In the early hours of 6th December 2007, I received a call: “come back to the hospital now, the baby is on the way”. Adrenaline pumped through my veins. This was it. The big moment. The baby was coming. There was excitement as our daughter made her debut. Strangely, even the midwife spoke scriptures to my wife—how reassuring to meet God in the delivery room.
As I fumbled to strap in the car-seat so that we could take baby home, it struck me that we were being given a human being. No forms to fill. No security checks. Nothing. A living, breathing little person was being trusted to us. I find it so odd that a licence is needed to drive. That a passport is needed to travel. A police check to be a teacher. But nothing to be a parent.
We were on our own.
Or so I thought. But thankfully the Father of fathers left instructions for dads in His Word. Here is 10 things I’ve learned in His Word, through my walk with God, and by watching others, about what being a good daddy means.
1. Godly daddies love God
Godly daddies love God. By love, I mean L-O-V-E. In a visible, palpable, undeniable kind of way. Godly daddies show their kids what it means to love God by example: worshiping around the house, rushing to church, studying His Word. This motivates the Godly daddy’s kids to love and serve God for themselves.
2. Godly dads are prayerful men
To be prayerful means to live a life FULL of prayer. I have not met anyone more prayerful than my father-in-law. He puts me to shame and motivates me at the same time. Men are commanded to “pray every where, lifting up holy hands” (1 Timothy 2:8). That means at our bedside and on the roadside. We should all aim to spend more time on our knees. Nothing makes me happier than when my kids stumble in on my time in prayer, and then quietly creep out the room. I may not respond to them, but in my heart is joy that they have once again seen what it means to be a praying man. It is vital that our kids learn that God isn’t only available on Sunday’s between 10-2pm.
3. Godly daddies adore their wives
Godly men are called to: “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25). That is a powerful command. It goes beyond the gooey eyed kind of love; it is a sacrificial love. Godly men, we are commanded to give our wife our coat if she is cold. To be willing to give her our last piece of chicken. To take decisions that may be to our detriment in order to demonstrate love for her. In the same way that Christ willingly laid down His life for the Church. It is also really important for kids to see us loving our wives. Let the kids see you give her a hug, a kiss (on the cheek!) or some other display of affection. What kids see is what they will be.
We have had too many who say they never saw a Godly daddy. Now it’s our time to break the mould or continue in the good old way that was shown to us. After all, “he that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28)—so essentially, anyone who doesn’t love their wife really has their own deep-seated personal issues to deal with. But we will save that for another article.
4. Godly daddies invest in their kids
As fathers, the most valuable investment we can make in our kids is to spend quality time with them (e.g. praying with the kids before bed, reading to them, training them in the scriptures, etc). Just as God wants to talk with us as His children. We have to be available to spend time with our children. I have to admit that in the 24/7, always-on, culture and with pressures of work and the mobile phone pinging non-stop, that can be a challenge. But it’s always so rewarding to spend time with my kids.
Being a Godly daddy also means thinking of our kid’s future. Giving them books and experiences that will furnish their minds with knowledge, taking them to a museum, to the zoo and so forth. To invest in our kids is also to save for their financial future, to have a life insurance plan in place should we die, to make a clear will, and so on. The Godly man does not just invest in his kids, but he makes plans for his children’s children: “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…” (Proverbs 13:22).
5. Godly daddies know their kids
Godly daddies know their kids. They can see themselves in their kids and see how their kids are different to them and to each other. Such a deep knowledge is important, as it means the Godly daddy can see ahead and steer their kids out of harm’s way. Or instinctively know when they might be up to no good—the Godly daddy is not afraid to check their child’s smartphone for example. And they are able to read when their child may not be saying something but need extra support. However, as Godly daddies we know that sometimes our children need to talk to mommy, or someone other than us (and that’s okay).
6. Godly daddies discipline their kids
None of us are wiser than Solomon and he said: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Proverbs 23:13). The key here is to discipline our kids, not brutalise them. I have found it is more powerful to switch off Netflix or take away Lego than to smack.
The Godly daddy helps their child know that wrongdoing comes with a penalty, and in doing so “…shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:14).
7. Godly daddies protect their families
The Godly daddy protects their family. This can be the mundane tasks like making sure the house doors are locked at night. It can be making sure the family are not exposed to people who we know are not good. It can be setting parental controls on the telly. It means investing in financial products to protect their family’s wellbeing: life insurance, health insurance, etc. However, the Godly daddy can also chase a devil out of the house. To truly be a Godly daddy means one has to possess a level of spiritual discernment. If you lack this, ask God who gives liberally and will not see you do without any good thing. A Godly daddy is a spiritual watchman.
8. Godly daddies provide for their families
This goes without saying, the Bible said if a daddy does not do this, he’s worse than an infidel. The first thing God did for Adam was to give him a job. The job (gardener) and the home (Garden of Eden) came before Eve, Cain, Abel, and Seth arrived on the scene. If we cannot provide, we are not qualified to be daddies. This does not mean there may be blips, or moments when we cannot work, or may have accidents or disabilities that severely limit us. But the ‘norm’ is that fathers provide for their families.
9. Godly daddies lead from the front
The Godly daddy is not a coward. One of the most embarrassing scenes in the bible is when Jacob sent his wives and children in front en-route to meet Esau, fearfully staying at the back. The Godly man, like a shepherd leads his flock from the front. Notice, a shepherd leads sheep, he does not drive them from behind. Similarly, Godly daddies are to lead by example, from the front and let his family know what a leader looks like. This is the biblical worldview, which I am aware may be at odds with the current societal view.
10. Godly daddies are humble daddies
It’s true that when a woman seeks a man she is looking for Mr Right, yet what a disappointment it is when women find out his first name is Always. None of us are ‘Always Right’ and the Godly daddy can admit when he’s wrong. A Godly man is strong enough to say sorry to his wife or his children when needed. After all, God resist the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
Happy Father’s Day to every man striving to be a Godly Daddy!
Nicholas Myers is an Assistant Pastor at The Well (BUCJC) and Bible Teacher at Bethel School of Biblical Studies. He loves reading, BBQs and slow Saturdays. He is married to his best friend and fellow-minister, Deborah Myers. And, Godly daddy to two children: Abi & Zac.