Christians Gathered and Sharing Theirs Lives Together

A daily devotion for April 30th

Why Obey?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise — so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Ephesians 6:1-3

This is not a simple exhortation to children to obey, much as you might find in a booklet on parent-child relationships written from a secular point of view. It is not simply Children, obey your parents. It is Children, obey your parents in the Lord. The key to the whole command is in the Lord. Children are to obey their parents, for Christ's sake. They are to obey, not because this is what their parents want so much as because this is what the Lord Jesus wants. This is their responsibility to Christ. They cannot possibly fulfill their desire to reflect his life unless they are willing to obey their parents. This is the ground upon which the apostle puts it.

The Scriptures never give us exhortations like this without a reason. Many children are constantly reminded to obey their parents, but rarely are they given the reason to do so. Paul adds a reason: Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. There is a tendency on the part of young people to read that and to slough it off as though it meant, Obey your parents because this is just the way we do it. But it does not mean that. This is not merely an appeal to custom. It means, rather, that this is in accord with a fundamental reality; this is one of the basic laws of life. If you refuse to do this, things will go wrong, because it is a violation of a fundamental law of living.

The apostle presses even deeper into this subject. He says it is not only important to obey, but to obey in such a way as to honor your father and your mother. The attitude of obedience is exceedingly important. It is possible to obey with a heart seething with disobedience and hatred. That kind of obedience is not obedience at all because it is dishonoring to the father or mother. It treats the parent as a thing, an obstacle, certainly not as a person from whom life has come. It is to ignore every generous gift of parental love and to treat them as though they were nothing but an obstacle in the way. That is why the first commandment with a promise was the commandment, Honor your father and thy mother, (Exodus 20:12a). The promise that was linked to it was this: …that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth (Exodus 20:12b). This simply means that glad obedience, willing obedience, is a blessing to the children who obey. But sullen, reluctant, rebellious obedience injures you. Sullen obedience is really resentment and bitterness, and there is nothing more destructive in a human heart than resentment or bitterness. It does not injure the one you are bitter against; it injures you.

Lord, thank you for my parents. At this particular stage of my life, teach me honor them.

Life Application

What does it look like, at this stage in my life, to honor my parents?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Parents and Children

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