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Life Worth Living ~ Father's Day

In the counseling (discipleship) ministry the Lord has calledme to named "Life Worth Living" I have to be alert to a very important word—“father.” The “Disciple’s Prayer” found in Matthew 6:9-13 opens with “Our Father.” One of the most important aspects of discipleship is helping the disciple to understand the wealth of blessing found in the believer’s relationship with God as their Father. Tragically, the word “father” for many people brings up little to nothing of the idea of blessing. It, as a matter of fact, brings up just the opposite—more of a “curse” than a blessing. Even as I write we may be assured that somewhere around the planet, in our nation, in our town, in our neighborhood, on our street a child is the object of abuse by their father. A child is being yelled at, called names, pushed or slapped, locked in a room or closet, or made the plaything of perversion. Then there are other forms of abuse. They are being pressured to achieve perfection in their grades or a sport they don’t even like. Or perhaps they’re at the other end of the spectrum—their dad couldn’t care less about what’s going in their lives. He never attends their activities, recognizes their accomplishments or shows them affection and acceptance. If you talk about God as “father” to some of these precious souls it’s very possible they will cringe or be repulsed or angry or paralyzed with fear. What does this say about our role as Christian dads? Let me say up front that no man is going to get it right all the time—this dad sure didn’t. Dads have dads too and back it goes through many generations. To have an expectation of “getting it right all the time just sets dad up for a sense of frustration or failure on his own part. But what about “most of the time?” I believe that not only in parenting but in every aspect of our lives knowing and understanding what it means that “Christ is in us” and we are “in Christ” (Galatians 2:20) makes the difference. So much so that as new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) Christ is our life and this will result in Jesus’ strength through the Holy Spirit enabling us to get it right more and more of the time until it is right most of the time. Can you imagine what it difference it would make in the lives of children if they grew up in a home where dad was loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful and gentle (Galatians 5:22-23)? When such people learn about God as Father their eyes light up and they are excited about having a close relationship with God as their heavenly father. Now, knowing how Satan tries to work in my own walk, many dads when they come to the above statements will immediately feel like an inadequate failure. Such dads could use some counseling (discipleship) themselves. Because everything we need to “walk the walk” as dads who reflect the image of God was given to us the day we accepted Christ as Savior. We can stop trying to become “most of the time dads” and starting learning to be who we already are. Read Galatians 5:22-23 with more of the context: “20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me….“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Take heart! Our flesh (that part of us susceptible to misbehavior) has been crucified and we have been given the identity (Christ) and power (Holy Spirit) to “keep in step with the Spirit.” There is obviously much more to be said but let’s close with this: use and enjoy your platform as “dad” to give your children a demonstration of the image of God. When you are feeling opposite to the “fruit of the Spirit” ask your “Father in heaven” to confront the Evil One with the fact that “it is no longer you (your old person) who lives but Christ (your new life) who lives in you” and your defeated foe will have to retreat. Then count yourself alive to what is already yours—the wonderful attributes listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Be a man, be a warrior, be a dad!

- Dr. David Grubbs (Doc)

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