After considering the type of simplified advice I would offer to a young father who had limited time to listen, I came up with what I believe are 3 things that are absolutely crucial for anyone wanting to build a family that can survive the test of time. If you as a father do these 3 things well you will have a great chance to be the best husband and father you can be in life and enjoy the rewards of having a loving family. (Part 1 of 3)
The 3 C's of Fathering are:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua was a man who lived long ago who faced a huge challenge, he had to lead the nation of Israel into the promised land that God had given them as an inheritance. His role and challenge were formidable but he had something amazing on his side, Joshua was a servant of God, and God was backing him in this venture. If we as fathers position ourselves in God's will for our lives we will also experience the victory through His power backing us!
(Found in The Book of Joshua Chapter 1)
King David was only a young man when he was needed to fight Goliath the giant, but David had a secret weapon and it was not his shepherds sling but his faith that God was with him and would give him victory over his enemy.
( Found in The Book of 1 Samuel Chapter 17)
The prophet Daniel still prayed faithfully to God even when it was outlawed in ancient Babylon and punishable by being thrown to the lions. Daniel's relationship with and faithfulness to God was more important than his own life and he entrusted his future into God's hands.
(Found in The Book of Daniel Chapter 6)
These three men did not just rely upon their own Courage or else they probably would have failed, they drew upon the Courage that God imparts to His children when they call upon Him in faith!
Definitions of Courage:
Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Valour is courage or bravery, especially in battle. (Wikipedia)
Courage is mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
It takes Courage to stand up and take responsibility for your family, but as we accept our role as a father and leader, courage is imparted into our heart.
When men think of the word Courage they often think of being courageous in battle or standing up for their friends in a fight. It is however important to know that courage comes in multiple forms and is not restricted to physical courage. I have seen incredible courage exhibited when men who were facing overwhelming emotional circumstances, decided to stand and fight for what they believed in, rather than to cut and run as some were advising them to.
Your family and your marriage are worth fighting for and as the father and leader of your home they are looking to you to be the example in life they should follow!
Courage always begins with a decision to do what you know is right.
Different Types of Courage
1. Emotional Courage
Courage takes many forms and just because someone has courage on a battlefield does not mean they will also have courage when things get tough on the home-front. Emotional courage is often the most difficult for men to grasp as it often requires us to deal with complex feelings, a situation which many men are not experienced in.
Emotional courage is always linked to mental courage, because our emotions are a result of
what we are thinking about. If we can change the thoughts racing through our mind then we can also change the emotions we are experiencing. Emotional control comes through choosing to think positively and trust in God through living by faith, rather than thinking negatively and being ruled by fear.
(2 Timothy 1:7) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Fear is a powerful emotion, but faith is even stronger! It takes courage to pull away from fears hold and trust instead for God to move on your behalf
Developing Self Control
Jesus Christ showed incredible self control numerous times throughout His ministry in particular when His enemies were trying to arrest or kill Him. Even on the night that He allowed Himself to be arrested, He showed self-control while revealing clearly to the soldiers and priests that He was totally in control and only went with them because He chose to.
Whether it was to merely speak and cause those trying to arrest Him to fall over backwards, or to simply walk through a crowd that wanted to kill Him, Jesus always restrained Himself and maintained control over His emotions.
(Found in Gospel of Luke Chapter 4 & Gospel of John Chapter 18)
Sometimes the hardest thing to do in emotive circumstances is to do nothing, just to sit there and say nothing and maintain control on our temper. This type of courage requires self-control/self-restraint which is identified as one of the fruits that grow in the heart of the born again believer. Fruit doesn't grow overnight but as we continue to yield our anger and frustration to the Holy Spirit in prayer the transformation process continues daily.
2. Mental Courage
Mental courage is developed step by step as you experience breakthroughs and victories in the smaller difficulties we face as a father. It is here that you develop a mental strength and resilience that can often only come through a lived experience. However, a wise man doesn't wait until it starts raining before he buys an umbrella, he knows that one day he is going to need it and he prepares for that day in advance!
