There is a lot of leisure in our culture these days. Technology has put every conceivable form of entertainment right at our finger tips. It’s the diversions that peak my interest, especially as a dad and a counselor.
I thought you might want to know what one father, (I’m sure I’m not alone on this) is teaching his daughters about the kind of man they’ll want going to marry in the future. You see as a father, and realizing how much I need my heavenly Father, I started reading the Bible with my kids every night even before they could understand language. My wife will tell you unless I’m sick the Bible gets read and when I can’t most the time she steps in and fills in with something. So, to make sure my daughters don’t make the same mistake as many and marry into a legacy of broken lives and hearts, I’m teaching them what to look for in men. Because men step up to responsibility and boys are known for avoiding it.
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A bit of healthy self-disclosure. I know what it’s like when life seems inconvenient, dull or things are going poorly that instead of facing hard decisions to be made in reality for years I used games to escape responsibility. While fine at work, when it came to conflict and problems in marriage I simply put off being proactive and played games. When my wife was in need of camaraderie, the self-sacrificing husband of Ephesians five was nowhere to be found. Instead he was hiding in computer games that promoted alternative realities and indulged behaviors unacceptable in most cultures and let me dabble in the occult.
Thank God after losing that marriage God shook some sense in me and I didn’t repeat that particular mistake. But I can’t control you “boys” out there who are playing your games instead of manning up. Sadly most women you meet won’t have any idea just how self-indulging your personality has become through game playing. I do however have great empathy for any woman stuck with some husband or significant other that thinks its more important to play games than learning how to make an impact on the world. Start praying into this ladies., Ask God to move in the man your with. In spirit I can be with you but I can directly affect only two particular women…
You see one of the most important tasks I have as a dad after leading them to Jesus and making sure they see how I their mom is how they should be treated is this. I’m obligated to train them to make good decisions in their best interest and the legacy that their Heavenly Father has for them. So, one of the first questions my daughters is going to inquire about is where you stand in Christ. If you stumble or portray any indignation in your response, you best hang it up. That was strike three.
The second question she’s going to ask you is “What does that mean to you?” and again whether you’ve lived off sunday sermons all your life or, your life demonstrates a deep penetration of God into who you are that shows fruit, and yes, my daughters know what good fruit is already, it’s going to become very, very evident.
It’s possible you might pass this test with some elaborated tale of a short-term mission trip or the time you brought food to the elderly, or volunteered at the soup kitchen, or the jail ministry etc. Your answer might be very polished in fact. My daughters will be gracious as I am teaching them being gracious and not profane is a high priority for those who follow Christ. They might nod their head as you spin some yarn but be advised; my daughters recognize those who “put out for Jesus” two weeks out of the year but keep the remaining 50 for themselves. They understand today there’s a lot more of the world in the church than the Church in the world!
Then comes the litmus test of who you are spiritually. My daughter will ask “What you do to immerse yourself in God’s thoughts so you know you’re fulfilling His will for your life?” My, my… won’t that be a telling moment? My daughters already know it takes growth and maturity to discern the will of God and discover one’s spiritual gifts and that Bible they’ve been reading all their life should be central in your life. My daughters have been equipped to sense if any part of who Jesus is actually lives in you beyond lip service. They expect you to share portions of scripture you’ve committed to memory because they are attached to some incredible work Jesus has done in your life that was so remarkable you can never forget it. And if you can’t put some pieces together that convince my daughters, whom I’ve read the Bible to all their lives, you’re the real thing. I’m teaching them to turn and walk away.
You see the best thing I can give my daughters as a father is to pass on the Jesus in my life to them so they decide to make Jesus their life. The second-best thing I can I can do is to equip them to make sure the man they marry (if they choose to marry) doesn’t screw up her life by making her a mommy instead of a comrade or a co-ruler in Christ. You see it’s going to be hard enough for them to try and live in the Christ centered marriage God has ordained for them. The last thing they need is to rely on someone who doesn’t know their husband is supposed command to give himself to her like Christ gave Himself to the church. You see my daughters are being taught that God made them so special, that in the life of a man, in marriage… God gives them (as women) a supernatural power to help their husband become what God wants him to become so who God is gets reflected back to the world in which they live. I’m teaching my daughters to believe it will be a privilege for you, to have them as your wife; your co-ruler in Christ. So, if you think you’re going to get someone you can coast through life with that doesn’t know how to hold your feet to the fire guess again.
Then dear friend my daughter will ask you if you own a game platform. And they’ll be smart enough to know the jargon to get you to talk about it. They’ll ask how much time you spend on it with the following preconditions already ingrained in their hearts:
“Is his personal growth time between self and God balanced?
“Do I want a man who spends his time in alternative reality games to be my partner for life?”
“Do I want him to be a role model for my potential children?”
“How will this man who spends his time ignoring life, going work out as a partner in God’s legacy for me when things get tough between me and him in real life.
So, ask yourself, how’s all that game playing or media relaxation working out? Would you marry you? Just like you get what you pay for, we get what we marry.
I’m making sure when my daughters leave our home to start their own legacy I have prepared them and did my job to align their future with the type of man God wants for them. My job as a dad is to make sure my impact on my daughters contributes to God’s intent in their lives. It’s a 24/7 job done practically and prayerfully. Is your desire for life revolving around recreation and leisure? Jesus came for much much more than that! He tells us in His word “I came that they might have life more abundantly” (John 10: 10) This might represent you. You really don’t know about God’s offer of life through His Son Christ. For some who profess to follow Christ I’m sure this is less than gracious and more of an admonishment. Is your life balanced? Are you as a Father checking out on time with your kids because you think you’ve earned the right to relax? How about this. Maybe you’re a pastor or church leader and the Spirit’s been speaking to you about the issue of gaming which you already know derails your spiritual power. Because whoever you might be while you “hone” your gaming skills, most likely any hope for spiritual maturity and growth is put by the wayside. We become what we excel at.J.P. Grier M.S. Counseling M.C.M. Pastoral Counseling
JP Grier is the founder and writer at SentinelforChrist.com – A network of Christians helping each other to press deeper in Christ.