It was just a couple of years ago I was hearing from dads that they were thankful for how God had essentially granted them a big “time-out” from their busy-ness. When the kids’ activities were shut down, there was sanity introduced to the family schedule. There were wonderful stories of family dinner time getting reintroduced as a regular routine. It seemed some right priorities were being reestablished in many homes.
There were hiccups as the family adjusted to everything moving to online status - school for the kids, many parents’ work routine, and even church services. The pendulum swung quickly from little family time to the family being together all the time. While most families embraced the window of additional time together, there has been little hesitation to jump right back into the busy-ness as restrictions were lifted.
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” – Matthew 12:43-45. “…finds the house unoccupied, swept clean” It does not matter whether it is alcoholism, workaholism, busy-ness, or another addiction, it is all entertainment of an evil spirit. When an outside force impacts the status quo in a way that purges the addiction from your home or mind, it is a blessing. The charge that follows is to fill the home and your mind with the right stuff. The evil spirit is lying in wait for the man that is on cruise control in his new found freedom. He becomes an easy target for evil seven times over! The charge for dads is to live into the right priorities that were established during times when many outside-the-family activities were shutdown. Fill the home with family activities that include dinnertime together, family devotion time and regular church attendance. It takes discipline and intentionality to keep evil spirits at bay but keeping them at bay is a dad’s responsibility. The option is not pretty.
It is interesting to watch as families, and businesses, work through what the “after-Covid” model is going to look like. It may need to start with the question, “What are you most thankful for?” One pastor I know opens prayer routinely with, “Thank You Lord for another day that was not promised to us.” That puts things in perspective right from the get-go. The priority is to be thankful for this day and all it presents, to build on the good and rebuke the evil spirits.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and the reminder that evil is very real. I confess that I have gotten caught up in busy-ness that was indeed an evil spirit in my life. Right priorities were minimized and wrong priorities were prioritized. Forgive me. I will not take the blessing of family for granted again. I want to be disciplined and intentional in keeping evil spirits at bay by focusing on family being together for dinnertime, devotion time and in church. Help me live into the right priorities that honor You. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father is thankful for the blessing of family.