How can you prepare yourself mentally?
Study of God's promises in the Bible daily enables your faith and mental courage to grow
incrementally, bit by bit. We learn to trust in what God has promised us rather than what our current circumstances or feelings are telling us! As we begin to trust God in the little things we face our faith continues to grow, and eventually enables us to trust Him for the big things.
Unfortunately many men wait until a problem blows up and becomes serious before they begin to trust God, and although God is able to help, they often don't have enough faith to believe Him for it.
That's why a wise man prepares for what MIGHT happen in the future! Getting to know Jesus is a wonderful and joyful part of life, not just a parachute for when your plane is crashing.
(2 Corinthians 5:7) For we walk by faith, not by sight
The grass is not greener on the other side of the road, the grass is greener where you spend the time watering it!
3. Relational Courage
Sometimes it takes real Courage to stick it out when your relationship/marriage is struggling. It may even seem that life would be easier if we just packed up and left, thinking "at least then we wouldn't be fighting all the time!"
But this is not the answer your family needs from you, it is merely an admission of defeat and allowing your emotions to control you, rather than what God says and what you know deep inside is right. When this happens it's time to buckle down and get serious with God and with yourself, don't allow your thoughts or emotions to continue to offer you an exit strategy. Marriage and family are not easy, it takes real courage to stick in there through the worst times, but they are definitely worth fighting for.
“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” – Jewish Proverb
So what can I do for a better marriage and family?
*Humility is the number one requirement for a successful long-term relationship or marriage.
Somebody has to be humble enough to say sorry first, and start rebuilding rather than destroying your family and home.
Men, as the head of the home, it is your responsibility to lead by example and choose to be humble and become a peacemaker in whatever situation you are facing.
Don't wait for your wife to do it, you do it! That is real relational courage and real leadership!
Your children need your marriage to survive and to thrive, and it truly can if you both submit to God and ask for His help daily in your marriage. Every marriage goes through tough times, but if you choose to go through them together it will draw you closer than you have ever been and strengthen your relationship so it can stand the test of time.
Sometimes we have to go through our toughest times before we can step into our greatest times!
(Matthew 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God
4. Spiritual Courage
Some times we as men and fathers need Courage to trust God in situations that are totally out of our control. I have been in situations that have surpassed my own ability or strength to handle emotionally and mentally, it was at these times that I had no other choice than to throw my trust and faith fully onto our Heavenly Father. It was through these situations that I have found Him totally trustworthy as He encouraged me by moving on my behalf and in my situation.
The Courage to Let Go and Let God is unique within human experience.
Throughout history we have stories of men and women who have chosen to believe in and trust God with their lives, and they have reported the amazing results that they have experienced.
It is because God made us in His image and created us to live in relationship with Him, that we are able to call upon Him for help when life becomes too much for us to handle at times.
The answer to prayer doesn't always come in the way we think it should, or even in the time-frame we expect it, but if we pray and continue to trust in God He will answer us.
Becoming an Encourager in your Family
Developing Courage Yourself Enables You To Become An Encouraging Person
To Encourage means to give Courage to someone else.
To Discourage means to take Courage from someone else.
We as fathers should learn how to become encouragers in our own family, that they may receive the courage they need to overcome the challenges that they will face. Without a fathers love and encouragement many children struggle to be successful in life, because they don't believe they can do it! But if you are there for them, encouraging them and believing in them, it will enable them to rise up and achieve in life.
Without a husbands love and encouragement it is difficult for wives to fulfill their role in your marriage. God has instituted marriage as His way to strengthen and build society, and because marriage is from God, He will help us and strengthen our marriage and our family. Fighting to keep our marriage and family strong is best accomplished upon our knees in prayer. By knowing and trusting in God's promises in the Bible we as fathers are able to receive the encouragement we need from Him.
(Mark 9:23) Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway
― John Wayne
To Let Go and Let God is to yield the entire situation into His loving hands by faith. It means that we no longer carry the wait or concern upon our own shoulders for we have entrusted God Almighty to resolve it for us.
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