Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Column-RobisonStatistics show that 34 percent of American children live apart from their fathers, and half of all children will be fatherless at some point during childhood.

I grew up without a father figure, but at a young age God took me under His wing. By His power, I escaped many negative effects of fatherlessness but still bore some scars. I never heard, “That’s good, son. Nice catch. Nice throw. Nice anything.”

God created us in His image to be His children. In the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed intimate fellowship with their Father and lived under His care. Then the deceiver enticed them. The children bought the lie and forfeited the relationship. They were suddenly afraid of their Father and foolishly tried to cover their shame with mere fig leaves. This was the first futile attempt on the part of fallen man to deal with the sinful, adverse effect of being deceived by the father of lies.

God the Father immediately put a plan in motion to restore mankind to intimate fellowship with Himself. He set out to establish a family of faith through whom He could bless the nations of the world. These chosen children of God would reveal the heavenly Father to fallen humanity.

Ever since the fall, the enemy has continually sought to deceive people. Many have chosen to live as orphans without knowing a personal relationship with the only perfect Father. As a result, failure to know the Father has led to fatherless families and nations.

Just like Israel in the Old Testament, America is seeking the wrong solution to a serious dilemma. Fatherless people keep asking for a king because, as with Israel, everyone is doing what is right in their own sight (Judg. 21:25). What we all need is the King (Jesus), who will show us the Father. No religion, ritual, tradition or idol can substitute for this King.

In the U.S., millions of citizens attempt to find the missing father by: 1) seeking the approval of others, when only God’s approval will suffice; 2) engaging in compulsive behaviors and addictions that prove to be a tragic substitute; 3) becoming pleasure-seekers, only to find themselves still empty; 4) joining something (a team, club, gang, religious group or church) to find a sense of family or belonging; or 5) depending on an over-reaching, out-of-control federal government. But there is no substitute for Father God.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus exhorts us to seek first the kingdom of God above all else and to live righteously, and that He will provide everything we need. In the same chapter, He tells us that if God cares for the birds of the air and lilies of the field, He will surely care for those who choose to be His children rather than live as orphans.

Many churches are filled with people who have an orphan mentality. Jesus pointed to the solution when He said, “I have revealed the Father. If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen Him” (John 14:9). The Father in heaven loves us so much that He gave His own Son to redeem us. He calls us by name!

I personally understand the negative effects of fatherlessness. Being born of a forced sexual relationship to a single woman and living without a father did damage to me as a boy and as a human being. All the efforts to fill that vacuum with any source other than a relationship with God were in vain. When I gave my life to Jesus, He redeemed me, and I began moving from an orphan mentality to understanding what it means to be a child of God, my loving Father.

The most important contribution parents can make in a child’s life is to point them to our Father in heaven. By God’s grace, our three children looked beyond this father to see the Father and fell in love with Him. As a result, they’ve been effective parents and have pointed their own children to the Father. Given my childhood background, it’s a miracle to see God’s hand at work in my family.

There is only one way to fill the gaping hole created by fatherlessness in the human heart, and that’s with the presence of the living God. When you put Jesus in charge, you will be fatherless no more.

James Robison is president of LIFE Outreach International in Fort Worth, Texas. He grew up without a father but discovered the joy of knowing his heavenly Father at age 15. In ministry for 50 years, James has written numerous books, including his latest, God of All Creation, which celebrates his love for pets and wildlife. To read his weekly commentaries, visit jamesrobison.net.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders