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For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers.
(1 Cor. 4:15)
Fathers, like instructors, teach by precept, but they do more than that. Through example, they impart their character to their children and, in the process, reproduce children in their own image.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness."

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image and named him Seth.
(Gen. 1:26; 5:3)
When God made humans, He created them not only in His likeness but also in His image. In my interpretation of the Word, "likeness" refers to physical appearance, but I believe "image" refers to inward nature and character.

So after creating man, God gave Adam His same ability. When his son Seth was born, he was not just physically the "likeness" of Adam, he also grew into his "image," adopting his inward character and habits of life.

This happens by example and is undoubtedly the most powerful force that a spiritual (or natural) father has at his disposal to shape the lives of his children.

"...I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me" (1 Cor. 4:15-16). The father purposely teaches by example, not just by precept.

"Timothy, my son...will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church" (1 Cor. 4:17 NIV). Paul said, "My life and my teaching agree!" To be a true father in the Lord, this is essential.

Thank about parents who say to their children, "Do as I say, not as I do." Children generally do as their parents say when they are in their parents' presence, but they do as their parents do when they are not being observed.

I can see myself in all three of my children, which is both rewarding and sobering! They unconsciously follow the example that I set for them!

All of my children are involved in different athletic activities, so as a family, we spend a lot of time at baseball games, soccer matches, etc. On occasion, while attending one of these events, we witness someone's child swearing at an umpire and throwing things because he doesn't agree with a call that has been made.

And invariably, if you wait awhile, you will also see the father doing the same thing because that is generally how the boy learned it. He has just grown up into the "image" of his father by following his example.

In Acts 7:51, Stephen told the Jews, " your fathers did, so do you." According to Ezekiel, Israel ended in spiritual ruin because "...their eyes were fixed on their fathers' idols" (Ezek. 20:24).

It was true of the people in Ezekiel's day, and it is true of people today.

Copyright © The Miracle of Mentoring by Bayless Conley
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Bayless Conley
Web site: Cottonwood Church
Bayless Conley is a pastor and speaker known for his clear presentation of the Gospel and the way he applies the life-changing truth of God's Word to everyday life. It's this same truth that radically turned his life around when a 12-year-old boy shared the Gospel with him many years ago. Bayless' unique background and remarkable testimony have enabled him to reach a diverse audience of people globally. In 1979, God called Bayless to share His Word on television, and in 1984, the broadcast was launched. Today, the Answers with Bayless Conley broadcast is impacting lives around the world in numerous languages.

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