It’s good to hear what’s good but it’s better to know what to do with it. Many would-be fathers are left to the limitations of a guide because they have either 1) been limited to the guidance of a guide even from one that was intended to be a father, or 2) experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment by the one that was supposed to father them. We need to know what a father is before we can be one.
In my previous post (https://scottprickett.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/plenty-of-guides) I referenced a the distinction between guides and fathers as written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:15. I began to look at the distinction by looking at the original meaning of the word “guides.” That word, at its origin, paints a picture of a tutor or guardian but what does the meaning of the word “father” indicate? Interestingly, the “how to” may be in the word itself. The word translated as father includes:
- The founder of a family – the patriarch. The one that was the originator of a lineage. There is, at a minimum, a genetic passing down of characteristics which can be traced back to the father.
- The transmission or infusion of a certain spirit – beyond the genetic origins of a lineage, the passing along of core beliefs at a spiritual level. A mind-set based in identity as descendants behave certain ways based in who they are as imparted by the father.
- A position of honor – which comes from inherent gratitude born of receipt of value. That is, the benefactors of a father’s impartation will naturally express honor towards the one that invested in them.
- The nature of God – as Father. He is the originator of the role and perfect in its application. We are created in His image and invited into the same joy and satisfaction that He has in us as we are raised into mature sons reflecting His nature.
The final part of the definition above is the most important as it is the Source of our ability to father. Without knowing the Father and subjecting ourself to His love as well as His discipline, both of which are for our good, we will be limited in our ability to move beyond the role of a “guide” who teaches behaviors and corrects deficiencies. With adoption as sons and relationship to the Father, we can receive His imparted nature and reproduce it in sons and daughters which reflect a culture of Heaven on earth.