Seven Qualities of an Effective Father – Part Four

Effective Father Quality #4: An effective father commits himself to his children

1 Timothy 3:4-5 says that a church leader must be committed to his wife and children above the church. This is God’s way of informing fathers that they must be wholly committed to his family, which includes his children.

The word ‘commitment’, when used in the Bible, means “to give, hand over, entrust”. Fundamentally, when God allows a husband to become a father, He desires the dad to give himself to his children doing whatever is necessary to help them to grow and mature.

The National Center for Fathering gives a three-part definition of a father’s commitment. First, a father claims his children as his own. Secondly, a father resolves to act as their child’s father. And thirdly, a father fulfills his commitment daily.

God the Father was committed to His Son, Jesus. Matthew 3:16-17 says, “ And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

In Matthew 3:16-17, we can see the three-part definition of a fatherly commitment. 

In verse 17, we see God the Father claimed Jesus as His Son. He said, “This is my beloved Son…” He told the whole world that Jesus was His Son. 

In verse 16, God the Father showed His resolve to act His Son’s Father. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower His Son’s ministry on earth. 

In verse 16, we also see God the Father’s daily commitment to His Son through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s important to note that the Holy Spirit is not a surrogate father. The presence of the Holy Spirit is tantamount to having the Father present. 

Here are three questions* to give you feedback on your commitment level as a father. 

  1. Have you consciously and verbally claimed your children?
  2. Have you consciously and verbally resolved yourself to action on their behalf?
  3. Are you regularly investing your time, energy, and resources in their lives, in a proportion fitting their high place on your list of priorities?

Here are six questions* to test your level of commitment.

  1. Do you pursue your commitment aggressively, thinking about it and verbalizing it to your children?
  2. Do you monitor your motivation level to see if your commitment is slipping?
  3. Do you seek out resources to help you maintain your motivation, such as getting together with other fathers?
  4. Do you consciously try to conceive of your fathering in task-oriented terms and apply the same standards of excellence in the home that you do in the office?
  5. Do you draw confidence from your title and position as father?
  6. Does your commitment and motivation rise when you encounter fathering challenges?

Commitment is a powerful thing. Our children know whether or not we are committed to them. They see it and they feel it. When commitment is present, our children know that they are loved. That’s one of the reasons why commitment is so powerful.

Something to think about… 


*Citation: Ken R. Canfield, The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1992, p. 43.