Today, I want to speak on this subject, “Four Responsibilities of Fathers and Husbands.”
David Brooks talks about the difference between résumé virtues and eulogy virtues. Résumé virtues are the kind of achievements you list on your résumé, skills that make you more successful. Eulogy virtues are deeper and they are the virtues that people will talk about you at your funeral. Eulogy virtues are the very core of your being – your kindness, your bravery, your faithfulness, and your honesty. Most of us think eulogy virtues are more important than résumé virtues. But for much of our lives, we spend a lot more time thinking about our résumé virtues.
Evidently, this is not a new thing because as far back as the famous philosopher Socrates he complained of the same tendency:
“Could I climb to the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim, ‘Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to who one day you must relinquish it all.’”
I have good news: you can become a better husband and a better father. You can “level up” in your father and husband skills. This isn’t just good news for men – it’s good news for everyone. Because God has determined that the rudder of the family is the husband and father. I do not wish to minimize a women’s role in the family by even one iota. Yet, I want to highlight what is plain in the text of Scripture: husbands and father are the rudder that determine much of the future of the family. Statistics verify that a man is the rudder to the family. Consider the following from a 2016 study:
• If a child accepts Christ first, there is a 3.5% chance of the whole family becoming Christian;
• If a mother accepts Christ first, there is a 17% chance of the whole family becoming followers of Christ;
• If the father accepts Christ first, there is a 93% chance the whole family will follow Christ.
Dads and husbands, you are so vital. Again, the good news is this: you can become a better husband and a better father. Over the next few minutes, I want to help you next your fathering skills and your husbands skills up another level.
Today’s Scripture (page 1162 in your pew Bibles)
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 5:25-6:4).
Again, men you can improve your as husbands and fathers. This is a simple message intellectually but there’s real challenges to do this long-term. If you are single, what I hope you’ll see today is what you should be looking for in your spouse if you get married. You can’t know what qualities to look for if you don't know God’s design in a marriage.
1) Husbands, Love Your Wife
Notice this: there’s a whole lot more written to the husband than to the wife. Notice the first thing the Bible says to husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).
Responsibility #1: The Bible commands you to love your wife. Sometimes this isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
1.1 Wedding Ring
One day a man was riding on the airplane and he noticed the man sitting next to him. He noticed something very unusual and that was his wedding ring was on his right index finger. Somewhat curious, he looked over to the man and he said, “Sir, I believe you have your wedding ring on the wrong finger.” The man said, “No, I don’t; I married the wrong woman.” No doubt this husband was difficult to deal with too. Maybe loving your wife is easier said than done. The first way you can improve on being a husband is simply love your wife. Notice that nowhere does the Bible tell you to love her only if she’s loveable. A man doesn’t love his wife because she deserves to be loved; a man loves his wife in order to turn her into somebody who he wants to love.
1.2 How Do I Love My Wife?
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:25). The Bible gives us a definition of how to love her: as Jesus loved His bride, the church.
Dying for Your Wife
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:25). The logic at the end of verse 25 includes Jesus’ death on the cross for His people. Some redneck men read verse 25 and say to themselves, “I’ll be glad to die for my wife when the times arrives. When someone breaks into our house, I got it.” It’s easier to die for her when an intruder breaks in your home than putting her first day after day and week after week. No, the Bible isn’t calling on husband just to die for their wives if it’s needed. The Bible is calling on you to love your wife like you would love yourself and care for yourself: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28).
Now, you don’t love your wife by putting your wife second. The opposite of love is self-centeredness. And self-centeredness is the quickest and surest way to poison your marriage.
1.3 Gorilla Glue Girl
Did you hear about the Gorilla Glue Girl? I want to be kind here as I have done some things that I am not proud of as well. In the early part of this year, Tessica Brown, a 40 year old woman ran out of hairspray. So she turned to Gorilla Glue spray believing it would do the same thing. In a TikTok video, she later explained that she had washed her hair 15 times but it didn’t move. She goes to an ER but they couldn’t help her with her “forever ponytail,” so she ends up at a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who removed the glue from her “rock hard” hair after a number of weeks of anguish and despair. I apologize for smiling at this but I cannot help it. As if you needed it, the people of Gorilla Glue put out the following statement: “We do not recommend using our products in or on hair as they are considered permanent.”
