The first man who really showed the love of Christ—who showed me what the love of our Heavenly Father looks like—was my chaplain at Arkansas State, Chuck McElroy. He was the one who led me to Christ and continued to disciple me. The way Chuck ran his household, loved his wife and kids, and lived his life for the glory of God was unlike anything I had seen or experienced before.
Immediately I knew Chuck was different. Being from the south, I was used to experiencing racism. Chuck was the first white man to want to invest in me, bring me (and my friends) into his home for dinner, and take me out to lunch just to spend time with me. He was such a light to me; witnessing his actions and lifestyle changed my life, making me want to emulate that to others. He had other men in his life that poured into him and held him accountable, he had a wife and children who loved Jesus, and even loved me. This was all so very different from the world I knew, but I wanted to have it.
It’s amazing to see that taking place in my own life today. I now have a wonderful wife and kids who love the Lord as I do. We also see so many of our friends and old college teammates who are giving their lives to Jesus, getting married, and having families. My wife and I want to be a light to other couples and families in the way that the McElroys were to me. We want to pour out our lives to others as we have been poured into.
As we seek to understand the love of Christ more and what that looks like in our home, we are very intentional about raising our kids in that light. My wife and I have always made praying for our children a high priority; we started this when they were in the womb. We prayed that they would be active in the church, following Christ, and changing the world for the Kingdom. We have always known that our kids are not our own; they are God’s children.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” —Proverbs 22:6
Our prayer for our children is that they understand and know the love of Christ in their own lives. But it’s very hard to raise Godly children if you don’t live a Godly life 24/7. Kids are going to pick up everything that you portray in your own life so I always try to represent Christ by how I love my wife and each one of my kids.
Being a father who represents Christ to his kids means loving them as Christ loves the Church; it’s about being willing and ready to lay down your life for them. Jesus gave everything up for the Church; likewise, a father needs to be willing to give up everything for his wife and kids. I try to make decisions based on what God wants for them, instead of what I want for them. There’s a lot of responsibility in marriage and parenthood. It’s hard. But there is a lot of reward. There’s nothing on earth more rewarding than a loving wife and Godly children.
Demario Davis is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Demario’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/demario-davis/
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