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Learning to be a spiritual father

I went to a Jason Upton concert over the weekend. He talked a lot about his little boy and sang, “I don’t know how to be a father.” Who does? Once the Lord told me, “This is a fatherless generation.” If you look at the stats, you see that more than half the dads are AWOL. One of my chil…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I went to a Jason Upton concert over the weekend. He talked a lot about his little boy and sang, “I don’t know how to be a father.”

Who does? Once the Lord told me, “This is a fatherless generation.” If you look at the stats, you see that more than half the dads are AWOL.

One of my children wrote a screen saver for my computer: “I love you daddy.” It reminds me of the special relationship I have with my children. All their lives I’ve been their protector, friend and counselor. I know them better than they know themselves. I sacrifice for them. I help them navigate the tricky parts of their lives.

So when we talk about being a spiritual father, we call up images that resonate in the chambers of our hearts. Paul says, “Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers.” (1 Cor. 4:15)

A while back God spoke to me (it sounds like He speaks to me a lot, but mostly I’m frustrated He doesn’t speak more) and said, “You can either be a manager or a father, you choose.”

I said, “Lord, I want to be a father.” With Upton, I’m still learning how to do that.

Comments (8)

  • Seth,

    Hey Dads: you really need look no further than to Jesus for a Father-model. It is He who said, “When you see Me, you’ve seen our Father. What I say are our Father’s words. The things I do are our Father’s works.”

    Yes, I too am part of that company of dads still learning to follow. Praise Him for He has been both kind and patient as I continue to get a clue!

  • Speaking as a single mom, I would like to thank all the Godly men I know, men like Seth and the others in my life and church that pick up the slack where the absent fathers leave off. I am thankful that my kids have men who are able to love anyones kids as their own. It makes teaching my kids that God is the greatest Father ever alot easier when there are good examples in their lives. Thanks again!

  • Seth,

    Jason Upton huh? What an awesome worship leader. I was at a conference in Canada in January right before we flew back. He led worship, but he also led one of the sessions. Great insight for a young man.

    As to fathers: I think in raising my kids I vacilated between manager (or facilitator/enabler) and father. Since God has allowed me another chance with our 2-year old African son, I hope to not stray from the father role as often.

    Maybe the LORD will entrust many more to us here.

  • Amen Steve! there are certainly a great many African children who need a daddy’s love (and a mom’s love too).

  • Spiritual Fathers…one word comes to my mind…TIME! Time with Father God & Jesus, and time with spiritual sons and daughters. I believe being a father or dad as I really like to call it involves being involved with a young person’s life-time. I believe a spiritul father makes time for what matters – interesting we all do make time for what we really want, or what matters to us. We have a generation of fatherless kids spiritually speaking, and they are not just the youth of today – it is epidemic in the church. Sadly, many christian fathers do not know how to “father” resulting in many spiritual orphans – hallelujah! He is a Father to the fatherless! Let’s be dads of Christ for his glory! We all need it!

  • A question to Jason Upton…

    Are you adopted? How does that affect your relationship with Christ and how you came to where you are today?

    Yes. I think with adoption, in a tangible way I learned how to receive spiritual fathering and mothering. When you are adopted you all of a sudden are brought up by two people that say, we’re your parents and they care for you. In the church there are so many things that we can learn and digest from people if we will receive fathering and mothering and nurturing. I think that had a major impact, I had a lot of spiritual fathers, again and again, look how many times you have been adopted. The lord just has a way of taking people, just because I was adopted and an orphan for a season, God has way of doing something significant. I think there are some special things in my life just because I was adopted. I have never really been asked that question, but I think that is one of the answers. I don’t understand it all, but it is kind of like God just says okay, there are your circumstances and this is where you are and I am going to pour a special grace on your life, it is a gift from God.

    REF: http://www.alphaomeganews.org/features/01/sep/jason_upton.html

  • Steve,

    It was a blessing to read this post, years after you posted it. I once told my (natural) dad, “You treat me more like an employee than a son!” So I witness to what the lord said to you, that you can either be a father or a manager.

    Since then I have begun discovering the joys of being fathered spiritually and have somebody speak the words of a father to me prophetically within a covenant relationship. In the process I’ve also come closer to my natural father (although I don’t think he truly understands the significance of what’s happening).



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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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