The God-given family is not only the crucible for delivering well-adjusted, responsible, and competent citizens to society, it is the training ground for the next generation's leaders. Now I haven't taken a scientific poll, but from personal experience and observation, I think we're in trouble. I'm not talking about our nation or our secular culture; I'm talking about the church. I'm seeing droves of Christian parents, and especially fathers, roll over in submissive capitulation very much like my daughter's Rat Terrier every time I open the back slider. He loves to have his belly scratched, and since his last owner used to throw balls of wadded chains at him, he automatically goes into "surrender mode" every time he sees an adult male. Sadly this is often the same posture that many Christian fathers assume when they see their own teenage children.
Dads, you're the boss. I'm not even hinting at tyranny or dictatorship here, I'm simply saying that the Lord has established headship for the family, and fathers, we are the head. We are the leaders. The responsibility as well as the privilege for leadership rests with us. And the Lord expects us to use that position and authority to serve our families both materially and spiritually. Like a scout from days gone by, that means looking ahead, seeing the dangers and the risks, and then steering the wagon train toward safe passage. Sometimes that requires tremendous personal sacrifice, sometimes it requires encouragement, and sometimes it demands a firm hand.
I was speaking with one dad a few weeks ago just prior to the Super Bowl. He said that his neighbor whom he really liked had asked him over to watch the big game, and though he wanted to go, he lamented the fact because he wouldn't be able to spend the day with his son. I asked, “Why not." He explained that his 17 year old son didn't care for that neighbor and was never going to agree to go.
Huh? I didn't get it. Your 17 year old son doesn't think your neighbor's cool so he gets to dictate whether or not the family goes? Who pays the bills? Who puts a roof over that young man's head? Who puts clothes on his back and food in the refrigerator? Who is head of the family? It happens with church as well. I'll see parents come to church on Sunday morning while their teenagers sleep in. Once again, I don't get it. Who's in charge? Would you let your kids decide not to go to school on a preferential whim? Why doesn't the same urgency apply to serving the Lord and Christian fellowship?
I love my children. They are treasures to my soul. I would do anything for them, even give my life. I want them to be happy, very happy. But there is a very definite line between their circumstantial happiness and their spiritual edification. God has given me the place of authority to determine where to draw that line. If I can equip and edify them in a way that also increases their happiness, then great, I'll do that. But if there's a conflict between the two - then those ethereal feelings of happiness lose every time. God calls me to do what is best for my children spiritually, to produce godly offspring with a godly heritage. Their temporary amusement cannot ever become the primary factor in my decision making toward them.
Men, our families deserve the leader that God intended for them. Though the kids may indicate otherwise, they really do want us to lead them. They want their dads to stand in the gap and protect them from a world gone crazy, and they want someone who will urge them beyond their own limits toward greatness. Let's lead our families. Let's inspire them to spiritual maturity, encourage them in love, and provide the firm hand that they need. No more rolling over in surrender dads, no one wants to scratch your belly!