The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance What Children can learn from their fathers – a Biblical Foundation
June 21, 2014
By Ed Croteau
Proverbs 17:6 “The glory of children is their father.”
Pastor Phil Hopper of Abundant Life Church in Lees Summit explains three essential pillars in a child’s character, that every child needs from their father, as they into adulthood: 1) a biblical belief system, 2) a biblical values system, and 3) a biblical vision and life mission. If you are a Christian father raising children, these pillars are not just good ideas any longer in American culture – they are absolute essentials because every day your children are being assaulted by a secular culture that promotes the exact opposite.
The first pillar, a biblical belief system, is what this article ‘The Evidence of Faith’s Substance’ is all about. We’ve spent almost two years now going over many detailed evidences for the truth of the Christian faith. And these truths must be passed on to our children, so their belief system is more than what they have been told – they can articulate why they have chosen to belief it.
As Dr. Frank Turek explained in his book ‘I Don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist’, "We give evidence for Christianity because we ought to live our lives based on truth. Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. We believe that the unexamined faith is not worth believing. Since God is reasonable (Isaiah 1:18), and wants us to use our reason, Christians don't get brownie points for being stupid. In fact, using reason is part of the greatest commandment which, according to Jesus, is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND" (Matthew 22:37)."
But I want to focus this week on Pastor Hopper’s second pillar: having a biblical value system. What set of values are you as a father passing down to your children, so they live out their lives in a way that pleases the Lord?
As we’ve said many times in these articles, it is the character of a man or woman, not their deeds, that defines who they really are and will, in the end, bring glory to not only their earthly father but their heavenly Father. Here is a simple 5-point system, each point representing one of the 5 points of a star, that leads a child in a path that pleases God.
Point #1 – Fearing God. Proverbs 1:7 (‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction’). It is impossible for a child who does not have a healthy fear of the God of the Bible to even begin to grow in knowing Him. This is the starting point.
Point #2 – Faith in God. Proverbs 3:5-6 (‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths’). The channel that opens a child’s understanding of how to live life abundantly is first to fear the God who made them, and then to put their trust in Him. He promises to direct their path in life if they are willing to follow.
Point #3 – Fortified Heart. Proverbs 4:23 (‘Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of life’). What my children choose to let into their hearts will determine how they view the world. We all may see physically with our eyes, but the truth is we see and interpret the world through our eyes.
Whatever worldview our children embrace determines their future. They are assaulted daily by a secular, godless media. If fathers do not nurture a biblical worldview in their children, who do you think will win their hearts?
Point #4 – Faultless Name. Proverbs 22:1 (‘A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches’). The word here for ‘name’ in the Hebrew is character. How many of our children would agree with this wisdom? God emphasizes the riches of a character grounded in Him. The idea of a good name means how others around you would speak of you when your name is brought up. This is a lifelong process, that is dependent on points 1,2 and 3 being planted in your child’s heart: a fear of God, a strong faith in God, and a heart for God that they are diligent to guard.
Point #5 – Fruitful Walk. Proverbs 21:3 (‘To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice’). Now comes the demonstration of an inward heart that has chosen to walk in the way of Jesus Christ. God emphasizes He does not put my works (‘sacrifice’) above my heart condition. What He accepts from me, and what He will accept from my children, is my heart attitude toward Him.
As a father, are you raising up your children to be God-fearing, God-loving, God-dependent adults? If you do, they will carry this legacy one day into eternity and hear the words of Jesus Christ: “Well done, good and faithful servant”
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.