Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

THE CHRISTIAN FATHER’S VISION

Natural vision is a highly valuable gift that God has given to His creation. Good vision enables one to see and appreciate the natural blessings around us. It gives man the opportunity to understand the needs of those around him and to carry out plans in order to help with those needs. Vision helps us study and acquire information that can be useful to our natural and spiritual lives. Vision also helps one escape the dangers and evil that lurk around us.

When one’s natural vision begins to lose its clarity, there may be ways it can be restored or sharpened. Some vision problems can be helped through artificial means. Other problems require extensive treatment through surgery, transplants, or other medical means. When the hope of renewed vision is held before a person with limited natural vision, there is usually willingness for whatever it takes for restoration.

Spiritual vision is of greater importance than natural vision. Its effects reach beyond time into the eternal destiny of both our souls and our posterity. The Scriptures impress upon us that importance when we read, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). One of the vital responsibilities in the leadership of Christian fatherhood is to have one’s spiritual vision acute and focused. If it is not, the father’s soul may perish, and his loved ones may be led down the road of ruin.

How can the Christian father preserve and maintain clear spiritual vision? It is only when we can truly say, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed” (Ps. 57:7), that the Holy Spirit will give us the needed vision and understanding for our own lives and those of our families. This commitment will enable one to keep his love centered on God, his priorities in the right places, and his vision of a continued need of a Savior, while still fulfilling the daily responsibilities. It will give a father the vision to lead and guide his family through the temptations of pride, independence, technology, immodesty, and casualness that are encountered by the Christian today.

We read, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Today, more than ever, the heart’s total allegiance must be upon God. The goal of the evil one is to cloud the father’s vision with the cataracts of worldliness, the film of intemperate financial pursuits or independence, and the blurry spots from the gods of pleasure, entertainment, and selfishness. These can begin in such seemingly innocent ways that one soon thinks it is normal. However, just as natural vision progressively gets worse, so dour spiritual vision degenerates without a living connection to the Father. As the heart is diligently guarded through the help of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and fellow Christians, there will be a greater understanding and a clearer vision on how to guide and help those God has given to us.

Clear spiritual vision will bring certain results. We read, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). This love will enable the father to sacrifice his own selfish desires and wishes for the welfare of his wife and family. This vision will enable the husband to give his children the stability of a home where father and mother work together in love and unity. While the husband fills the role as the breadwinner of the family, his love will be set upon God first, his wife and family next. This love will enable the father to support his family financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Will the father lead the home to be a utopia where all is perfection? No, but it will be a place where love motivates giving, where love promotes forgiveness, and where one practices “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

A Christian father’s vision will also help to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This verse is important for the future destiny of our children’s souls. To provide our families with a secure home in the Lord is far more important than providing them with the frills that affluence can buy. Children will thrive in a home where father and mother take their God-given roles seriously. In order for there to be a consistent and kind way of dealing with the challenges of nurturing, training, and disciplining of our children, there will need to be self-denial and prayer as a way of life. This will only happen when our wills are surrendered to the Father. Daily devotions, reading Bible stories, and a love for the ways and teachings of the God’s people will enhance and add to the nurture of our children. Time spent working together and playing together will aid in the building of trust that is necessary as children mature. Spiritual vision will enable one to build and nurture sound moral character in our children. This nurture of character is vitally important for the good of our children as they move into society. It will enable them to better respond to the Lord and His call as they become accountable as individuals before Him.

Proper spiritual vision will enable fathers to example in word and all aspects of life and lifestyle (1 Tim. 4:12). A living example even more important than what is said or taught. Children are very observant and impressionable, and they look up to their fathers and desire to imitate them. Their minds soak up what we say, how we respond, how we react, and what is important to us. If our verbal teaching and our living example are opposite, they will be given a warped vision of Christian life. That is why a Christian example is imperative at all times in the rearing of our children.

As we go through life, there will be times we realize our vision has become blurred or even blinded. Does that mean we have failed beyond repair? Are our families without hope then? No, but it means that a visit to the Great Physician will be necessary for spiritual vision to be restored. Do not forget that God will give grace as we keep our daily relationship with Him alive. As we are open to the Holy Spirit and our brethren, as our desire is to walk humbly before God, and as we come before Him, He will forgive, sanctify, and restore. Let us hold remember the beautiful promise, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).

Messenger of Truth, 2017, No. 12