On Sonship (Part III)

The last few weeks we’ve been discussing the implications of sonship.  You can catch up with us by reading Part I and Part II.

Sonship requires one thing: effective fathering.  If you have been fathered well, you will be both a legitimate son and a legitimate father down the road.  If you have been fathered poorly, you will operate out of an orphan mentality.  That orphan mentality not only affects your time as a son, it affects your time as a father as well.  This is a hard truth to hear, but our entire lives are lived based on the degree of fathering we have received.

Sons live this reality out on a daily basis.  A well fathered son is confident in his dad’s love.  There’s a reason—the son did nothing to earn that love.  He was brought into this world through the love of the father and he has been pursued as an individual by his father. Good fathers pursue their sons.  This consistent love creates a sense of identity- the son belongs to his father’s family and he wouldn’t trade that position for anything the world can offer.

Sons also are the recipients of generations of wisdom that comes from their fathers. Well-fathered sons not only benefit from the wisdom that has been passed from father to son over generations, but they pass it on themselves.  This may seem like a small thing but it’s one of the most undervalued aspects of father-son relationships.  Sons who couldn’t or wouldn’t take their fathers’ wisdom spend years of their life rebelling against aspects of life that will not change.  If they are wise enough to change, they then spend massive amounts of time learning from hard knocks what could have been taught to them by a voice of experience.

Sonship not only comes with love and privileges, but also responsibility. Father’s teach their sons that they have a role to play in a growing family that requires sacrifice and dedication.  We understand some of this naturally, but much of it is taught by fathers who care enough to teach the meaning of responsibility and work.  Sons begin to understand they are not just an object of affection, but a participant in their family’s existence.  This realm of responsibility is developed in a son by a father exercising discipline.  Discipline can be both positive and negative experiences (which is a whole other blog post in itself) but they create an internal motivation to care for self and family in a child that is self-replicating.  That means a son will grow up and teach the same principles to his son after him, hopefully for many generations.

What happens if this process is aborted and a son is not well-fathered?  Unless there is some form of intervention, a son will begin to operate as an orphan.  This orphan mentality will cause an individual to lose all sense of self-worth and identity.  Even if a son is successful, he will constantly be insecure and need to prove himself over and over again to those around him.  The son operating as an orphan will neglect and reject wisdom from all sources of authority, because the main authorities in his life have rejected him.  He will walk in foolishness, unable to hear hard words that come packaged in love as anything other than rejection.  He will be responsible to only himself. His self discipline will be minimal and there will be areas of his life constantly spinning out of control.  He may sire children but he will never father them.  While he hates being an orphan he will only create more orphans just like himself.

We are facing a generation full of men and women in their twenties and thirties consumed in these realities.  Their parents were part of a generation consumed with throwing off authority and living for themselves, and very few of this generation are well-fathered.  Because of this reality they lack identity, wisdom, and discipline.  Yet this is the very generation that will be leading the world and serving the church. (If you want to see a great example of how this plays out in the secular arena, read this article here.) Because of this crisis, the reality of our sonship in Christ will take on great significance in the years ahead.

We’ll look at God’s answer for the oprhan spirit in weeks to come.  For now, tell us how God has given you these qualities of identity, wisdom, and discipline.  Did they come from your father or someone else? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Father and Son Surf Lesson in Morro Bay, CA by Mike Baird


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

5 responses to “On Sonship (Part III)”

  1. Bryan Hamilton says :

    ouch but good…

    • traviskolder says :


      Thanks for the comment. My hope is that this is more than just painful, but that it pushes all of us to understand the perils of not living out our sonship.

      The hope now is to talk about how God legitimizes and raises true sons. More to come…

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. On Sonship (Part IV) « Pursuing Glory - February 16, 2011
  2. On Sonship (Part VI) « Pursuing Glory - March 2, 2011
  3. On Sonship (Part VII) « Pursuing Glory - July 27, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: