Dec 16, 2013

What Every Dad Should Learn from the Christmas Story

Dad, what an incredible task we have been given as fathers.  Studies, statistics, and reality continue to show that dads are the most influential person in our home.  Being a dad is a high calling and a tough responsibility in our modern society.  The enemy and the world he controls want to demolish your family.  His best plan of attack is to go through you.  He wants you to fail.  He wants to see your wife lose all love and respect she has for you and your leadership.  He wants to see your kids spend eternity with him in hell.  The enemy hates you, the world hates you, and maybe even your kids will hate you too.  Being a dad is not an easy job today.  But the truth is the spiritual success of our family rises and falls on our shoulders.  But listen dads, God knew what he was doing when he chose you to be a father.

In the Christmas story we see a dad who is given the responsibility to raise a child.  It’s a heavy responsibility being a dad to any kid, but can you imagine the weight of responsibility in having to raise the Savior of the world, the Son of God, the King of kings??!!  We don’t know a lot about Joseph, we only see a brief snapshot of who he is and where he came from in the story of Jesus’s birth.  But in the brief snap shot we have of Joseph we see some character traits that every dad should have if they want to win at fatherhood.  God knew exactly what He was doing when he gave Joseph the responsibility of raising his Son.

Character Trait #1 - Meekness

Matthew 1:18-19
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

 Meekness is not weakness.  It is harnessed power.  Meekness is humbly submitting our freedom, strength, power, influence, money, and ego to the will of God.  The ball was in Joseph’s court and he had the freedom and right to do what he wished with Mary who was carrying a child that wasn’t his.

There were 3 routes Joseph could have legally taken at this point:  Stone her to death (Leviticus 20:10), claim the child was his and go forward to save embarrassment, or publicly divorce her.  But, Joseph showed meekness when he chose to divorce her quietly.  Joseph maintained his cool, didn’t lose his temper, he didn’t try to get even, and didn’t kick Mary to the curb.  Even though he was in the position and had the right to ruin her life and the life of her seemingly illegitimate son, he took the route of a good man, a real man, a Godly man.  It was a path of grace, a path of character, a path of Godliness…a path of meekness.  And it was this meekness that enabled him to be used greatly by God to be the earthly father of Jesus.

Dad’s we need to learn to show meekness to our wife and kids.  We constantly need to let God harness our freedom, authority in the home, power, influence, strength, success, money and time by submitting to the will of our Heavenly Father.  Showing our children that even though we have a right to be angry or have the right to get it our way, we control our temper and handle the matter with meekness.  We must show meekness to our kids when we arguing with their mother, disciplining them, in dealing with the blind umpire at their ball games, the slow waiter, the idiotic driver that just cut us off, the boss that is unfair, or our child's carelessness with the cup of milk.

If you want to produce good children, then be a meek man.  Showing grace, patience, kindness, and gentleness can ALWAYS be done without showing weakness.  That’s what meekness does.

Character Trait #2 - Obedience
vv.20-22 “But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name Immanuel”

Crazy story, crazy dream.  If I had a dream like that I might wonder what my wife mixed into our lasagna from the night before.  The amazing thing is that he did exactly what the angel said to do.

This story fits so well into the Bible.  Joseph was commanded to give Mary’s son the name Jesus, it's derived from the Hebrew name Yeshua, the name means “Yahweh is salvation.”  The first time we see the name Yeshua in the Old Testament is when we meet Moses’s right hand man and understudy, Joshua.  Joshua was the man that got to lead the Israelites into the Promise land.  He was a great leader, a man’s man, a warrior, a hero.   Listen to the faith and conviction of Joshua:

Joshua 24:15  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

 Now, there are a lot of men who will say, “As for me and my house”

"As for me and my house…"we’ll make a lot of money"…"we’ll be a successful"…"we’ll kill a big deer or bunches of ducks"…"we’ll catch a big fish"..."we’ll drink with the boys"…"we’ll be liked by everyone"…"we’ll be great athletes"…"we’ll win the lottery"…"we’ll run our roost"…"we’ll never back down"…"we’ll never lose a fight"…"we’ll never be wrong."

But what is missing from most American homes is men who like Joshua and Joseph who will say, “As for my an my house, we will serve the Lord”

Guys, what is your family known more for?  Serving the Lord or killing big deer?  Serving the Lord or being successful?  Serving the Lord or being great athletes?  Serving the Lord or showing our influence?
Dad's when our children stand before God one day he's not going to ask them how successful they are, how much money they made, what their GPA was, how fast they could throw or how far they could hit a baseball, how many tackles or touchdowns they had, what was the biggest deer they killed or fish they caught, how cool they were, how many girls they dated.  He's going to ask them one question:  "What did you do with my Son Jesus?"

Being a family that is known for serving the Jesus begins with being a man who is known for serving the Jesus.

Character Trait #3 – Spiritual Leadership

vv. 24-25 “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him…And he called his name Jesus”

Joseph believed the angel, he believed in his Son, and he did everything he was instructed to do and everything he knew he could in order that his son could “save his people from their sins.”

Joseph led the way in listening to God’s will for his family:  notice Matthew 2:13-14 when moved his family to Egypt, Matthew 2:19-23 when he moved his family back to Nazareth

Notice how Joseph led the way in worshiping with his family:  Luke 2:22-38, 2:14, when he took his family to the Temple

He made priority of his child’s spiritual life.  He took it seriously.  He got involved with it.  Joseph was the dad who took his children to church (the temple), he didn’t just drop them off or let them go with Mary while he slept in, worked, or hunted.  Joseph was the dad who prayed for his children and worshiped with his children.  Joseph was the dad that made sure they were growing in knowledge of the word.  The spiritual growth of his children was important to Joseph. 

Dad’s we need to lead the way when it comes to the spiritual growth of our children.  Lead.  Don’t just leave it up to their mom, your parents, the church, the pastor, the children’s minister, or some other father or family.  Lead.  Worship with them, pray with them, pray for them, read God’s word to them, serve with them, witness to them.

God knew what he was doing when he put his own Son under the earthly fatherhood of Joseph.  Men, God knew exactly what he was doing when he put your children under your earthly fatherhood.
Hey, be a fun dad, a loving dad, a protecting dad, a successful dad, a disciplining dad, a killing ducks and deer dad, a coaching dad, a friendly dad.  These are great kinds of dads to be and I hope you are one.  But don't miss out on being the kind of dad God chose you to be.  Be a dad that leads your kids to Jesus.