Father Like The Father

Day 3 of 7 • This day’s reading


Set Boundaries

I knew I had to install a baby gate, but I didn’t realize how badly.

We were still adjusting to the idea of having a child who could walk.  Then one day a faint sound in the hallway filled my heart with dread. I turned the corner just in time to see my daughter standing at the edge of the staircase.

Time slowed.

As I began to sprint, I could see her body slowly pivoting forward. When I realized there was no way I could stop her from falling, I did the only thing I could … I dove.

Just before her head hit the step, I managed to scoop her into my arms and cradle her into my body as the two of us tumbled down the stairs, end over end. With each roll I feared that the weight of my body might crush her. When the motion stopped, I was in a crumpled heap on the floor.  My daughter walked away as if nothing had happened.

I learned a painful lesson that day. Fathers need to set boundaries.

God loved Adam and gave him everything that he could ever possibly need. He gave him a wonderful environment, an intimate relationship with his Father, a good job, good food, safety, and of course, Eve.

God was lavish with Adam, yet in the midst of all of that giving, God set boundaries.

God separated light from darkness, established the laws of nature, and told Adam not to eat from the fruit of one specific tree. This boundary was designed to protect Adam, but Adam chose to cross it.

Crossing boundaries results in consequences. Adam lost the comfort of life in the garden. He was forced to spend the rest of his days in “painful toil” working the land for food. Through his sin, pain and death entered the world and are still here today.

To father like the Father, we must be willing to set clear boundaries for our children, with clear penalties. 

We must also learn to live within God’s boundaries ourselves. When we do, we become better equipped to guide our families to follow our example, even when the boundary appears to be a killjoy.

When I installed the baby gate at the top of the stairs my daughter thought it was there to keep her from having fun. She was not happy, but that was okay. One day she would come to understand.

Pray that God give you the wisdom to know which boundaries to set and the courage to enforce them. 

For more information on setting boundaries listen to, A Father’s Role: Providing Boundaries on FamilyLifeToday.com.