He is facing pressure from his employer of over 20 years to get the Covid19 vaccine. As a husband and father, the job is critical if he is to continue providing financially at the level the family has become accustomed to. His stance against mandates has been clear throughout the pandemic. Now it has gotten very close and personal. Is he going to conform or stand firm? The kids are watching.
Mandates are not new. Smoking in public places, even a cigar or pipe is out. ‘Click it or ticket’ is the slogan for seat belt mandates. Helmets for bicycles and motorcycles are mandatory in most states. And kids in public schools receive a list of mandatory vaccinations needed prior to enrolling. This past year we have seen mandatory closing of what were deemed ‘non-essential’ businesses. There have been mask mandates, locked down playgrounds and social distance mandates. For many, Covid19 vaccine mandates are now conditions for employment. All mandates are arguably for one’s own good. But good arguments that contradict mandates are not always entertained.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2. Walking in the Way was definitely out of step with the Roman culture and the religious leaders of Paul’s day. Conformance would certainly have made life easier for the followers of Jesus, at least in the short term. But Jesus introduced an eternal perspective when He said, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never go thirsty.”- John 6:35. The disciples understood this. They were transformed and their minds were renewed through their relationship with Jesus the Christ. All except John were martyred. Today, in a world where we have moved from ASAP – As Soon As Possible, to IINS – Immediately If Not Sooner, it is a challenge to think beyond the temporal. Yet, thinking beyond the temporal is just what Christians are to do in order to live into an eternal mindset.
In Ephesus, Paul charged the men to, “... be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. … Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”- Ephesians 6:10-18. The belt of Truth is grounding in the word of God; the breastplate is heart-level righteousness; feet fitted is your personal relationship with Christ; the shield is your defense and the helmet your eternal mindset; and, the sword, the word of God is your offense. The charge to dads today is to prayerfully put on the full armor of God every day and the response to worldly mandates will become clear.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your Word and Your armor. Renew my mind and grant me strength to prayerfully put on Your armor every day to stand firm in this world. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs to see. Amen.
A faithful father stands firm with the full armor of God on.