We’ve all done dumb things like this lady but if you want to do something equally stupid in life: love yourself more than your wife.
Don’t be self-centered. Self-centered marriages are among the most asinine things any of us can do. The opposite of love is self-centeredness. Self-centeredness is the quickest and surest way to poison your marriage. Self-centeredness doesn’t belong in your marriage any more than gorilla glue in your hair!
Perhaps you came from a single parent family and you never knew a father growing up, so you never knew what manhood was supposed to be and how to treat a lady. Maybe you never saw a real marriage up close, and so you’re working at a deficit. Or perhaps you had a male around he just wasn’t a good one so the lessons you learned were bad lessons not good lessons.
Men, let me assist you with a paradigm shift in your thinking: “What’s in you will come out of you no matter who’s with you.” If you love her before and more than you love you, you will improve your husband skills. If you do for her what you want to do for yourself, you would have a better marriage. Give her the attention you give to the office and the job.
1.5 Single People Problems Mask Themselves
Most of our issues we have in marriage are often blamed on our spouse. You sit down with the counselor and he says, “What’s going on?” And he starts by saying, “She always …” and she says, “He always…” This is common thinking when you are experiencing marriage strife. There are no “married people problems.” There are only single people problems that are exposed in marriage.
Your marriage is suffering because you are experiencing single people problems that are exposed due to the radical nature of oneness marriage requires. Marriage can be compared to a 5 ton Mack truck that exposes the problems of the structural integrity of a bridge. You, the single you, is the bridge and your marriage is the 5 ton Mack truck. Yet, by its very nature, marriage will expose your personal structural integrity like nothing else will.
Again, there are no “married people problems.” There are only single people problems that are exposed in marriage. So a marriage doesn’t simply cause you to confront the problem with your spouse, it causes you to confront the problems in yourself.
1.5 Don’t Walk Away
Don’t walk away from your responsibility. Don’t shy away from tough decisions. And don’t stay home during discouraging times. Against the epidemic weakness of many within our culture, manliness speaks of knowing what is right and doing what is right. It is perfectly right to say to our boys, “Don’t you walk away from your responsibilities of being a father.” Men are called to act, to lead and work hard and at the same time, yet you are ultimately dependent on God. One of the biggest things we must get across to aspiring men is this one less: RESIST PASSIVITY. Be a man – don’t be passive.
1.7 Jimmy & Pat
Love your wife daily for decades. Let me give you an example of this. Earlier this week, a woman passed away in the life of our church. She was placed on hospice care on her 50th anniversary. Her husband loved her all the way through to the end. He married this single mother who had been abused by her first husband. He loved her greatly and they taught the Bible together for years alongside one another. Then when she laid dying, no hospice nurse could come to the house. So he cared for all her needs including rigging a way to keep her warm when the power when out.
1.8 Love Her Like You Want to Be Loved
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29).
The purpose behind Christ’s self-sacrifice was to sanctify for himself a people. Some of you are like the man wearing the wedding ring on the right hand. You think all this would be easier if I had a different wife.
A man took his car to Discount Tire because his he had a problem with his tires. The attendant said, “Well, the problem is not with your tires.” He went on to say, “The problem with how it’s wearing is because your car is out of alignment. If you don’t fix the alignment you’ll be wearing on evenly your tires and getting new tires will only give you something else to wear out.” A lot of husbands think, “If I get another woman things will be better.” When the problem is you going wear out the next wife too because you are out of alignment.
Again, men you can improve your as husbands and fathers. This is a simple message intellectually but there’s real challenges to do this long-term.
1) Husbands, Love Your Wife
2) Fathers, Discipline and Instruct Your Children
Remember I began this message talking about résumé virtues and eulogy virtues: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Responsibility #2: Do not provoke your children to anger.
Let me share with you an anti-hero for a moment that highlights this whole thing about eulogy virtues.
2.1 Leslie Ray Charping
Leslie Ray Charping died from complications from cancer in 2017. Going against the norm of saying a few nice words about the deceased, his daughter wrote a brutally honest obituary about her father. Posted to the funeral home’s website in the Galveston area, the page received so much traffic, it crashed the funeral home’s website.
