Be An Example
Today is Father’s Day, so congratulations to all dads.
Fathers have many responsibilities, and perhaps one of the most important of them is to set a good example for their children.
We’ve probably all heard the old expression, “More is caught and is taught.” If a father is a bad example of what a Christian should be, then the children’s understanding of the Christian faith will be wrong. If the father sets a good example, then it’s likely—although not guaranteed—that the children will desire to follow the faith of their father.
In the NT, we find many exhortations for us to follow the faith of our leaders. Here are a few examples:
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
1Th 1:6-7 you became followers of us and of the Lord… you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
2Th 3:9 [we] make ourselves an example … you should follow us.
Heb 6:12 imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
1Pe 5:3 [be] examples to the flock
These and other passages show us how important it is to be a good example for others to follow.
Perhaps there is no more important relationship in which to set a good example than fatherhood. Children need a good example to follow, and fathers have an enormous influence over their children. Setting a good example is important for both parents, but it’s particularly important for fathers. As the leaders of their households, fathers naturally set the example in many things for their children. So it’s critically important that fathers strive to the best of their ability to set a good example for their children. We want to be able to say to our children, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Timothy was a young pastor, and it seems as if some of the older people in his church were not taking him seriously. They were not following his leadership. Paul advises him to lead the church by setting an example for them, and then he lists various categories of life in which he should set an example.
This passage originally pertained to a pastor setting an example for his church, but I think we can apply the same principles to a father setting an example for his children. Like a pastor should strive to set an example for his church, so a father should strive to set a good example for his children.