The Scriptures speak much about the relationship that exists between a father and his children. This is a heart relationship. Children’s hearts are such a tender thing. As a general rule fathers have their children’s heart when they are little. Gradually over time this relationship of trust can be lost through the actions or inactions of the father. Satan, the world, the flesh are in competition for the heart of every child. How sad it is that subtly over time a heart can be stolen or lost without even a father realizing. Fathers ought to have a goal of keeping their child’s heart.
They ought to help the child protect his heart with all diligence as out of it are the issues of life. The tender, innocent heart must be guarded. Father’s must help their child in this pursuit. Woe be to the father who does not set boundaries to help his child guard his heart. An unguarded heart is one that is soon about to be stolen and lost!
Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
Children love their fathers-they glory in their fathers. Their fathers are their idols. Every little girl would desire to “marry her father.” May it be true that the father is worthy of their glory and respect.
Consider the last verse of the prophet Malachi-looking forward to the coming of John the Baptist. “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” The Gospel makes a change in heart relationships between fathers and children…
- A Heart Turned towards my Children:
John the Baptist came preaching the gospel of repentance. Within his message was a heart message of change for fathers and children. The New Testament pinpoints the father. Luke 1:16-17 “Turn hearts of the fathers to the children.” The tendency of the flesh is to live for self. Fathers who live for themselves have their hearts turned away from their children. The relationship is not what God has intended it to be. Father’s hearts are to be first set upon the Lord, but they are to be set upon love, care, responsibility towards their children.
Solomon loved many strange women, and these wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 1Kings 11:4
The love of the heart will turn the heart towards that love. A Father must guard the love of his heart. Father’s can be guilty of turning away from the privilege and duty of raising their children. Woe to the father who does not care in his heart about his children. As a father, what is my heart set upon? Are my children my priority?
I cannot expect to have my children’s heart, if my heart is not set upon them.
Gospel repentance produces a change in earthy relationships. Turning to the Lord will result in turning towards my children.
Mother’s hearts are generally set upon their children. It is unnatural for a mother to forget her children. Mothers are also very unselfish in their nursing care of their children. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Isaiah 49:15
Fathers however can be callous and harsh towards their children. They can be hard and demanding. Perhaps this is why the warnings in Ephesians and Colossians are leveled towards the father and not the mother.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:21
As a father, I must recognize the tender relationship that I have with my child’s heart. I must not provoke them but rather be in a position to teach them.
What is a good indicator of the position of my heart to my children?
Do I pray for my children?
Do I provide for them?
Do I protect them?
Do I prioritize them?
Do I pastor them?
- A Heart that is Trusted with the hearts of my children Turned toward the Father…
Proverbs 23:24-26 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
To have a child’s heart is a sacred trust.
A friend of mine who was a part of our church in Montana spoke with me after we had left Montana for at least ten years. My father was his pastor. He said that he still missed my father incredibly even though the years had gone by. He said a statement to me which I remember to this day. “David, you know why I still miss your father…Your dad had my heart.” What a powerful statement for any pastor, to have the hearts of his sheep.
In the same way every father needs to have the hearts of his children. Having your child’s heart gives grounds to say whatever needs to be said to your child. When you have their heart, they will listen to you.
A father ought to be in a position to ask for his children’s heart. He must be able to be trusted, respected, and emulated. He must have a desire to possess and protect his child’s heart. In order to get and keep the child’s heart-the father’s life must be an open book. A child learns much if not most from his father by observation.
Hearts are a soft and tender thing in children. They are vulnerable as well. They can be hardened and lost and can be stolen by another or something. They are easily lost to anger, pride, and hypocrisy.
Sadly many father’s expect and demand obedience, which is right, but without the heart of their child, this will produce an inner rebellion.
Lot lost the hearts of his children while Noah must have had his son’s hearts. Lot’s children stayed in Sodom while Noah’s followed him onto the ark.
Consider Dad these questions:
Do my children have my heart?
Do I as a father desire my child’s heart?
Do I as a father have my child’s heart?
Do I as a father protect my child’s heart or leave it unguarded?
Have I as a father lost my child’s heart?
If I have lost my child’s heart, what steps do I need to take to regain?
Does my conversation as a father merit my child’s observation and emulation?