Learning To Be A Father

by Pastor Eric Jenkins

Deuteronomy 5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

I didn’t have a healthy christian home-life or a healthy christian father.  My dad loved me, however, he was more of my friend than my dad.  He and my mom divorced because he struggled with homosexuality.  That’s another blog for another time. 

I knew my dad loved me but he didn’t teach me how to be a son or how to do life.  I just kind of hung out with dad.  In sixth grade I began doing hard drugs with my family. 

Eric & Rachel Jenkins with sons, Kingston & Princeton

Thankfully, I was never involved in his homosexual lifestyle, but I was around it all the time, especially when I visited him.

So growing up was very interesting and challenging.  I saw so much brokenness and have been broken because of it. 

That is until Jesus radically saved me and changed me and made me whole.  Now, I have a beautiful wife and two amazing sons. 

I am learning how to be a father. Still, I’ve learned so much already.  Let’s take a look at this passage of scripture and see what we can learn about fathering:

Matthew 3:16-17 16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

        ◦       God the father gave Jesus his identity
        •       When we come to Jesus we have a new father.  And he says we are his sons/daughters.  We are found in him.  He is ours and we are his.  What he has is available to us because he is dad.  We are in his family. 
        ◦       God the father declared his acceptance and love for Jesus
        •       We need to be told that we are accepted and loved.  So many have been rejected by fathers and it has robbed them of who they are.  Father’s have the power to declare over their children their identity. 
        ◦       God the father gave Jesus affirmation 
        •       He said I am well pleased.  To know the father is pleased with you can bring much healing and confidence as children.  People should never underestimate how encouraging affirmation is.  It comforts and give endurance to run.  

This simple scripture has so much wrapped up inside of it and trying to walk it out with ease has taken me almost eight years. You can’t lead until you learn how to follow.  But how do you learn how to lead until you’ve had experience following a leader?  I don’t want someone fathering me unless they’ve walked in my shoes as a son.

My father-in-law is my hero.  Having him in my life has brought much healing to my soul.  He has brought affirmation, which has built much confidence in me.  What I’ve discovered is that it’s hard to be a father until you learn how to be a son.  Sons have to be humble, learn to submit and to come under authority to obey. 

I never knew how powerful the words, “I’m proud of you, son.” could be.  Yet there is still so much to learn.  Fathering is one of the most challenging yet rewarding responsibilities on this side of eternity.  

Father God, help us be good fathers to our children by learning how to be good sons, first.

Open Arms Church Staff

Reverend Eric Jenkins and his wife, Rachel, Pastor Open Arms Church in Lake Dallas, Texas. He is ordained by Southwestern Assembly of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.

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