Tuesday, April 19, 2022
In Ephesians chapter 6 the Apostle Paul is continuing his instructions on how we are to be imitators of Christ as we live in our modern world. He discussed in chapter 5 the relationship between husband and wife that is to model love and respect for God’s authority and for one another. Then he gives us the instruction necessary to make sure all of society can succeed, and it starts with the family. There will be no respect in society if there is first no respect by children for the authority of their parents. God’s promise of social success hinges on this one commandment – “Honor you father and mother.”
This requires several things to be in place. First, the parents are to be “in the Lord.” It is imperative that for children to learn proper respect that the parents model it, and that begins with a surrendered and submissive heart to the will and purpose of God in their lives. Without Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives, parents quickly become their own lords, and will become models of self-centered and self-serving authority. Self-help books, philosophy, and religion has not, will not, and cannot change this. Only Jesus can bring respect back and it starts with us respecting Him.
Second, children must be taught that there is a right and wrong. Paul’s command to them says, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. This assumes that the children both understand right and wrong and have a desire to do right. Parents, are you teaching your children the truth of right and wrong? Are you training them in righteousness? Are you consistently enforcing consequences of wrong choices so that they learn to respect the righteousness of Christ? Do your children and grandchildren see you humbly submitting to Jesus Christ and accepting the consequences of your own sin when you make a wrong choice? You can’t hide your sin from your children. They see it, and they talk about it. Do they see you modeling the respect for God’s authority that is necessary to teach them proper respect?
As Christians, we have a huge opportunity to change our culture. It begins in our own families. It extends through our personal ministry to neighbors as we model love and respect to them. It is one of the main areas of mission for our churches. We must learn, submit to, and model respect for the authority of God. We must live out that respect in our family lives. We are to be the source of people’s desire for a new society. In fact, the church is to be the new society – a society of people who love and respect God, and as a result love and respect one another.