
So let's think about this for a minute; if family is God's idea and God is known as father, then we as earthly fathers carry a responsibility because we’re made in God’s image and meant to be like him.
This applies to you whether you're a father right now or you’re a single guy and you plan on having a family at one point; we will be our children's first understanding of what a father figure is.
Fathers are Called to to Protect
As fathers we are called to provide. We are called to nurture, to give direction and instruction, and to love our children, raising them in the right way and yes, to discipline them as well for their own benefit.
We’re to lead them in a way that's prosperous, beneficial and fruitful for everything they will do in their life.
So if you're the enemy and you want to strategically take out the plan of God, where are you going to aim you arrow? Where are you going to fire that attack if you are the enemy of God?
If you can take the father out, you can take out the whole family; if you can take the family out, you can break the understanding of what a child will know as their father.
The Obvious Implications of an Absent Father
Think about the implications of this; if a child does not know their father, that child will have no concept for what a father is supposed to be like. Later in life, when they are introduced to God and to Jesus, they won't have a concept of how a loving father can actually love them and has a plan and a purpose for them.
It will be foreign to them.
So this is critical for us to understand because as fathers, we are walking around with a level of attack against us that originates from another realm. Think about a malevolent being aiming his attack at you and everything you stand for in your role as father, or for my single friends and for my guys that are married and don't have kids yet; you're about to step into something and the enemy is aiming his arrows at you and at me.
This is why divorce rates are high.
This is why men turn to addictions.
This is why they run and hide and they get into substance abuse and all sorts of other things.
It is your responsibility, but there is also a spiritual attack being leveled against men and we need to recognize it, stand up against it and fight against it.
When a father is in right standing with God, storing, providing, protecting, nurturing, loving and admonishing, giving instruction, direction and discipline in his household, we see the plan of God for the family.
It all originates with love.
Fatherhood is love and fathers are the foundation; when you are the foundation, you serve your family, and you serve your children out of a place of loving kindness. That is what we see with God as our father. He's motivated by kindness and affection because he wants us as his family. Even toward those that turn their back on him, even those that run, deny and reject him.
The Implications of a Present But Unhealthy Father
But let's talk about the father who is present but is not fathering in a healthy way. When this happens, at worst it can lead to physical abuse, emotional abuse, and intellectual abuse, causing wounds, hurt, unresolved issues, father wounds, and giving the impartation of no identity. This basically results in creating orphans, creating people that grew up with a man in the house but who was not a real man, but just a male.
He was just a figure who was there but never stepped into his responsibility as father.
This is causing a host of issues throughout all of the present day generation.
Fatherhood is a heavy responsibility that you and I are called to. This is something we were designed for, created for and called to do.
I know how hard it is, as I have three children myself. Every day is different; it's fun, it's full of joy and satisfaction.
At the same time, it is one of the most challenging things I've ever done in my life because it stretches me outside of myself. It makes me die to my own desires, self gratification and my own needs.
And at the same time, it brings me immense joy to put my children first and to serve them!
There's so many things that we are called to do and that we can bring to that relationship, but I wanna focus on just three below.
1. Commit to being present despite your failures
We've all made mistakes; you might have yelled or raised your voice at your kids and caused a wound. You may have done something out of character or that didn't really portray the heart of God in your role of father.
Forgive yourself, and if necessary ask for forgiveness from your children and commit to being there.
We are in this for the long haul. We signed up for something and we're not gonna leave our family and take off, we are committed men; we're committed to following God and His plan and His rules for us in relationship, and also we're committed to our children.
Wherever you find yourself, if you're in a healthy marriage or you're in the home with your kids, be there. If you happen to be in a situation where you're dealing with divorce right now or separation, you can still commit to being there for your kids. You don't have to leave.
If you have shared rights and you have limited opportunities, you can still maximize those opportunities.
2. Be present and intentional
Give your full attention. We live in a day and age where there's so many distractions pulling on us in every direction. We get a call about business or you have this impulse where you have to check your phone because someone's calling you and it's important and you do have to follow up on it, but we need to be present when spending time with our kids.
They see everything.
They're watching everything we do and they can tell by our energy and our attention if we're truly invested in the moment with them or not. So be present and be fully engaged and intentional as a father.
3. Impart Vision
Whether you have it in your life or not, we are called to impart vision. We're called to validate the dreams of our children; we're called to impart and give them a picture of something they can pursue in life that's bigger than them and where they are.
The heart of the father is always to see the children go farther than we did. My dream for my kids is that they would go farther, further and faster than I ever went in life. That is the generational blessing I want for them.
That is my prayer for them, that they would go beyond everything that I've ever accomplished and smash any records I set.
I'm not talking about performance, but anything that I do, I want them to outdo it.
That is the legacy and impact that true fathers are called to leave for their children.
If You're Feeling Isolated and Under Constant Attack, Don't Stay There!
Join our 11-day Unfair Advantage email challenge and gain the tools and knowledge to take control of your life and step into your mission with power.
When you learn to partner with your unfair advantage, you will step into your mission with power. You'll learn how to live dangerously the way God created you to.
If that's you and you're ready, then access your unfair advantage by joining the challenge today!