On 2 September we celebrate Father’s Day—defined as ‘a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society’, according to Wikipedia.
I am reminded of Exodus 20:12 that says, ‘Honour your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you’. The verse clearly suggests that to honour is to bring life. I take this opportunity to honour my father, for the life he has brought me, and I encourage you to do the same. Your experience of your earthly father may have difficulties, but the reality is that you—dearly loved by Father God—would not be here if it was not for your father.
The apostle Paul saw it as important to have fathers in the faith. When he wrote to the believers in Corinth, he made this statement: ‘Even if you had ten thousand guardians [instructors] in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel’ (1 Corinthains 1:15).
I believe it’s important for everyone to have spiritual fathers in their lives. Spiritual fathers are men who carry something of God that you long for. These are men of maturity, who display the life of Christ in a way which inspires you to pursue it
The discipleship process is one of allowing people to model the life of Christ, and then because of your commitment to them, they begin to pass on to you the life which they carry. It’s been my privilege to have men in my life who have role-modelled Christ in such a way that it has inspired me to pursue this life. In so doing, what my spiritual fathers carried has now become my own possession.
For me, there is no greater fulfilment than to see men and women pursue the life of Christ that they see in me, and live out this life in a way which goes beyond my own experience. This, to me, is what being a spiritual father is about.
I am totally convinced the world today is desperate for spiritual fathers. Men who are reading this, can I challenge you to become a spiritual dad for those who follow? I believe this day requires men to rise up and become men of God, and role model the life of Christ in such a way that they pour their life into others—so that others, also, may possess this life.
As confirmed in Exodus, honouring spiritual and earthly fathers, is life-giving and life-affirming.
Major Ivan Bezzant
Territorial Secretary for Corps Mission