5 things the godly dad shows his family every single day

5 things the godly dad shows his family every single day

In helpful tips by Ryan Sanders, M. Div. / January 10, 2019

First Timothy 4:12 says, "Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." Yes, Paul's writing to Timothy—giving Timothy words to literally live by in front of believers. How's this play out in our lives as dads? And why should it matter today?


  

So Timothy isn't a dad here. But, can we agree the principles here are worth using as a strategy for godly fatherhood? Think about it: Paul was a spiritual father to Timothy.
 
We've written The Good Father, 8 checkpoints of biblical fatherhood and the Field Guides to examine the virtues of leading by example as a dad. Add this post to it! Here we go: The godly dad is an example in the following areas: 
 
  1. Speech
  2. Conduct
  3. Love
  4. Faith
  5. Purity 

Timothy was to live as a spiritual example of what a believer truly can be. Paul's goal in writing and mentoring Timothy was so the people in Ephesus could develop godliness by looking at Timothy's example. Hello #DadGoals! Imagine fathering with the goal of your child modeling the Christian example to a watching world. Sounds like a plan to me. 

 

Paul is literally encouraging Timothy in this passage. Just as we should encourage our kids. People smarter than I have pointed out these five things are really two categories: traits #1 and #2 are OUTWARDLY observed or public traits while #3, #4 and #5 are INWARDLY observed or private traits. 

 

#1 The godly dad is an example in speech.

What we say must be exemplary. "Speech" here points to all verbal expression. Dad, what we say matters. Dare I say this, HOW we say certain things also matters. Have you ever been like me and said the right thing the wrong way? No? I'm alone on this one. Great. Thanks for having my back. Seriously though, what we say and even how we say it—matters. Paul is pointing out to Timothy a beautiful lesson here: don't be flippant with your words
 
Timothy, who's needing to be an example to believers in Ephesus, is already on the young side. Bible commentaries point out "young" back then might've meant mid-30's. Regardless, here's the point: The quickest way to gain trust, credibility and authority is to watch your words. What you say can and will be used against you! 
 
God's Word in Ephesians 4:25 and 29 says: "Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another....29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.
 
 
And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
 
Scripture holds our tongues very carefully. As believers, and as godly dads, we should not be flippant with our words. Man, do I need help and guidance here. May the Lord cleanse my heart—so I become a better example of God to my wife and kids.   
 

#2 The godly dad is an example in conduct.

What we do must be exemplary. Some translations use the term "life" here. Basically, the point is—general behavior matters. If what we say matters—and it does, then what we do is equally important—maybe more vital.
 
As a godly dad, your conduct will be seen by all in your home. As a believer, your life will be seen by a watching world. What if we fathered with this in mind? Imagine living in such a way that your example in at home—and everything you do—reflects these things! Let's live and teach that what we say and what we do either confirms, calls into question or denies the authority and power of the Gospel.
 
Consider this, churches generally takes on the pastor's mannerisms and figures of speech. The same is true in your home. My two year-old son reminds me of this daily. I recently noticed my 2-year-old son saying to his older sisters, "What the heck?" to pretty much everything. Where do you think he picked this vernacular up? Not from is mom. Paul wanted Timothy to be seen and known for his wise words. God in Heaven, may our lives reflect You instead of something or someone else. 
 

#3 The godly dad is an example in love. 

If "speech" and "conduct" were the first group of words, the second group of words are love, faith and purity. These are the inner—or private—traits. Here, Paul wanted Timothy to show a love for God and for everyone else. As dads and believers, our love must be exemplary. We see in Scripture that love is supreme.
 
What does love really mean? I can tell you this: Love in Scripture—love like that of Christ means sacrifice. It means giving our very lives when necessary. What are we giving our lives too? How would your child answer this question of you—if I asked?  
 

#4 The godly dad is an example in faith.

Paul wanted Timothy to be an example in faith. It's vital we be found faithful and trustworthy. Like the son who is supposed to clean his room, only for you to leave a few minutes, return, and there's no signs of cleaning. For us to be seen by others as good believers who resemble our God, we must be found credible. This takes a certain care for God.
 
If folks look closely, they should see your faith in any life situation: excitement, tragedy, arguments, abundance, lack—you get the idea. I've heard it said of certain faithful leaders, it's like the closer you get to them, the more holy they become. Imagine the opposite happening? You think the leader is godly, but once you get close, you start to see signs that he doesn't practice what he preaches. May we be more like the first in this example. 
 

#5 The godly dad is an example in purity. 

We are to strive for godliness. The term "purity" here is a call for "sexual purity and integrity of heart" as one commentary explains.
 
What is purity? Purity is knowing true beauty. Understanding beauty around you changes your decisions related to your entertainment choices, music preferences, fashion styles, your regard for women...you get the idea.
 
Are your choices imitation worthy? If we can know anything from this Scripture it's this: we are called to live imitation-worthy lives...in our homes, with our families, in our churches, in our communities. 
  

Why should we care about all of this?

Remember, Paul continues in verses 13-16 of chapter 1 Timothy 4 saying: 
 
Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching....Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
 
Don't be confused, gentlemen, we do this for ourselves and for those watching. If we don't show the five things above to our families, it's to our detriment and to the detriment of those around us. 
 

Question: Are you discipling your family with the end in mind? What's one thing you can do on this list to better live out the example you need to set for your child? Tell us in the comments below, tweet @manhoodjourney or email us.  

 
 

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 RyanHeadshot150.pngRyan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have three children. He serves as Lay Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. and is a diehard Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter and Instagram.

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