“It has been said that as goes the family, so goes the world. It can also be said that as goes the father, so goes the family.”– Voddie Baucham
There are two equal realities that are summed up in the above statement: that the way of a father can either ruin or bless a family. And my heart is full of gratitude that the fathers in my life and the father of my children have gone the way of blessing.
We live in a world that is increasingly hostile toward men. With the rise of feminism, we’ve seen a shameful diminishment of strong, bold, faithful masculinity, and it is wreaking havoc in families and our society at large. So more than ever, I believe it’s important to uphold and praise those men who are not catering to the world’s view of manhood, but holding fast to God’s design for them instead.
My dad, husband, and father-in-law are three such men.
Shortly before Mother’s Day I wrote a post highlighting some of the many lessons I’ve learned from my mom and mother-in-law, both of whom have both modeled godly motherhood in a beautiful (and increasingly rare) way. So, I thought it just as fitting to write a post in tribute to the men in my life—my dad, my husband, and my father-in-law—honoring them for the way they have submitted themselves to the Lord’s pattern for godly manhood, particularly in regards to leading their families.
Although each of them have uniquenesses, the things I admire the most about all of them are quite similar to each other. So in order to keep this post from becoming very long (believe me, I could write pages and pages about these men), I’ll highlight these overlapping qualities that most stand out.
1. Ready Obedience to Christ
Each of these men have displayed again and again that they are willing to obey Christ in whatever ways He calls them to. This starts with what is revealed in Scripture, and has expanded into every “subjective” sphere of their lives.
Both fathers have been willing to leave successful businesses and comfortable lives, pack up their families, and move across the world for the sake of the Gospel (without which, I might add, Judah and I wouldn’t have met). They’ve gone against the cultural tide again and again, being willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world (and even other Christians at times) to obey what God is asking of them. When He’s said, “Go,” they’ve said, “Yes, Lord.”
I’ve seen my husband embrace this same mentality. He turned down the possibility of a successful career in the media industry to follow God’s leading, which included getting married young, starting a family, attending discipleship training school, becoming a bi-vocational pastor, and many things besides that have been far less “glamorous.”
All three of these men’s lives reflect the blessing (and I’m not referring to material things) of following Christ even when it’s meant hardship or criticism.
2. Unwavering stance on truth
All of these men are unafraid to hold fast to the truth of God’s Word even when it’s unpopular or frowned upon. And, they aren’t afraid to hold others to this standard either. Both Judah and I grew up hearing and witnessing biblical truth day-in and day-out from our dads. We experienced fatherhood that faithfully trained their children in that truth, even when we didn’t see it or like it at the time. And now we are reaping the fruit of that faithfulness as the Lord has brought us into our adult years with children of our own.
Judah has picked up this mantle and stands for truth in our home and in every sphere he is involved in. He does so with humility and boldness both with his family and others. He is continually submitting himself to learning and upholding the Bible, and I’ve watched him be continually transformed more and more into the image of His Savior in the decade we’ve been together.
3. Christ-Like Leadership
There is a huge push-back in the world (and in some places in the church) against the leadership of men, in large part due to the many men who have abused their positions of authority. However, with Judah and our fathers I’ve seen exactly the opposite. They have not forsaken the call on their lives to sacrificially love and lead their families even when the world might label them negatively because of it. They’ve also been given positions of leadership in other realms that they have carried out in the fear of the Lord with humility and teachability. They’ve displayed the kind of leadership that is so desperately needed in our day-and-age.
They are so submitted to Christ that rather than seeing their authority make them power-hungry or overbearing, they’ve only grown more servant-hearted over time. It’s not hard to submit to a father who lays down his time, energy, and rights to love and serve his family.
4. full of fun
These men, who exemplify godly masculinity in incredible ways, are also characterized by joy. They are full of fun, and people are naturally drawn to them because of it.
This humor of theirs is also wholesome; It’s not full of crudeness or impurity, but is able to be entered into by anyone of any age because it’s not dishonoring to the Lord or others. My dad is the king of lighthearted mischief, and I’ve had my kids rolling on the floor with stories I’ve told them of his antics when I was a child.
Maybe I’m biased (and yes, my funny bone can be easily tickled), but I’m convinced I’m related to three of the most entertaining and jovial men in the world.
5. marked by love
Although these men are staunch truth-holders, they are also abundant in their love for others.
My dad is the best gift-giver I’ve ever known, and I don’t just say that because I’m related to him; others have told me this, too. He’s also amazing at pointing out and praising the giftings of others. I’ve always known I have an advocate in my dad, and I’ve never questioned whether he was proud of or thankful for me.
My father-in-law is always thinking about how he can serve others. When they’ve stayed with us I’ve often been surprised by a fresh bouquet of flowers, and he’s always filling the pantry with yummy treats. He loves making experiences special, and isn’t afraid to splurge when it means showing love to those around him. His treasure truly is in heaven.
Judah loves by figuring out how he can make the lives of those around him easier. Sometimes this means quality time, other times it means serving, and sometimes it means giving some fun or helpful gadget. He’s also amazing at showing people—including his children—that he enjoys their presence.
Each of these men are admired and respected by many outside their families, but I can tell you as someone on the “inside” that they truly are marked by honor, integrity, humility, and love. While others may despair because of the amount of hypocrisy within the church, I’ve seen the reality that God is still raising up men to follow His ways. I see men who repent of sin, are continually learning, and are faithful in the small and big things. They are men who fix their eyes on Jesus, not clinging to the things of earth.
Is godly fatherhood still possible? By God’s grace, yes, it is.
Thank you Dad, Dad Cofer, and Judah, for being such men.