I read a story recently of a sentry in the military who was stationed at a gate and told not to let any vehicle pass unless it had a particular sticker. One vehicle he stopped contained a general being driven by his aide. After the sentry told the general that he could not let them enter through the gate, the general told the aide, “Just go ahead anyway.” The sentry replied, “I’m sorry sir, I’m new at this. Who do I shoot first? You, or your aide?”
Gatekeepers have always had a vital role in the protection of cities and civilizations. In ancient times, cities were fortified by tall, thick walls to protect them from foreign enemies. Heavy gates were set in these walls to allow entrance and exit, and the gatekeepers were guards who were stationed at these gates for protection. These soldiers had to be on alert at all times, for if they let the wrong individuals through, it could bring the city to ruin.
In the same way, believers are gatekeepers. First of our own souls, then of our homes and families.
The world we live in is broken and stained from the fall. Evil is always lurking, waiting to sneak through our gate like a foreign spy or enemy warrior. In our own souls, evil sneaks in – through pride, sometimes deception, other times fear and worry, and oftentimes with the temptation to blatantly disobey God. Our enemy will look to persuade and pressure us to make exceptions where the Holy Spirit and the Word of God have given us clear orders.
Satan has always tried to get us to undermine direct orders. He wants us to yield where God has commanded us to stand.
Our spouse and children obviously experience these same attacks. No one is defenseless against the enemy. But, we haven’t been abandoned. We have been equipped:
Ephesians 6:13-15 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
As good spouses and parents, we try to protect our family from evil, whether it be from inappropriate music and movies, porn and other dangers on the internet, or manipulative people and other negative influences.
As godly gatekeepers, we must teach and equip our families to become their own gatekeepers. We can try to shield them from the enemy as much as possible, but we aren’t perfect. Our family members need to learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit for themselves, to take up their own shield of faith, and to use their own sword – the powerful Word of God.
The mark of a true disciple is that we make disciples. Lead and disciple your family to pursue Christ. Help them learn to stand against the enemy on their own. A time will come when you are not physically there for them, and Satan will be lurking at the gate of their souls, ready to make his move. But because you have prayed, taught them well, led by example, and armed them with Truth, they will be ready.
So, stand firm, gatekeeper! “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
~ John Michael & Natalie Clark