Dads, Who Is Discipling Our Children?

The question in the title of this post assumes that somebody will disciple our children. Our kids are being discipled every day. Discipleship is about teaching, influencing, and showing someone else how to live as a particular kind of person. As my children get older, they have an increasing number of influences on their lives. Friends, classmates, songs, books, music, media, teachers, relatives, movies, all have a platform in one form or another with my children. Some of these influencers are better than others, but none of them is as vital or persuasive as me. That may sound arrogant, but I think it’s biblical. God has designed and commissioned fathers to lead their households (Eph 5:22–23; 6:1–4). God has entrusted us with the authority to lead our families and disciple our children in the truth. Children look to dad (and mom) for answers to life’s questions, and they typically trust us more than anyone else on earth. What I say to my children as their father carries more weight than what they hear from anyone else outside of the home. God has designed it this way. The cry of “Daddy!” is the deepest instinct of our hearts.

It is no surprise, then, that my children continuously bring their questions to me as their source of authority. “Dad, is your hair made of scales?” “Dad, are there really such things as Jedi and the force?” “Dad, could God drink all of the water in the ocean?” Whatever I say in response comes with more certainty in their minds than what their friends on the playground tell them because “My Dad said so.”

What an immense privilege and opportunity to have the attention and trust of children that will one day grow up to make an impact on the world. But if we as fathers are not grabbing their attention and instructing them in the truth, something or someone else will. There is no neutral ground. Their impressionable hearts will latch on to at least one of the thousands of voices in our world competing for their attention and affection. Among our competitors is our greatest adversary, the devil. Peter tells us he “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Like many predators, he likes to target the smallest and weakest amongst us. And he will use whatever medium necessary to plant his lies in their minds. But even the cosmic powers and rulers and authorities in the heavenly places are no match for a father filled with the Spirit of the living God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Take up the sword of the Spirit to defend your family against the forces of darkness. God has equipped us with everything we need to disciple our children in the truth. Our children will be discipled by someone. So, dads, who is discipling your children?

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