Pastor's Pen

Walk Worthy

Pastor Darrell Johns

It was a day of “revelation” when someone told me that I walk just like my Dad. Not only that, I learned that my mannerisms are like his, and that I clear my throat like him. Like father, like son. Then, there was the day when our son, Joel, told me that he caught himself raising his hands in worship like I do. I jokingly said, “By the time you decide you don’t want to be like your Dad, it’s too late.”

Admiration is shown by imitation. It just always works that way. Your children will walk how you walk, and where you walk. For better or worse, the influence of a father is significant. In his sermon in Acts 7, Stephen indicted his rebellious audience for their generations of resistance to the voice of God. “As your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51.) The example of a father makes an indelible impression on his children.

The impact of a father on his children was revealed in a study on church attendance. It found that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5% probability everyone else in the household will follow. If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17% probability everyone else in the household will follow. However, when the father is first to become a Christian, there is a 93% probability everyone else in the household will follow. Fathers have more influence than is credited by our culture.

These enlightening insights should remind fathers that God gave us tremendous influence with our children. The value of a mother in the home is incalculable, but when it comes to the spiritual trajectory of a child, it is the father who has the leading role. As we approach Father’s Day, now is a good time to remind dads that little feet are following us and that our destination is their destiny.

In the Bible, our relationship with Jesus Christ is described as a walk. Christians are to walk worthy of our calling. (See Ephesians 4:1.) We are called to be followers of Jesus Christ. More than thirty verses in the Bible speak of the way we should walk. To summarize, we are to walk uprightly in truth, integrity, the newness of life, honesty, good works, the ways of God, love, and in the Spirit. People of faith in the Bible walked with God in a relationship that pleased Him. Paul taught the Roman Christians to walk in the steps of the faith of our spiritual father, Abraham. (See Romans 4:12.)

Based on the principles of Scripture and the evidence of studies, when fathers walk worthy of their Christian calling, there is a high probability that their children will naturally do the same. Since a father has so much influence, in a practical way, how should fathers walk?

Fathers should be followers of Jesus Christ. This begins by obeying the Gospel as applied by Acts 2:38. The new birth naturally leads to a new life of spiritual disciplines. Obedience to God, prayer, Bible study, fasting, worship, and stewardship of time, talent, and finances are all marks of a disciple. As fathers follow Jesus, their children will, most often, follow them. There is a poem that reminds me of the importance of a father’s example. I trust it moves you as deeply as it always does me.

Just Like His Dad

“Well, what are you going to be my boy, When you have reached manhood’s years; A doctor, a lawyer, or actor great, Moving throngs to laughter and tears?” But he shook his head as he gave reply In a serious way he had: “I don’t think I’d care to be any of them; I want to be like my Dad!”

He wants to be like his Dad! You men, Did you ever think as you pause, That the boy who watches your every move Is building a set of laws? He’s molding a life you’re the model for, And whether it’s good or bad Depends on the kind of example set To the boy who’d be like his Dad.

Would you have him go everywhere you go? Have him do just the things you do? And see everything that your eyes behold, And woo all the things you woo? When you see the worship that shines in the eyes Of your lovable little lad, Could you rest content if he gets his wish And grows up to be like his Dad?

It’s a job that none but yourself can fill; It’s a charge you must answer for; It’s a duty to show him the road to tread ‘Ere he reaches his manhood’s door. It’s a debt you owe for the greatest joy On this old earth to be had; The pleasure of having a boy to raise Who wants to be like his Dad!

-Author Unknown