Ephesians 6 1 - 3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is a first commandment with a promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.
I have been going through the book of Ephesians recently in my personal devotional time. It has always been one of my favorite books, and though I have of course read and heard this verse many, many times, I found myself really dwelling on it and wondering why the Lord felt that this particular commandment was SO important that He included with it a promise such as this. Children, OBEY your parents...sounds simple enough right? Children are to obey their parents. Pretty basic. But as I was really thinking about this I began to see that IF a child is to obey, he must first be taught obedience. Anyone who has ever had a child does not need to be told that you do NOT have to tell that child how to be willful, naughty, or unkind. That all comes built into our sin nature through Adam, and therefore comes very naturally to us all.
Teaching our children obedience is perhaps one of the most important jobs any parent ever faces. From the time our children are old enough to understand a simple command or the word NO, the process begins. We all know of course the purpose behind telling our small children not to run into the street for example. We understand the dangers and possible disasters that lurk there and so we are quite firm in our commands that teach them the necessity of obeying that particular order. I remember very clearly it was THE ONLY TIME I ever had to swat Melody's little bottom when she was growing up. She was definitely old enough to understand what NO meant, stay by me, etc. But she willfully ran away from me and directly into the street. Now there was no car coming and no immediate danger, but that of course was not the point. She chose to disobey me and run into the street and received the immediate consequence of a couple of swats on her little bottom. She did not do that ever again. Now, she learned the consequences of disobedience quickly, unlike her older brothers, haha, but that is not the point I am trying to make. She may not have fully understood all of the horrible things that could have happened to her as a result of her disobedience, but she was able to quickly understand the immediate consequences of not obeying her mother.
As parents we have the responsibility of teaching our children obedience. They can never understand how to obey God as they grow and mature, if they are not taught this at a very young age. There is always consequences (sooner or later) for sin.
I recently spent some time volunteering in the Kindergarten classroom of my young grandson. Truthfully, I was somewhat horrified at the blatant disobedience of some of the children. Obviously, no one expects a 5 year old to act any older than a 5 year old, but it was very clear to me, that a few of these children were not being taught much of anything at all. The confusion and occasional downright wildness in the classroom made it very apparent that these children were not being taught by their parents (or whoever it is fulfilling that role in their little lives) the importance of obedience. That teacher truly had her hands full as she tried to keep the class in order. How many parents too I wonder would blame this poor woman, or the other children, for the lack of obedience and respect that their own children have failed to learn? I fear for these children and for their parents expectations of their futures. Almost everything that child might ever hope to be or accomplish hinges on their ability to learn to obey.
As we grow into adulthood obviously we no longer owe our parents direct obedience. But we do owe them honor and respect. I know as I got deeper and deeper into my role as a mother, I learned to understand my own mother better, and my respect for all she went through and endured grew into a healthy appreciation for her. Yes, children must obey their parents, and parents must teach their children to obey. And this all comes with a promise...it will be well for all of us and we will live long here on earth.
As we grow closer to the birth of our Lord, I hope we all our keeping our focus on Him. I know for me I have found myself caught up a time or two with just the busyness of the season, and have lost my focus and therefore my peace. How easy it is for me to get off track. Thank God He understands me, and loves me even when I am busy being a Martha instead of a Mary. Hope you all have a wonderful week. To read the other inspirational posts that are being shared this week click HERE...Many thanks to Charlotte and Ginger for hosting this event.