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Gatekeepers of Faith, Not Fear

Do you ever battle fear for your children? I think all of us do – at least at some point in their lives! As parents, it’s our job to be their gatekeepers while they’re in our home. But we’re called to guard their hearts and minds in faith, not fear.

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Gatekeepers of Faith, Not Fear

The dictionary defines gatekeepers as: 

  • One that is in charge of passage through a gate.
  • One who monitors or oversees the actions of others. 

It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. The protection of the city depended on the gatekeepers’ job performance. If an enemy approached, it was their job to alert the people. Precautions had to be made and action required by all when the onslaught came or sudden destruction would be certain.

I remember back in the early 70’s when David Wilkerson prophesied there would come a day when nudity would be available on our living room televisions. What? We exclaimed. No way! Mind you, this was before cable television, VCRs, DVD players, or the internet. 

Mr. Wilkerson was a kind of gatekeeper. He saw the danger ahead and sounded the warning. And he was right.

Sounding the Warning: In Faith, Not Fear

Now, almost 4 decades later we are sounding another warning–a warning to parents of the next generation. Gatekeepers of the heart, soul and mind of little people. Be careful of what you allow your children to have access to. Even if they’re small, they are capable of accidentally pushing a button that opens a sinful world to their impressionable eyes. It can be alarming, frightening even, but fear isn’t the needed response. Faith is – faith that is well armed with God’s Word.

As a gatekeeper you must be trained in the dangers, but more confident in your defense. Our defense and protection comes from God. He has assigned you your current position, and He alone can help you do your job well. 

One thing a gatekeeper cannot do is prevent the danger. We live in a society fraught with all kinds of temptations. As parents we must be wise and discerning, but most of all compassionate and loving. It’s easier to control our kids externally without taking the time to win their hearts and understand their struggle.

When children are in their first decade of life it’s easy for parents to feel a false sense of control, because we are training them externally, and do have a degree of control. But we mustn’t neglect the attitudes of the heart, for this is what motivates behavior as they enter the teens years.

  • Do you listen to your children on their level or do you rush them as they speak because you have other things to do?
  • Do you assume you know what your child thinks and make decisions based on those assumptions? Or do you ask probing questions to truly learn their perspective?
  • When your child shares a sin or temptation with you, are you quick to hear and slow to speak? Or do you react?

These are hard questions to ask ourselves, but we must if we want to grow in our ability to be effective gatekeepers as our children grow. It shouldn’t surprise us when our kids sin or fail. If we act shocked or surprised, it will cause the open door of communication to close. And once the door is closed it is very hard to re-open. Not impossible, mind you, but extremely difficult. It’s better by far to do all you can to keep this door open–and oftentimes late at night is when it’s open the widest.

  • How available are you to your teens?
  • Do they feel welcome to approach you at night to discuss issues?
  • Are you going to bed before they do? 

This may seem like a small thing, but my husband and I noticed our kids didn’t come talk to us as much as we heard our friends were experiencing. It was suggested to us to leave our bedroom door open when we go to bed and spend time reading with the light on for 30 minutes to an hour. What happened was shocking! One by one our kids began coming into our room, laying on our bed and talking! All we had to do was listen. Our kids not talking was more about our unavailability than it was about their resistance to us.

Drawing Near to God

There is no way we can keep our kids from temptation. It will come. And the answer isn’t in building bigger walls of protection, although taking precautions is wise. The answer lies in drawing near to God.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7 ESV)

As we teach our kids the importance of drawing near to God, this will set the stage for them to resist the devil and his temptations. Only God knows what lies ahead for you and your family. Only He can provide the wisdom you need to be effective gatekeepers. But remember He is the true Gatekeeper of all hearts, and He alone is able to perfectly keep those who are His – even when they are facing danger on every side.

Let this Truth be what motivates your parenting and your watchfulness, and what comforts you when you’re facing difficulty in reaching your teen’s heart.

Do you struggle to guard with faith, not fear?

photo credit: greekadman via photopin cc

About Debi Walter

Debi Walter co-authors The Romantic Vineyard with her husband, Tom, where they write about marriage, faith, romance, and more! You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and their blog.

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