by Jay Dennis
Raising your children is like training soldiers for war. Think about the analogy of being a dad and being a warrior. A warrior knows the enemy. Your child is facing a three-fold enemy in Satan, the world and the flesh. A warrior possesses weapons. Dads, you possess the supernatural weapons of prayer and Scripture. A warrior is in it to win it. Dads, you have to know the prize is having godly children who impact their world for God’s kingdom. A warrior dad is tough and tender; fun and firm; humorous and serious; loving and truthful; listening and demonstrating; out in front leading and behind motivating; encouraging and correcting; transparent and protective; understanding and intolerant; focused and guarded.
From David’s life, we see seven characteristics of a WARRIOR Dad based on I Kings 2:1-4:
1. A Warrior Dad is Word-Directed (I Kings 2:3)
David challenged his son Solomon to live according to God’s Word. Dads, you are responsible in your home to make sure your children know what the Bible teaches. The Bible alone becomes your authority for what you believe and how you act and is the final word on what is right and wrong; what is good and evil; and what is truth and lies.
2. A Warrior Dad is Actively-Involved (I Kings 1:27;30)
David had failed to pay attention to what was happening in the kingdom and his son Adonijah declared himself to be king. He passively allowed things to happen with his children while his mind was on worldly things. Dads have to fight hard not to be passive, disengaged, distracted, unfocused, or letting things happen rather than making godly choices that would positively impact their son or daughter.
If you are not actively engaged in training your sons and daughters to be godly, they will be attracted to the world without God, looking for answers in all the wrong places and wrong people. Dads, you are responsible for making the rules and applying the rules in your own life and home.
3. A Warrior Dad is Relationship-Driven, not Rules-Driven (I Kings 2:1-4)
In II Kings 2, David is sharing the rules of God with his son Solomon. Knowing what is right and wrong need to come from dad. You are the director of rule-setting and rule-enforcement, yet you share and enforce those rules in the context of love, tenderness and kindness. The relationship that takes time, effort and a lot of listening is creating the riverbed by which the rules of right and wrong are shared. Children need to hear from dad: “I love you,” “I am proud of you,” “I bless you,” and “I like you.”
4. A Warrior Dad is Responsibility-Revealing (I Kings 2:2)
David let Solomon know he had the responsibility to do the right thing. He wanted him to feel the weight of doing God’s will and being a godly man. Notice he tells Solomon, “Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man” (I Kings 2:2). You must train your son and daughter to take responsibility for their choices, their words, their attitudes, their actions and their thoughts. Dads, it is up to you to train your child to do their best, knowing that the world does not owe them anything, in fact, they are obligated to God to be givers and not takers, to do their best, even if it means not being the best or winning the trophy.
5. A Warrior Dad is Intercession-Practicing
David was a prayer-warrior. Dads, you have to go to battle every day for the minds, souls and bodies of your children. You must pray for their salvation, their future mate, their protection, wisdom, their future, their walk with God and their understanding of God’s will primarily through God’s Word. Stand in the gap for your child every day by praying against Satan’s plan for them, the world influencing them, ungodly people affecting them, Internet dangers tempting them such as pornography, deception overtaking them and wicked people trying to destroy them spiritually and morally. E.M. Bounds said: “Prayers are deathless.” Your prayers for your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will outlive you.
6. A Warrior Dad is Offensive-Minded
David told Solomon to do the right thing, that if he does God’s will, God will take care of everything else. A warrior dad doesn’t let things happen; he makes things happen. He takes the offensive knowing the landmines. He gets out ahead of these landmines warning his children. Being offensive-minded further means being honest about your mistakes. You get out in front of problems, issues, mistakes, coming trials and storms. You talk about what is right, not just what is wrong.
7. A Warrior Dad is Role-Serious
King David is taking responsibility for his role as a spiritual mentor for his son Solomon. David was on his deathbed and understood what was really important in life. Dads, there are specific responsibilities you must take seriously as a warrior dad:
- The salvation of your child. Do you know if your child has received Jesus Christ into his or her life as their personal Savior? This is an absolute must.
- The baptism of your child. Has your child been Scripturally baptized by immersion and after salvation?
- The sex talk with your child. It is imperative that you have that talk before he or she reaches the age of 10.
- How to Treat People 101. Teach your child how to interact with people. Teach your son how to treat a lady and demonstrate for your daughter what she should expect from men.
- The Absolutes. You are responsible for communicating with your child God’s truth and that His truth is absolute and unchanging and that God’s Word is truth.
- Assuming the Role of Director of the Department of Discipline. Dads you are the head disciplinarian of your home. You set the rules and make sure the rules are clear and you define the consequences of breaking those rules.
Dads, when all is said and done, what really matters is not making sure your child has everything he or she wants, but giving them God’s incredible Word. When you give your son or your daughter that, they will have everything they need and more.
Pastor Jay Dennis is married to his sweetheart Angie for 39 years, has two children and two grandchildren. He has served as a local church pastor for 39 years, 21 of those years as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida. While there, he along with a layman Randy Feirrera, co-founded Wingman Nation, a Scripturally-driven, local church-based men’s ministry with three goals for every man: Striving to be better husbands; better fathers and more Christ-like and godly men. Check out this ministry on WingmanNation.com.