Think about it. Do you feel like a failure as a father? If you’re like most dads reading this, you do. So how do you “not fail” as a father? I want to encourage you to use your life to point to God. Pointing to God is how you ultimately win. The Westminster Catechism says, “The chief end of men is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Why? Because the Bible is for us, but it is not about us. It is about God’s pursuit of His glory.
Question: What’s one thing you can pick, considering your child’s age and stage, to share with him or her today?
As you read Scripture with this idea in mind, it’s impossible to ignore God’s pursuit of His glory: To the Righteous Ruler and the Holy King be all exaltation and adoration (Isa. 6:3). All creation joins with the resounding of heaven and earth for this one single purpose—to glorify in the beauty and majesty of the Triune God who deserves all worship (Ps. 115:1)
Life is not about our own glory or our own kingdom. I’m here to tell you: don’t glorify your failures — glorify God. I recently wrote that you can turn your failures into wins. I believe God can redeem your time as a dad. The Christian life is constantly in the battle of two kingdoms; the kingdom of self versus the kingdom of God. The question is, to which one are we willing to commit ourselves?
Don’t waste your failures. Use your failure as a father to point to God
The temptation for humans to steal glory from something or someone is not a new thing. We long to be known, to be championed and glorified—above even those we love. Simply put, we battle to be thieves of everyone’s glory, including God’s. We want the recognition, honor, and praise. We are glory thieves.
For the longest time, churches have found excuses for ignoring the simple Jesus model. People want to live for their own glory and namesake. “I, me, myself” to be seated on the throne, high and lifted up to be adorned and worshiped (Matt. 23:7).
In fact, it is when we are vulnerable in our failures and say, “I don’t have my act together, I need Jesus.” that God shows His strength in us (2 Cor. 12:9-11). It all points to Christ. It’s all about Him and His grace. As one author put it, we need to be vulnerable “for the sake of the gospel”. We need to understand the gospel is about embracing lost sinners and growing together in a vibrant community.
Will we be vulnerable for the sake of the gospel? It could mean spending time with your son outside of the house— asking him a simple question like: How are you really doing? But beyond just listening, take time to share some struggles you’ve been facing. Be open and honest about your weaknesses and share about the amazing work God has been and is still doing in your life.
C. S. Lewis, the author, lecturer at Oxford, theologian, and the greatest Christian apologist in the early 19th century, said well, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
In Till We Have Faces, Lewis wrote, “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” God does what is necessary even in the midst of suffering to make His children understand that He is the ultimate desire of their souls.
Don’t waste your failure as a father.
Our failures are an opportunity to point to God’s grace and not our own life lessons. I’ve learned through the hardship of ministry, Jesus is the answer in every aspect of my life. Looking at the past failures and closing yourself in the dungeon of despair helps no one. To rest in the promises of Scripture and pursue the price that has been set before me is the answer to this life.
As men, we want to avoid our weaknesses. We want to be in control and look confident. We want to hide those nights where no one is watching—as temptation creeps in—as we scroll through that website we shouldn’t visit. What about the anger that creeps in to hide the embarrassment of the mistake. Or, where you used sarcasm instead of love. How about when we slip into cheating the system by taking advantage of others rather than staying as men of integrity.
People will pressure you to be something you’re not. Fellow colleagues will pressure you to stay in the confines of a box. People will try to convince you to be someone you aren’t. Figure out how God has gifted you and make that the emphasis of your ministry. God is attracted to weakness and brokenness.
Use your failure as a father to point to God.
As we lead, we want to bring joy whenever possible, but our chief aim is to point people to Christ. Directing others to Christ may expose idols or require them to abandon sinful patterns, and both are painful and disruptive undertakings.
We lead best by modeling supreme affection for Christ and praising Him for the growth in our lives, even if it proves painful for a time. The secular culture that surrounds us today will see the quiet, faithful hearts and be impressed and draw closer to God.
Men who embrace God’s calling as leaders have learned no failure is final, whether his failure or someone else’s. If you’ve been a failure as a father until now—God can redeem the time. What God asks of a man is faithfulness. Success does not pertain to the size of the house he owns, nor how large his annual salary. The real question is obedience.
You are called to obedience.
Are you being faithful in spite of or in the midst of hardship to God’s calling? Are you being faithful in what God has commanded you to do in your fatherhood? A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence. As Charles Spurgeon said, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
I pray an army of men—you—will radically begin a movement of biblical fatherhood. I pray the same prayer John Wesley prayed, “Give me 100 men who fear nothing but sin and desires nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.”
I pray this movement will sweep this land of ordinary people—myself included—and we will choose the new life in Christ that calls us to make disciples—starting with our children. God is calling a new generation of men who are willing to follow the Lord Jesus with hearts devoted Him. Will you be that man? Will you help build that man?
What’s your quickest way to not be a failure? Pick your next move.
Sure, you may have failed in the past. We all have on some level. But, you are NOT a failure as a dad. Here are three ways we can help you gain confidence and overcome feeling like a failure as a dad:
1. Get help. Snag an eBook you can download immediately to overcome your most-pressing struggle as a dad.
2. Grow deeper. The Connected Father digital course will help you lead your family without regret.
3. Gain community. Join our Father on Purpose digital community right now for access to tons of tips, tools, resources, and other dads trying not to fail—just like you.
Like this post and want to write for Manhood Journey? Be like Jonathan and email Ryan Sanders your post and he’ll either not reply because your idea is that bad—or he’ll assign you a deadline.