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
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!