Leslie Ray "Popeye" Charping was born in Galveston, Texas on November 20, 1942 and passed away January 30, 2017, which was 29 years longer than expected and much longer than he deserved. Leslie battled with cancer in his latter years and lost his battle, ultimately due to being the horses [tail] he was known for. He leaves behind 2 relieved children; a son Leslie Roy Charping and daughter, Shiela Smith along with six grandchildren and countless other victims including an ex wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers.
At a young age, Leslie quickly became a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive. Leslie enlisted to serve in the Navy, but not so much in a brave & patriotic way but more as part of a plea deal to escape sentencing on criminal charges. While enlisted, Leslie was the Navy boxing champion and went on to sufficiently embarrass his family and country …
Leslie was surprisingly intelligent, however he lacked ambition and motivation to do anything more than being reckless, wasteful, squandering the family savings and fantasizing about get rich quick schemes. Leslie's hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing… he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick whited sarcasm which was amusing during his sober days.
With Leslie's passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend. No services will be held, there will be no prayers for eternal peace and no apologizes to the family he tortured. Leslie’s remains will be cremated and kept in the barn until "Ray", the family donkey’s wood shavings run out. Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.
2.2 Discipline Your Children
Responsibility #3: Discipline Your Children
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Dad, your children need discipline. They need a strong man who repeats instructions over and over again to ensure they get. They need someone to punish them when they are wrong. This isn’t always spanking. To be an effective parent, you must be creative! You must discipline your children by reinforcing the lessons that don’t want to learn.
I walked into the room for middle school boys during DiscipleNow this past week where a young man was teaching these even younger boys the Bible. There were boys laying down with their eyes closed as the young man was studying. These young men were sitting with their chins on their chest ignoring everything he was saying. Bibles were closed rather than open. I walked up to a number of the young man and asked them to open their Bibles. Middle school boys need discipline. I know this because I was one of these young men at one time!
Fathers, your children need you to engineer circumstances to ensure they are learning life lessons.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).If God doesn’t discipline you, you are not a legitimate child of God.
My father taught me not to backtalk my mother. The bigger lesson is how to interact with people in authority over me. Dads, be sure to discipline your children.
2.3 Daddy Deprivation
“Daddy Deprivation” was coined by Blake Wilson, a Houston pastor, to describe the cultural phenomena where children grow up without their fathers. Daddy issues are widespread throughout socioeconomic and ethnic strata of our culture.
Brent’s father was been missing in most of his growing up years even though he was present. Yes, his father was physically present but emotionally absent. Because Brent never really connected to the heart of his father, he is currently debating whether he is bisexual.
Chris’ mom has 8 children with 3 dads between them. The promiscuity she ignored in her youth caught up with her when she was ready to be responsible. Her children wanted to connect with their fathers as they grew older. Unfortunately, if she was honest, she wasn’t completely clear on the identity of Chris’ dad. She assigned fatherhood to the man that she could remember she was sleeping with at the time, but Chris found himself at a loss because he wasn’t certain who his father really was.
Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes where their fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of 18, more than half of our nation’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their fathers. Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their father. Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father. Dads, we need you.
2.3.3 Our Children Are an Extension of Us
The Bible says that a child can bring his mother shame (Proverbs 29:15b).
Why is that? Because we are extensions of our parents. Their lives are in us. We are extensions of them. And if I live an honorable life, then that honors my parents. But it doesn’t have to be that way: “Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:25). Some sons have put their mothers in an early grave. Some husbands have put their wives in an early grave. Some of you have pinched wrinkles into your daddy’s forehead and put gray hairs in your mother’s head because of the way that you live. But others of you have created laugh lines on their faces!
2.4 Instruct Your Children
Responsibility #4: Instruct Your Children
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
My time is gone but dads, your children need your voice in their lives. Imagine for a moment that your city is surrounded by enemy forces who aimed to destroy your family and you. You become aware that there are enemy sympathizers who are living and working in your city, hoping to undermine your city’s defenses. You do would everything possible to ensure your family doesn’t listen to the lies of their argument.
Fathers, you need to be a voice in your children’s head, the walls of defense for their minds. Teach them to think carefully about consequences, especially moral consequences to their decisions.
God will adopt you as His child today if you place your faith in Christ.