Fathers: Our Weary Soldiers.
The Tired Soldier.
Fathers, Our Weary Soldiers
The foundational boundary of the conscience, for every generation, has been set in place by their father’s generation. Each generation rebels against that boundary to some degree. When left to run its course, morality declines over time.
Things have a way of decaying over time. I have noticed that my eye sight is not what it used to be. I need to make karate sound to stand up, my beard is turning gray, and the bold spot on the back of my head is bigger. I am aging. With that, I am no longer a revolutionary, metaphorically speaking. I lost the desire to change the world. I have learned to pick my battles and am willing to make some compromises. Some would say I have gotten wise, that age has tempered my character and softened some of my rough edges. But if you ask me, I feel tired and worn out. My bones hurt and I am scarred from combat. True, I am more cautious and easier to get along with. Perhaps I have learned restraint and temperance. Never the less, there are those times when I wonder if I have simply lost the strength to fight and the will to win.
In light of this reality, I recognize that I must fight on. For the war is not over and I still have many battles ahead. The ones that involve my children take the most out of me. Leaving me emotionally drained, leaning against my sword trying to catch my breath. One particular battle is especially bloody and time consuming. This cunning adversary constantly lays siege around my walls and bashes against my gates. I have come to see this enemy as a dragon whose desire is the hearts and minds of my children. He leaves me breathless and bloody, looking here and there for ways to compromise. Yet, on this field of combat compromise can’t be tolerated. In the heat of the battle when my arms and back ache from swinging my sword and the burning breath of my enemy has, for the umpteenth time, nearly consumed me. I am tempted to step aside, to surrender little areas of morality. In those moments I long to sit down and rest, to take off my heavy armor. However, the dragon does not rest and compromise is the bread he feeds on. If I look away for one moment he will devour me and those I defend.
I have learned the hard way, if I give an inch, he will take a mile.
My children are constantly testing my moral resolve. The older they get the more steadfast I must be. I am constantly holding back the tide of moral decay. Out of my love for them, I call them back, reminding them that there is a God and that he orders our path according to his judgment. I have written on their hearts His Words. I have exampled and instructed them in His righteousness. They know the difference between Good and Evil. But despite my best efforts, they constantly test the boundaries that I live by and have set for them. Between the ages of 16 and 25 my children begin to questioning everything I do. They often crash through my most sacred boundaries. Then they look at me with arrogant eyes and say, I will decide for myself. All I can do is cringe when the consequence of their rebellion scars their soul.
I don’t resent my children’s testing. I completely understand their desire to stand on their own moral feet. I did the same things to my father. I tested his resolve and moral judgment. Sadly, I too railed against his standard and even bashed through a few. I discovered the hard way that he knew what he was doing. I now understand that my sense of good and evil is self serving. I have returned to the safety of my father’s boundaries and find myself patrolling in his place. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. I pray for the day that my children will turn from the desires of their fallen nature and seek the heart of God.
Maturity is esteeming others above one’s self. It is doing right, not out of the fear of reproof or for prides sake, but out of the love of right and a desire to please God. It is doing right when no one is looking, and it is refusing to do wrong even if it seems to be justified by the end result. It is recognizing that God is real and that he is sovereign. It understands that the heart of man is exceedingly wicked and that a fool follows his own heart. A father must example this kind of maturity. He must be able to stand alone and be willing to confront evil. He must refuse to surrender ground even if his family abandons him. This is the way of it; fathers must stand in the paths that lead to destruction, blocking the way if need be, warning us to go no further.
The Wiles of the Devil
Now, more then ever, Christian fathers are being abused and battered as their families march over the top of them. We live in a generation that that has embraced its fallen nature and has forgotten how to blush. Our children are being instructed to rebel against authority through secular philosophies that teach God is a myth, that moral absolutes do not exist, and that the love of self is divine. The new Golden rule is "Follow your heart" and personal experience has become the measure by which right and wrong is established. The instructors of this age are popular culture, both the educational and entertainment media, schools both at the elementary and collage level, and churches that have embraced a blending of Christian and humanistic doctrines. Leaving fathers out numbered and assaulted at every turn.
Moral relativism and universalism are at the heart of this “enlightened age”, spawning beliefs that give life to homosexuality, atheism, and feminism. Destroying the God ordained blue print and authority structure of the family. As a result, both wives and children begin to resent the role of the man in the Christian home; for he represents authority and the moral conscience. Men, who wish to instruct their families in the righteousness of God, become punching bags as their families wrestle with, or adopt, the doctrines of this age. If a father's sword is not the Word of God, he is tossed to the ground bruised and broken, then blown away by the winds of rebellion. Is it any wonder so many abandon their post?
“If one looks with a cold eye at the mess man has made of history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction” -Arthur Koestle
One of the hardest things a father must do is stand alone. There is a reason we have been given strong arms, strong backs, and broad shoulders. Men are expected to take the punches, to stand firm against the winds of the world. To look our children in the eye and say "You will go no further!" when our wives threaten to leave us, when our children accuse us, we must check our selves, if we are in agreement with God's Word, we must not compromise, and we must remain steadfast. Never give up, never surrender. We have been charged to instruct our families in the ways of God, to defend them against evil, and to stand firm against the wiles of the devil. If we are to engage the enemy, we must be willing to fight to the death. Nothing but his unconditional surrender will be accepted. If we don’t stand guard and fight for our families, no one will.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
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