Fatherhood: Long Term vs. Short Term Holiness


Fatherhood: A Long Awaited Desire

I have looked forward to fatherhood for a long time.  First from a natural, almost instinctive desire to have children of my own.  Second, because raising godly offspring seems to be one of the most effective ways to advance the Kingdom and influence the culture for Christ.  When my little son, Peter Marshall Graber, launched me into fatherhood by being born the other day I was excited to finally enter this period of my life.  As I held him and looked into his little face and eyes I experienced a sensation that I have tasted ever so slightly before: a realization that my choices, decisions, and lifestyle would significantly impact another human being- for eternity.

The First Day of Camp or a Mission Trip

This desire to live in a way that would be the most beneficial to another human being before is something that I have often felt at the beginning of a week of being a counselor at camp or on a mission trip.  I can best describe it as a heightened sense of awareness that my actions were affecting everyone around me.  As a counselor at camp or on a mission to Mexico I always seriously considered the impact my actions might have.

I really wanted my life to not be a deterrent to anyone that needed to come to Christ.  I was willing to give up anything that might hinder my effectiveness as an ambassador for Christ.  If it helped my effectiveness as a counselor or mission partner I was willing to give up my music, my favorite clothes, my favorite food, and my personal comfort- for the short term.  I was willing to live to a higher standard of holiness for that week, or month, if that is what it took.

It was not that I was living in sin the rest of the time.  I pursued holiness and righteousness in everyday life.  I am not talking about hurried repentance and hoping my sin would not ruin a week of ministry.  I am talking about looking into the trusting eyes of a young boy at summer camp and experiencing an overwhelming desire to help him experience God; and based on that desire seeking a higher standard of holiness for the week. If I was aware of anything that had the slightest chance of ruining my effectiveness I was willing to change- for the short term.  It was always comfortable to know that later, when I was done with the trip I could relax a little again.

Welcome to Fatherhood and Long Term Holiness!

Fatherhood took all of this to a new level.  As I looked into his little face on Monday I realized that I really wanted to encourage Peter to live righteously before God and man all the days of his life.  Statistics give him a good chance of outliving me.  That means I have to be on my best behavior for the rest of my life!

I want to be holy. For my son, yes, but ultimately because of Christ.  There is coming a day when I will stand before the Captain Of My Salvation and I want more than anything to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  I want that for me. I want that for Peter.  I am willing to deny myself and become a better channel of the Spirit of the Living God in order to gain that.

I think fatherhood is going to be good for long term holiness in my life.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)


You can see more photos of Peter Marshall Graber at this link. 
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