Updated: 2 days ago
What does it mean these days in our society to be a father? Certainly, things have changed tremendously in the last 100 years concerning what defines a father. TIME Magazine did an interesting article on the history of fathers that you can check out at this link:http://amp.timeinc.net/time/5312912/history-american-fathers According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children, more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. We are living in a society that experiences the absence of fathers like an epidemic. Society must understand why fathers are a necessity and why God placed the responsibility of being a father on the male.
In the book titled, The Fatherhood Principle: Priority, Position, and the Role of the Male written by best-selling author Dr. Myles Munroe, Dr. Munroe explains that the word father is more than just a name. Instead, 'father' is a title relating to function. In relation to God, the book states that He is our Father in two main ways: through creation, because He is Source of all that is, and through redemption, because of His coming to Earth in the form of a man, to be crucified on a cross as a sinless sacrifice to put mankind back into right relationship; right standing with God like it was originally before mankind declared independence from God.
Dr. Munroe provides some words that express the basic concepts of a father. These words denote father as Source, Nourisher, Sustainer, Supporter, Founder, Protector, Author, Teacher, and Creator. The word father is translated in the Old Testament Hebrew language as ab or Abba (meaning “Daddy”), and in the New Testament Greek, it is pater. Both terms are defined as source. Therefore, God is Father because He is the Source and Sustainer of all things. Dr. Munroe defines a father as, “the source that sustains, protects, nourishes, and provides identity for that which he produces.”
From the book, there are 7 principles of Fatherhood I would like to reference. These seven principles distinguish men in their role of father in the following ways:
The male is the source of seed.
The male is the nourisher of fruit.
The male is the source of the female.
The male is designed to protect his fruit.
The male determines the type of offspring and influences its quality.
The male maintains his offspring.
The male teaches his seed.
The male is the source of seed because he is the source of human life. This is possible simply because the male is the host of the sperm. The male is the nourisher of fruit. When a man and woman conceive and give birth to a baby, the father is responsible for providing all the love and support that the mother and the baby need. In a marriage, the husband is responsible for cultivating his wife with the goal of making her better and more complete than she already is.
The male is the source of the female. Again, the man is responsible for the woman. Since woman came from man (see Genesis 2:21-23, 1 Corinthians 11:8), men are responsible for women and how they treat them. The male is designed to protect his fruit. I like what Dr. Munroe says in the book concerning this, that the reason for a man's strength is to protect. As fathers and husbands, we must make sure that we are not using our strength to abuse what we should be protecting. I agree with Dr. Munroe's statement:
“Such ignorant men are dangerous because where purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” - Pg 39, The Fatherhood Principle
So many of us men have it wrong when it comes to women. We think we know and understand their purpose. This must change with education and training. Hosea 4:6 says, my people perish for a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is man's biggest enemy. We cannot create solutions if we are not clear on the problem.
The Male determines the type of the offspring and influences the quality. Dr. Munroe in his book states, that because we as men carry the seed within us, we determine the type of person our offspring will become, and that we also have the power to influence the eventual quality of that person by our character. Behaviors are passed on through observation and exposure. However, I'd like to believe they can be hereditary as well. If you have issues handling anger and you are unable to get it under control, that is something that can be passed down to your offspring. If you are a perpetual liar and cheater or struggle with substance abuse, whether it be alcohol or drugs, and you do not change, that poor character can be passed over to your next generation. It is important to have character, not only for your sake but for your children's sake.
“Whatever you receive, you will produce. Whatever you sow, you will reap. (See Galatians 6:7). - Page 39, The Fatherhood Principle
The male maintains his offspring. From the book, Dr. Munroe states, “The male is responsible for the security, sustenance, and development of his seed.” The fatherhood principle here is to maintain. As fathers, we are responsible for the maintenance of everything under our care. The male teaches his seed. In our society today, it seems like more and more children are missing out on the opportunity to be taught by fathers. This happens either because the father is absent in the home or life of the child, or if he is present, he lacks the knowledge on how or what he should be teaching. Dr. Munroe has some key things to say about this:
“The male is a godly father when he takes responsibility for his seed and gives his seed knowledge. The source must train and instruct the resource… Most women are doing the teaching and training, but God says that fathers are to do the primary spiritual teaching and training in the home.” - Pg 40, The Fatherhood Principle
If you were raised in a single-family home and had an absentee father, you can relate perfectly with what Dr. Munroe has stated above. Some men cannot teach their families to go in a positive direction if they are not headed in that direction themselves. But as fathers, as the male, we are responsible for training and teaching our families to walk in the ways of the Lord.
When we begin to follow these seven primary principles of Fatherhood, it places us in a position that is pleasing to the Creator because we are fulfilling the purpose He planned for us as men, and it propels us in the direction to become the fathers He created us to be. If we become the fathers God originally intended for us to be, we would shake the very foundations of the systems put in place to hurt us rather than to help us. After reading this, it is my hope that the next time you think of fatherhood or hear or see the word father, that you would understand that it is more than just a title, it is the Creator's design and destiny of the male.