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Consider Your Steps

The history of the United States includes the movement of thousands of people across the mountains, plains, and prairies to settle in the West.

In the mid-1800s, families put all of their belongings into large wagons and traveled for many months through territory occupied by wild animals and hostile Native American tribes. For their safety and protection, these pioneers went together in wagon trains, each of which had a scout. A scout’s job was to ride ahead and see what dangers lay further on along the path. He would then return and warn the families, preparing them for what was coming.

A father of valor must do the same. He must look ahead and then prepare himself and his family for potential dangers. The book of Proverbs speaks to this.

Consider these verses:

  • “…the prudent man considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15,, MEV)
  • “Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8, NASB)
  • “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:2,3 NASB)

Many years ago, I took some time to look through the Bible to find the roles of dad and husband. One of these roles was teacher, which I found from verses like Proverbs 1:8: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father.” I also looked in Deuteronomy, where the fathers are instructed to teach the commandments to their children: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7, ESV).

I realized I had not been teaching my children, and I decided to make some changes. I was not sure that I could “teach” the Bible or anything else to my kids. But what the Lord showed me was quite simple: I realized that I could at least read the Bible with my kids. So that’s what we did. I started meeting with my son and older daughter separately each week for one hour, just the two of us. My son was twelve when we started this; my older daughter was eight.

We started reading through the book of Proverbs. I began to explain what I understood the verses to mean. This led me to further study the Bible for myself to make sure I was accurate in what I told my kids. As we continued meeting, we would read a book of the Bible or a book about a biblical character. Sometimes we just talked about current issues and situations. This was how I came to know my kids’ hearts, their desires, their challenges, and their dreams.

I am convinced that this decision was very important. I believe it changed the paths of my kids’ lives. If I had not had those intentional times with my children, I don’t know if I would have talked to them about important matters of life. I may never have taught them a variety of biblical principles. I may never have taught Jason about manhood and about living in an understanding manner with women (1 Peter 3:7). We may never have gotten into some uncomfortable subjects relating to moral purity―but fortunately, stories like that of Joseph with Potiphar’s wife basically forced us into those conversations.

Men, make it part of your weekly schedule to read the Bible with your children. It is an activity all fathers of valor should do. It helps your kids learn more about God and helps prepare them for the future. But spending that one hour per week with them also does this: it turns your heart to your children, and it helps turn the hearts of your children to their father―just like the Lord said in Malachi (4:6).

Because the relationship between a father and a child prepares the child’s heart for the work of Jesus in his or her life, a father of valor must take initiative and look ahead to recognize and address danger. He must spend time with his kids to know their hearts. And to do this, a father of valor, himself, must never stop growing in Christ.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith is the executive director of Men of Valor International.

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