7 Characteristics of a Godly Dad | The Journey of Fatherhood

Fatherhood is a character-shaping journey. It is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. It is not about being perfect. Rather it invites God to sanctify you. Becoming the godly dad God designed you to be is a process. Your identity in Jesus is cultivated as you allow God to work through you on the journey of fatherhood. As a godly dad, you plant seeds of faith in your children so they will come to know who they are in Christ.

  • The key to becoming a godly dad is to know that your identity rests in Jesus, and your purpose is to teach your kids their identity in Him. 

7 Characteristics of a Godly Dad

1. A Godly Dad Knows His Identity Is in Christ

What does God say about you? Have you ever thought about this? In Christ, you are saved, redeemed, blessed, adopted, predestined, forgiven, and much more. This is the place to start when you are on your fatherhood journey.

Whenever you feel lost or attacked in your fatherly responsibilities, pause and reflect on your identity. Your identity–who God says you are in His Word–is part of the belt of truth that holds up the rest of your armor. Because fathers are so critical to families and societies, the enemy attacks them in specific ways. 

  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV) says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 
  • Ephesians 6:14-16 says, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
  • Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.”

One of the fiery arrows Satan releases goes straight to your identity. If he can get you to doubt your identity, he can get you to doubt God and His plans for you. Pause and reflect on who you are in Christ. 

A godly dad taking time to read to his daughter.

2. A Godly Dad Leans on God’s Word

As a father, do you feel you have to have all the answers? The good news is you don’t have to. You aren’t supposed to! Your role is to point your children to the One who does and to show them where to go for answers in their time of need—God’s Word. 

  • James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 
  • Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God wants you to ask Him for wisdom in fatherhood. He also wants to use you as a vessel to teach your children where to go when they need wisdom. 

3. A Godly Dad Prays for His Children

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, all you can do now is pray,” as if prayer is the last resort? We challenge you to make praying for your children a priority. In your flesh, you want to control and worry. Praying for your children releases both of these burdens to Christ. Surrendering in prayer stops the enemy from tying you down with fear. 

  • Luke 18:1 says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart…”
  • Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…”
  • 1 Timothy 2:8 says, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting…”

Pray for God’s will to be done in your children’s lives. Give thanks for what He is already doing and how He will bring to completion the good work He has planned for them.

4. A Godly Dad Leads by Example

We’ve all heard, “Do as I say, not as I do” and “Actions speak louder than words.” So which is it—words or actions? In short, it is both. But how you live is proof of who you put your faith in. Kids watch how their parents handle times of stress and joy and repeat their actions and words. 

  • Proverbs 23:26 says, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”
  • Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
  • 1 Peter 5:6-8 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Think about moments of joy and stress in your life. Act in accordance with what you want your children to see. When frustrated, pray. When joyful, praise. There will be times of frustration and joy when you won’t immediately praise God. However, as soon the Spirit leads you, turn to God in those moments. Your children will start to notice. Then they, too, will learn where to turn in times of stress and who to praise in times of joy. 

5. A Godly Dad Seizes Teaching Moments

Teaching moments partner with leading by example. Situations of worry, stress, joy, and celebration are all teaching moments the Lord uses to shape you. He invites you to take advantage of teaching moments for your children. 

If your child is going through a difficult situation at school or with a sibling, resist the urge to jump in and solve the problem for them. Shepherd their hearts so they will know what to do when a similar situation comes up again. 

  • Isaiah 54:13 says, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
  • John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

In a tough situation, ask your children if they know what God’s Word says on the matter. If not, that’s okay. Another teaching moment just presented itself. It’s an opportunity to look at what the Bible says together. 

The enemy will try to pit your children against you or you against your children. Don’t fall into the trap. Remember, you are on the same team. And your goal is to train them up in the ways of God. You have the fruit of the Spirit, which includes patience, gentleness, and self-control. 

A dad happily reading to his daughter outside, showing characteristics of a godly dad.

6. A Godly Dad Encourages Children to Look to Jesus for Identity

The older your children get, the more activities they will be involved in: soccer, football, gymnastics, music, and the list goes on. These activities and their accomplishments and school will vie for their attention. The enemy will want these things to become their identity. 

  • Ephesians 6:4 says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
  • Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
  • Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

As a godly dad, whatever your children’s activities or accomplishments, encourage them to always look to Jesus as the One who tells them who they are.  Teach your children they are the light of the world and to seek His kingdom first. Tell them God loves them as a perfect Father and is with them as a friend. 

Can activities encourage them in their faith? Sure! They teach children to stay true to their word, work hard, and finish what they start. The key is to always look to Jesus. Teach them to stand in their identity in Christ rather than their position on the team. If they are nervous before going out on stage, teach them to pray and ask for peace from the Prince of Peace.  

7. A Godly Dad Tells Children Who Has Ultimate Authority

Whose you are defines who you are. You act in accordance with the One you belong to. If you believe you belong to the Creator of the world, you will submit and surrender to His ways. 

The same principle applies to your children. Knowing God’s authority places His opinion and Word above all else.

  • Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
  • Psalm 119:160 says, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
  • Matthew 28:18 says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”

Let your children know your role as a parent is to be used by God—the One with ultimate authority—to raise them up in a way to see Him as a loving Father, Savior, and Counselor. If they understand God’s authority, they will trust in His Word in the midst all the noise in the world. 

How the Enemy Attacks Godly Dads

There are many ways the enemy attacks godly dads. Below are 3 common lies.

Never Make Mistakes! 

The enemy will condemn you for making a mistake. But God will teach you in the midst of them. He will show you that He is strong when you are weak. Mistakes are opportunities for you to grow as a godly dad and show your children that growing in faith is a life-long journey. 

Never Ask for Help!

Are you one of those guys who won't ask for directions? Fatherhood is a journey that requires help and direction, so go ahead and pause when you need help. Ask someone to come alongside you in prayer. Speak to your wife or a friend about the help you need. Ask them to hold you accountable. You aren’t meant to do fatherhood alone. 

Never Pray for Yourself or Your Wife! 

Do you need increased patience or encouragement? God wants to hear about your need. Above, we mentioned praying for your children, but you need to pray for yourself and your wife too. You two are a couple designed to lead a team. Pray for God to establish the works of your hands and to speak to your wife so she can be a voice of truth to you. 

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In Summary

Fathers, you are critical to raising children! God is shaping you to become a godly dad so you can…

  • Help your children understand their identity in Christ
  • Give them godly advice 
  • Encourage them to seek Jesus in all things

The characteristics of a godly dad are formed and shaped over time. God doesn’t expect perfection. He invites you to join Him on the journey of raising up the next generation. Start with knowing who you are. Then you can pass on Biblical truth to your children by leading, praying, teaching, and encouraging.  

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