I long to be part of a band of extraordinary brothers; I want to belong to a powerful company of superheroes. All fathers are designed to be leaders with amazing valor, unusual courage, extravagant kindness, and unwavering strength. Over the years I have attended many funerals where folks spoke of their fathers and brothers in such terms,
although in their lives their fathers seemed quite average. I have witnessed sons, daughters and grandchildren speak of their fathers as though they were knights and princes, and I believe their words were true. I know many fathers who are already superheroes. It is often not noticed while they are alive, because although we admire them greatly, we actually expect nothing different from them than their very best. What is it that makes a father a superhero? Before we plunge into the subject, let me say that this article is not a condemnation aimed at fathers who have missed the mark. Men of God: no matter where you are today, or what you have done in the past, it is not too late to be a superhero. I want to encourage you to be such a man that your children will bless you and your grandchildren will praise you. Why not live a life worthy of the highest honors?
An Example of Superheroes
I love the story of the three Hebrew youths who, along with Daniel, defied the orders of a wicked king. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were slaves in the land of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar built an idol of gold 90 feet high and 9 feet wide, and commanded everyone to bow and worship it. The three Jewish men refused and were told, that if they did not comply, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Here are their words, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know , O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Dan. 3:16-18
I am sure you know the story. The king was furious and ordered the furnace to be stoked until it became seven times hotter. Then the strongest soldiers were ordered to throw
the young Hebrew men into the fire. A wave of heat burst from the flames and instantly killed the soldiers and the three prisoners fell into the fire. Then a miracle happened. The young men stood to their feet and started to walk around in the flames. Nebuchadnezzar jumped up and asked his counselors if indeed they had thrown three men into the furnace. They confirmed his word and Nebuchadnezzar shouted,
“Look, I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the son of the gods.” Dan. 3:25
When the king called them out, he and all of the officials noticed that their bodies were not harmed, their hair was not singed, their robes were not burned, and they did not even smell of smoke. Then Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and declared death to anyone who would speak against their God. Furthermore, he promoted the three young men, even advancing their authority in the province of Babylon.
No doubt, in the eyes of many, those young men rose that day to superhero status. The truth is that many godly fathers in America today would do just as they did. They would never serve a demon or worship a false god or idol.
We do not see ourselves as heroes, but if God protected us in such a miraculous way as he did with the Hebrews, we would be seen as superheroes. It is not that hard; in fact, it is normal for God’s people to shine in this fashion.
Fathers, I exhort you to do what these men did. Here are the five dynamics of a godly, father-superhero.
Steps for Godly Superheroes
1. Conviction but not Legalism
Fathers need the conviction to say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The Hebrews requested release from eating food at the king’s table because it included food forbidden by God for Jews. They were put to the test and released. Then they would not worship the idol. They were given opportunity to compromise and be politically correct in Babylon. If they would comply they would avoid the furnace, but they would not. They stood by their convictions, even in the face of death. In our society, we would be more popular if we did not stand up for the unborn child, or not declare that marriage is only between a man and a woman. It is easier for us not to go to church when we are tired or if we want to go on a picnic instead. Fathers, I am counting on you to lead with conviction. Be a superhero.
This does not mean control or legalism toward others. The Hebrews did not insist that everyone should eat like them. When children are very young they need strict guidelines mixed with lots of relational time and love. But be careful whom you allow them to befriend and to whose home they go to for fun. As they get older and become teens, we loosen the reins, but only as they can be trusted. Even then, there should always be curfews and godly guidelines. As long as they live under your roof, no matter how old they are, they should not bring ungodly things into the house, nor be allowed to live sinful lives in your home, nor to miss church. Your house must always be a home of godly behavior. Do not put strict rules on your children that are religious, but not biblical. Then when they leave home, they must be released to live according to their own judgments.
2. Excellence and Hard Work
The three Hebrews demonstrated hard work and excellence in everything they did. They were chosen for training in the king’s government before they even came to Babylon. Then they were trained for three years. They had a strong work ethic; they were not lazy or distracted from this work mandate. Fathers, rise up to be the same as these heroes. Work hard and insist that your children do the same.
3. Service and Compassion to Others
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego served the king and those around them, even though they were in a wicked environment. Fathers, if you are generous, serving, and compassionate, it will rub off on your children. Being a superhero always requires sacrifice. You should insist upon some family serving activities and lots of serving around the home. Your example is vital.
4. Implement Boundaries
Convictions are great but we need to go a step further. As individuals and families, there are lines we should never cross. Pornography, sexual exploration outside of marriage, lying, cursing, cheating on our tax returns, not attending church, or not paying our tithes are some lines we should not cross. We never have our fortunes told or participate in any form of witchcraft, we never take any illegal drugs, and we do not bring abominable things into our home lest we become like them. All of these things are addictive and those who cross these lines almost always get sucked in. Be a superhero and walk with God, where He walks.
5. Fathers Take the Godly Lead
When we see weakness, lack of authority, and children falling away from God in the church, it is often due to fathers not taking their place as spiritual leaders in the family. Mothers are leading and many are doing a great job, but we will not see revival or a Christian revolution in our nation until fathers take their place. It is time for men to rise up and shine in the service of the King.
Men, if you are like me, you want to belong to a team of superheroes. I want to look down the line and see strong, responsible men, full of the Holy Spirit, standing shoulder to shoulder with me. Please don’t let me down. I’m looking for extraordinary strength, valor, compassion, holiness, and generosity. I long to be part of a company of soldiers that I can be proud of. I see many, but I am looking for thousands more. Come on men, let’s be part of a magnificent team of Holy Spirit superheroes!