Vol. 12 No. 6 June 2010
What does it mean to be a father? It means more than having children. It speaks of the relationship you are to have with your children, and your wife as their mother. The responsibility of a father to his children extends beyond Father’s Day, and the honor due fathers by their children should continue long after that today. Father’s Day, however, does cause us to focus on the role the father has to his family, and the honor a godly father should receive.
God is intentionally depicted to us in Scripture as a heavenly Father. He is a provider and Protector to us, who loves us and seeks only that which is best for us, which has our good at heart. He has clearly revealed His will to us, that we may know good from evil, and choose the way of life. He offers us all spiritual blessings in Jesus, and gives us assurance that He has an eternal home prepared for us after this existence is over. Sometimes He disciplines us, but only because He loves us. He wants our faith to grow in Him, for us to become more like Him, to find what life in Him has to offer. His greatest joy is in our relationship with Him.
Our heavenly Father exemplifies those qualities that should be found in earthly fathers. A father should be a provider and protector to his family, seeking only that which has their good at heart. His love should be exemplary, especially when he disciplines. He should want his children to make right choices, have a good life today, and look forward to eternal life. His joy should be his relationship with his family.
A father’s legacy is not the material possessions (house, car, money, etc.) he leaves behind, as they are only things, and will perish. His time, character and love are gifts that will endure for generations. A father who knows the love of the heavenly Father, and seeks to imitate Him, is the kind of father needed in families today. He deserves the honor his family gives today, and everyday. “Listen to your father who gave you life…” (Proverbs 23:22).
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Timothy 2:9). It is the time of year when many people’s attire, both for men and women, is anything but modest. Society today pushes the envelope with how little one can wear, and scantily clad individuals are everywhere. Shorts and hemlines are getting shorter and shorter, necklines are plunging further and further, and bare midriffs are growing wider and wider. Such clothing, or the lack of it, certainly gains the attention of the opposite sex, but usually not in ways that are desirable or wholesome. Such is the world in which we live.
As Christians, however, we are not to be conformed to the world, but instead transformed (Romans 12:2). The saying “everyone else is doing it” certainly should not be the motivation for choosing the clothing a Christian wears. In the passage quoted above, Paul is exhorting women from attracting undue attention to themselves by primarily overdressing, with extensive “braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” The same principle applies to under dressing, and the undue attention that attracts to one as well, just as much for men as women, especially when the message of wearing immodest clothing becomes sexually provocative. What messages does one send, whether intentional or otherwise, when too much flesh is revealed? Purity is the keyword for Christians, in thought and conduct. We should not be tempted by other Christians, nor be a temptation to anyone by what we wear. Paul exhorted Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Our elders have stated, “It is inappropriate to wear shorts, tank tops, and other types of abbreviated clothing when we meet together. Certain recreational activities dictate that active wear or sports attire be worn, but all of us can maintain a standard of modesty. Very small children, of course, can be expected to be dressed differently, but as children grow, they need to learn the value of proper dress.”
When considering our apparel, we should also be mindful of more than just whether it is decent or not. We come to worship and honor a holy God. While no one would say we must always wear three-piece suits or evening gowns in our assemblies, neither should we become too casual. If we can discern at other events that it is appropriate to dress nicely and respectfully, why would we think God is pleased when we develop an attitude of “anything is all right” when coming to assemble before the King of kings and Lord of lords? “‘For I am a great King,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and my name will be feared among the nations’” (Malachi 1:14). The Hebrews writer also reminds us, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). When we assemble together, we are not only in fellowship with each other, but with our Lord and Savior. Our apparel should not be gauged by style or comfort alone, but our love and respect for our God.
The world dresses and lives by a standard based in sin, but we are called to reflect the holiness of God (1 Peter 1:14-16). Wherever we go, whatever we do, may we remember we are children of God and reflect His image by the image we show others. As Paul reminds us, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).