A Child’s First Image of God

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Be sure that you are attentive to the words of the heavenly Father. Then your children will rise up and call you blessed.

Ephesians 5:1-2

A child’s first image of God is his earthly father. We Christians spend a lot of time discussing ways to protect or improve our witness. We need to live our faith in front of coworkers and friends, but in the privacy of our home, we want our family to see Jesus in us, as well. If we show forgiveness, patience, and acceptance, then our children will expect to find those traits in the Lord.

Similarly, negative behaviors—like consistent harshness, busyness, or emotional neglect—also shape a child’s view of God. I remember a young man who came to me worried about his salvation. He had received Christ as his personal Savior but wasn’t convinced that he was truly forgiven. When I opened the Scriptures to share some assurances with him, he responded, “I believe them, but I’m just not sure God’s promises apply to me.” He seemed surprised when I then asked about his relationship with his father. During our conversation, it came out that his dad had often made promises he failed to keep. Now, years later, the son lacked certainty that God would keep His word.

Being a reflection of the Lord requires no special skills; the only training guide we need is the Bible. By approaching fatherhood as an area of service and ministry, all men are able to be successful dads. As with any service rendered for God, the Holy Spirit offers fathers the wisdom and guidance they need for raising their children.

Be sure that you are attentive to the words of the heavenly Father. Then your children will rise up and call you blessed.

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