Being a Father in the Faith

Written by Founder Raul Rivera on Jun 26, 2009

In the last 10 to 15 years the Father's heart has been awakened in men and women across the world.  God the Father is raising up His people to be father's in the faith.  This outpouring of the Father's heart is incredible, but just because you have a large staff of eager leaders does not mean that you are a "father in the faith."

Nowhere in Scripture do we find a person who knew the Father's heart more than the apostle Paul.  In his address to the Corinthian church he lays down the responsibilities of a true father in the faith.  He begins in I Corinthians chapter four, verse eight. 

  • In verse 8 he describes a father's desire to make his children reign as kings even if they forgot about him
  • In verse 9 he placed himself last, suffered shame for his children and even laid down his life. 
  • In verse 10 he did not mind appearing to be a fool so that his children would become wise.  He did not mind being dishonored for his children. 
  • In verse 11 he suffered hunger, thirst, beatings, he became homeless and he wore old, torn clothes
  • In verse 12 he worked with his own hands so as not be a financial burden on them.  Though he was reviled, he blessed them; and in persecution he endured to ensure that they stayed the course. 
  • In verse 13 it says that though there were many that defamed him, he appealed to them gently.  Does that sound like any of the "fathers" you know? 

As a father in the faith, Paul suffered countless trials for the Corinthian church.  He lovingly admonished them with a reminder that though they had many instructors in the church, there were few fathers.  The reason being was that the price a father in faith had to pay was too high for most.  Not much has changed since then.  Even today, the price seems too high for many.  

Today, most individuals who feel called to be fathers in the faith look to Malachi 1:6.  They seek honor, but do not realize that fatherhood comes at a very high cost.  "If then I am the Father, Where is My honor?

Jeremiah was another individual in the Bible who also paid a high price for the children of Israel.  He was usually called the weeping prophet, but really he was a prophet in touch with a weeping God.  When you become gripped with the heart of the Father for his children, you cannot help but to suffer for them so they may always stay the course and grow in God.

When Israel was taken captive to Babylon, the remnant went to Jeremiah and asked him for a word from the Lord.  They said that whatever the Lord might say; they would obey it.  It did not matter whether it was a word they liked or not (Jer. 42:5).  After ten days, Jeremiah came back with a word from the Lord.  The Lord told them that they needed to stay in the land of Israel and not flee to Egypt out of fear of King Nebuchadnezzar.  Secretly, the people thought Egypt would be a place of refuge and peace for them.  At this point Jeremiah never even knew that they were contemplating going to Egypt.  Without knowing their plans, he admonished them not to go.  He said that the one sword that they feared the most would eventually catch up to them and bring unfathomable calamity.  The proud men of the remnant accused Jeremiah of being a liar and a fraud.  They thought he received inside information from his good friend Baruch (43:2-3). 

Frankly, I would be very tempted to feel offended when called a liar and a fraud.  I would have let them go, hoping that every word I had spoken would come true so that as a prophet, I would be vindicated.  Why is this our nature?  Why do we try to preserve ourselves even when serving the Lord?

What did Jeremiah do?  He allowed himself to be taken by Johanan and his forces (43:5,6) even though he had been given full freedom by Nebuchadnezzar.  A true father is not as concerned about his rights as he is with the well being of God's children.  During the entire journey he pleaded with them not to go.  He appealed to them asking that they turn back.  However, in the end, he went with them all the way to the city of Taphanes (which means temptation).

Do you feel that God has given you a Father's heart for those who are young and in need a a father in the faith?  Keep this final thought in mind:

There was a reason why Paul said "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers . . ."


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Raul Rivera

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