“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).
Exceptional fathers do what other fathers refuse to do. Extraordinary fathers do regularly what others do only occasionally. They discipline their children, protect their children, train their children, teach their children, and put forth incredible effort in raising their children in the ways of God. But they realize that apart from God’s direct intervention, their labor is in vain. They work like it is all up to them, but pray like it is all up to God. They know the Lord must build the house.
The same God who instructs fathers to actively participate in the rearing of children also requires us to live lives of faith and dependence. Too many bought into the notion that successful childrearing was guaranteed if parents merely taught the correct principles. Scores of parents believed that isolating their children from other sinners ensured they would be saved from the dangers of negative peer pressure.
Yet we have witnessed large numbers of well-taught young people who walked away from the faith. The “world” from which many sought to shield their children from is not only resident in others, but in all of us, including our children. The extraordinary father realizes the Lord must “build the house.” He is not negligent in his parental duties, but he is perceptive enough to know that God’s presence is just as important as His principles. He understands that parenting is more than cause and effect—it calls for active cooperation with God at the living level of daily life. He acknowledges that the Lord must “build” the house.
The discerning father cries out to God for guidance. He is so aware of his need for God that he beckons frequently for divine assistance. The man who is aware of his weakness is forced to call on God for deliverance. The father who grasps his ignorance calls on the Lord for wisdom. The man who senses the gravity of his shepherding responsibility for his family will become desperate at times. And this desperation finds expression in exclamatory prayer. He latches hold on this verse with all his might, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It is the “throne of grace” where mercy and help are found, and the discerning man cries out for divine direction.
The listening father is responsive to God’s directives. He is sensitive enough to hear God ’s voice, and tenacious enough to implement divine instructions. When our children were small we lived in a subdivision. It became apparent to me that our neighborhood was in reality an extension of Sodom and Gomorrah. My wife and I made the decision to move to the country to shield our children from avoidable negative influences.
As you walk with God, you will develop the ability to recognize His speaking voice. When He speaks, you must act on every charge that God places before you. God’s directives are tailormade—they vary from person to person. So this is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. God speaks with specificity to all His own. When God speaks, you not only listen; you should also act.
The Spirit-filled father brings God into his family environment. He is a conduit from heaven into his home. A sanctified atmosphere yields a prolific impact on family members. What you are is more important than what you say. Your attitudes, responses, and initiatives are vital. When a man is animated with the life of God within him, he carries an unseen influence which is powerful. The life of faith is not as some portray—freedom from pressure and temptation. A faith-filled father is not flawless, but he trusts God enough to repent when he fails. He has learned to walk the Calvary Road. He knows when he misses the mark, and makes a beeline back to the Cross for cleansing. Walking in the Spirit enables a man to live above the lusts of his flesh (Galatians 5:16). This vital reality of interaction with God brings a freshness and reality into his home. Scripture teaches that a family can be sanctified through one holy parent (see 1 Corinthians 7:14).
While you are laboring with your obligations, you must deliberately trust God to build your house. God’s grace does not eliminate your responsibility. Your efforts are necessary, but they are insufficient apart from the Lord’s involvement.
To Think and Pray About…
- Being an extraordinary father is not possible by human effort alone; thanks be to God that we can labor with Him in this!
- “Lord, may I recognize Your voice guiding me in the Bible.”
- Think of three ways you could bring a sense of God’s presence into your home.
This chapter was written by Evangelist Harold Vaughan.
Taken from The Extraordinary Father. CLICK HERE for more information.