By: Harold Moore February – the month of love. At least that is what we are told. Funny how one day of the year, February 14th, can become a reason to buy cards, candy, flowers, etc., to show how much we love those in our lives. Shouldn’t we have a life-style of showing love throughout the year? The obvious answer is, “Yes!” The way we show true love must go way beyond the purchasing and giving of “things” on a special day.
As a father I’m often challenged as to what to give my wife and daughters on Valentine’s Day to express how much I truly love them. I will again this year give the ladies of my life cards, candy, and maybe a little gift for my wife. But all of those gifts are meaningless and futile in expressing love if my wife and daughters do not know in their hearts the love I have for them throughout the year. I believe they know in their hearts how much I do love them, but it didn’t just happen by accident. I was intentional.
How can a father intentionally express his love to his family in ways that reach the heart? I asked God that question one morning and I believe He answered my questions with a very simple acrostic of “FATHER.”
A father’s love is shown in faithfulness. Romans 5:8 tells us that God, our Heavenly Father, shows and clearly proves His own love for us by the fact that while we were still in our sin, He died for us. A father is faithful to show love no matter what. His love is not conditional or provisional, nor is it based on the performance of those whom he is called to love. A father is faithful to provide for the needs of his family. He provides security. He is faithful to provide appropriate affection to his wife and children so that they have no need to search for it from any other source. A father is faithful to keep the covenants and commitments to his wife and family so that his word is true and dependable.
A father’s love is shown in accessibility. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells of our Heavenly Father who understands us and cares for us, even in our weaknesses and vulnerability to temptation. He bids us to fearlessly and confidently draw near to Him and find help for every need. A loving father is accessible to his wife and children. He makes time for them and gives his time to them. He creates an atmosphere of accessibility and openness. He loves them; therefore he is accessible to them.
A father’s love is show in tenderness. Isaiah 40:11 and other scriptures give us a picture of how tenderly the Lord cares for his own. Jesus looked over unfaithful Jerusalem and spoke of a tender desire to “gather her under his wings”. He wept. He had compassion over the sick, broken, and hurt. A father who truly loves his family will be known by his tenderness toward his loved one’s emotions, hearts and spirits. He will be tender with them physically, particularly his wife and daughters, and not treat them as “one of the boys.”
A father’s love is shown in the honor and value he gives to his family. They are not just his; they are daughters and sons of God. He treats his family with respect and honors their thoughts and feelings because they are created and valued by God.
A father’s love is shown in an excitement about the things that are important and exciting to his family. In Zephaniah 3 there is a wonderful picture of God dancing and singing over you with joy and excitement. What an awesome picture of God and his delight over His children! A loving father shows an excitement and enthusiasm over the things that are exciting and valuable to his family. He celebrates and shows excitement about their life and their destiny.
A father’s love is shown through an abiding relationship with his family. We were created by God to be in relationship with Him – to be His sons and daughters – so that He could bestow on us the inheritance of His Kingdom. God’s greatest desire was to show His love toward us by giving us a relationship with Him, not just gifts and pleasures. Sin separated us from that relationship but God’s love for us was so great that He gave Jesus to restore that relationship with Him. A father who truly loves his wife and children loves them through relationship. It is relationship that wraps it all together. Love must be given through relationship and not just an event or a check mark on “to do” list.
In looking at this acrostic I realize that this doesn’t just apply to fathers but to all who call themselves Christians. I also realize the many times that I fall short of these ideals. Only our Heavenly Father fulfills these attributes perfectly and constantly. Yet even in our weaknesses and shortcomings, He still calls us to show acts of love beyond a card or gift on a special day.
My prayer for you is that in this month, and the months that follow, that you will be filled with both giving and receiving love. I pray that you reach the hearts of those you love with your faithfulness, accessibility, tenderness, honor, excitement, through genuine relationship with you. And the card and candy are a nice touch. =)