When you look at the feature image what do you see? A bible, a sword? Perhaps like me you see two swords. One to symbolize the combat faced in the world physically and one to combat the world spiritually. These are the tools of a watchman. These are the tools of a Christian. They are the tools of a faithful father who must guard his family against intrusion from enemies in both a physical world and the spiritual world. They are the tools he can and should use to educate his family for the now and for eternity.
“Be Watchful.” the Bible shows us in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 and when I attended Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory I had a chance to gain a deeper understanding of these verses. This monthly seminar that culminated in a retreat (I could not attend unfortunately) was a 6 Sunday study base don James McDonald’s ‘Act Like Men‘ book. It’s also something I think is important to touch upon in our Faithful Father Series as we are charged with protecting our family.
Did you know that one of the first sins man committed was not being watchful? In Genesis 2:15 God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and Adam’s duty was to work it and keep it. Naturally, we assume the plants and animals but this includes all things in the garden. Including Adam himself and his helper, Eve. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
Adam’s duty was to protect God’s creation and yet he failed. He allowed Eve to eat the only fruit God had forbade them to eat. Not only did he allow but he participated. He was watchful but certainly not in the way God intended. He was not vigilant in his duty.
Being watchful is an exercise in God’s command to be vigilant against the enemy. In the first epistle of Peter we are told frankly (and people say the Bible is a mystery!) that we need to be watchful of the devil and what happens if we do not (1 Peter 5:8-10). Yet it also tells us the rewards we will receive if we are.
Watchman and Education
Part of being a faithful father is teaching our children about the Trinity and the importance it has in our lives. The reality is that our children are never one hundred percent under our watch. It is our duty to prepare them for this world in more than just education. Painting a rainbows and butterflies picture of the world sets a child up for failure. We have to find a balance between allowing them to experience life and protecting them from harm. One of the hardest things to do is allow your child to fail but it is also a chance to teach them that failure is an event that happens to everyone except God. It is an event that does not mean the end but is a chance to learn, implement new methods and to try again.
The Bible is full of great failures and then those who failed are given a chance to rebound. Often times when they have put their faith in God, they do. Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, and more. All men we consider great examples of sinners turned to God who did great works. All men who, had they given up would be but a vague mentioning and an almost forgotten memory.
Moses was a watchman of God’s chosen, the Israelite’s. He was charged with keeping them safe and turned to God during the exodus from Egypt. When they faltered God gave Moses the Ten Commandments to give them an understanding of God’s desire for them. David, Jonah and Peter were all men who God wanted to use as watchmen who would protect his people or warn them. Each stumbled and each also ran. They also found out that you cannot hide from God. They ran out of fear of the wrath God could have laid on them. What they really found was that God is forgiving in ways man can not even imagine.
That is something we should be teaching our children isn’t it? Unexpected grace. It is not something we just have in us, it is something learned. Even now I have to remind myself that how my children perceive life is so innocent and that when they do wrong it usually is not out of maleficent desire. They fear disappointing us but when we use it as a chance to show them that even in anger we can find compassion to let that anger flow away we show them that a response of fighting fire with fire is not the sole solution to their problems.
The Watchman has Long Term Goals
We can cover physical protection another day and we will, however the protection of the soul takes precedence. Our bodies are husks when we die and while we will do our best to preserve them until that time comes we need to cement our eternity more. We should teach our children to embrace God in a way that does not invoke fear of Him. The image of a Catholic nun going ham on a kid with a stick comes to mind. That is what we do not want to do.
I can’t give you a 10 step to salvation plan because I’m not God. I’m not even a pastor. I’m a guy who loves God, loves people, and wants men to embrace their heavenly father; then use that to empower their families for long term growth under God’s love and righteousness. My wife often calls me crazy for my long term planning and maybe she is right but one thing I know she appreciates is the time I take to talk to the kids about God and how our faith affects us long term.
Planning is Biblical (Proverbs 19:2, Luke 14:28) and it requires time, thought, patience and desire. The time I take to talk about the Bible with our children is being invested in who they are. It helps me plant long term growth in their lives and prepare them in ways that the world doesn’t teach. We have to teach our household to seek the Lord in all things and especially in times of weakness.
We should not just pour the word of God in to our children and friends but the most important vessel in our home, our wife. If she is the crown of our household then the care we take for our children, the desire to share God with our children, the exercises in devotion to her should be ten-fold that. Children are an amazing blessing from God but the relationship with our spouse is paramount to anything this world offers. A family, like a bridge, is only as strong as its supports and the parents together make a formidable pillar (Luke 11:17).
God has given us the tools to protect our family in all the ways that we need to. Becoming lazy and allowing your swords to rust does not just affect you. It affects all of the souls under your roof. Every person you love suffers when you do not provide direction or leadership in your home. Sometimes it will feel like a never ending loop when your children are tattling on one another but loving them in those difficult times is how you make progress in mindfulness. It is a chance to teach them why they won’t become more favorable because of ratting out one another.
Proverbs 27:17 is an often quoted verse about accountability among men. It is a fantastic and simple direction God has given us. It is also hard to follow because in the eight words of that verse we are to open ourselves up to others. Not in just a friendly manner but to reveal our heart, our dreams and our sin. That last bit is what men struggle with. It’s what every person who knows God or wants to know God struggles with. Recrimination is a terrible thing and it is not for a Christian to ridicule a person who has come to them and shared their sins. Instead we seek to help and prevent the continuation of the sin.
Iron sharpening iron means we seek men to help build one another together. This is why Just Hold Fast exists and why I open myself up every time I write here. I want to help, I want to be helped. A rusty blade is more dangerous than a sharp one because it is unwieldy and causes unintended damage. A sharp blade is an instrument of surgical precision allowing the warrior to defend what is his by God’s grace.
We need to be watchful that our walls are not broken and when that happens, because it will, we seek to mend them quickly and then fortify them to prevent it from occurring in the same manner.