Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:18-25 NKJV
Before we begin, I’m sure after reading the verses above, there are some who don’t really want to read the rest of this article. That’s okay. Sometimes Scripture can be difficult to take. Actually, it’s not really the Scripture, it’s our own heart that’s the problem. If you’re struggling right now, stop and pray. Ask God to give you courage to read and wisdom to understand His Word without fear and condemnation. God will reveal what you need to know.
God lays out in His Word, the things which we enable us to live an abundant life. His Word is like a mirror that shows us for who we really are. James 1:22-24 says “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” Not only does He shows us, God also provides His Spirit to help us change where we need changing. God, in His wisdom and grace, designed us with free will, enabling us to decide whether we want this help from the Holy Spirit and want to follow His ways or not.
Today’s section of Scripture talks about basic ground rules regarding obedience. The first thing I notice about this list is who it’s addressed to: wives, husbands, children, fathers and bond-servants. That tells me that God places a huge priority on families and relationships. Verses 18 – 19 go together and outline the proper working order of marriage. When wives choose to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, they are giving the husband the respect that he needs. It’s a necessity for the man to feel he is respected. Likewise, when husbands love their wives at Christ loved the church, the woman is given what she needs, which is love. When both wife and husband are obeying the Lord, the full expression of God may be visible in their marriage. I can honestly say I know what it’s like to not follow this (my life without Christ) and I know what it’s like to follow this (my new life with Christ) and it is glorious!!! You can read more about marriage responsibilities in Ephesians 5:22-33.
Next we move on to parent child relationships. If you’re parent like I am, I’m pretty sure you could list out several reasons why it’s important for children to obey their parents. However, we’re only going to focus on “the one” reason: it’s well pleasing to the Lord. All through the bible we’re told to obey the Lord in what we do. Why? Because He made us and He wants to see us live abundantly. He stands ready to pour out blessings on us, but we stubbornly refuse to follow His ways that lead to those blessings.
When you stop to think about your relationship with your child, you are watching a scene that resembles your relationship with God. Let me give you an example. A couple weeks ago, my son had a day off from school. My son had been working so hard adjusting to a new school and homework routines, I wanted to do something fun to celebrate his achievement. We had decided to go to Disneyland, but the deal was he had to finish all his homework. I was so excited about the trip and continued praying that he would complete his responsibility so we would be able to go. It would have broken my heart not to be able to do this for him. This in a very small way is like God and us. He outlines what He expects from us, He tells us there’s rewards for following through and He waits expectantly for us to do what He has said so He can bless us. YES, He’s disappointed when we don’t follow through but I think He’s also disappointed that He is not able to bless us because of disobedience.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” In the process of training a child, fathers have a tendency to go overboard. Look at verse 21 above, it says fathers are not to provoke their children, so they children won’t become discouraged. How we speak to our children is important. We don’t want to discourage them. Fathers need to take extra precautions to be sensitive to their children. When I was going through Saddleback Church’s Celebrate Recovery program, they asked a lot of questions about my relationship with my dad. I didn’t understand at first, but studies have suggested how we relate to our dad plays an important part in how we start out relating to God. Yikes, I thought, but that’s a story for another time. We need to remember as a parent, we can help a child grow in Christ and have a right relationship with God. We can help them or hinder them, the choice is yours.
Not to leave anyone out, bond-servants are mentioned next. They are to obey their earthly masters out of reverence for God, knowing their real master is God Himself. All of us, no matter what category we belong to, need to remember verses 23-24. Whatever we do, do it as if we’re doing it for the Lord, no matter what it is we’re asked to do. Remember, it’s God who put us under someone’s authority and He expects us to be obedient to them. Jesus said he’d never seen faith like that of the Centurion in Matthew 8:8-10. The centurion had said he know what it meant to be under authority. Read the story today, it might help you understand how we should conduct ourselves under authority.
The last verse has two meanings for me. First, it indicates that those who choose to do wrong will be dealt with. That should serve as a warning to us, not to do wrong. Second it should help alleviate any burden we carry around with us regarding those times when wrong is done to us. Knowing that wrong-doing will be repaid by the Lord, should help us to forgive and turn it over to Him. God never asks us to forgive someone else more than He’s already forgiven you. In the Lord’s prayer found in Luke 11:3-5, we are given an example to follow regarding forgiveness: “Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”
In conclusion, God’s outline for obedience is a wise thing to follow. How well are you following it today?
Lord Jesus, thank You for the strength to obey Your word. For if we abide in Your word we show the word we are your disciples. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.