First, to be godly fathers, we must know and love God ourselves (1 John 4:8). To play a part in passing on our faith, we must first possess it.
Perhaps the next greatest gift we can give our children is to love and honor our wives. We’re told in Ephesians 5:25 to do so as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. While we’re called to be the spiritual leaders in our homes, this doesn’t mean to lord it over our families. Jesus calls us to be servant leaders (Matthew 20:25-28).
Our children are always watching and, like Paul, we should be able to say “imitate me” (Philippians 3:17), as opposed to “do as I say, not as I do.” This means living consistent lives of integrity. We’re to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not by worldly addictions (Romans 8:5).
A godly father disciplines his children appropriately, while not provoking their wrath (Ephesians 6:4, Hebrews 12:9-10). I take this to mean it’s good to set expectations, but we must ensure our love is always understood and not conditioned on performance. Be generous in giving encouragement and affirmation of your love. And when you fail, as we all do, model humility by asking for forgiveness, helping them see we all need our Savior’s grace and mercy. I believe Peter’s admonition that “love covers a multitude of sins” applies to parenthood. Our children will forgive much, as long as they know we love them.
And finally, never give up praying for your family.
May God’s grace abound as you trust Him for the power and wisdom to be a godly father.