“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3
At this point in our study together, I feel as if we have become friends. Whether we ever meet on this side of heaven or not, we have walked through the pages of Ephesians together, and this journey will be one that I never forget. I don’t know about you, but I open up to my friends. I tell them the details of my life, and I choose to be transparent with them because that is what friendship is all about. I consider you friends. So, here goes. I was quite the rebellious child. No, really, I was. While my younger sister was the obedient one who never seemed to push boundaries, I was the one who always challenged authority in my life. Some of the first words I remember hearing from my parents were “no” and “obey.”
Throughout my childhood years and even into adolescence, I had a rebellious streak in me. Obedience seemed to be a dirty word to me. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Anybody? While I’d like to say that I’ve grown out of those old, sinful patterns, the reality is that I still struggle with this today. Obedience is hard for me. I don’t like rules. I tend to demand the “why” behind the “what” of most things, and although our passage of Scripture today is speaking of obedience in the context of the child/parent relationship, obedience is a life-long principle that you and I are to embrace.
Even though obedience has always been a rather difficult thing for me, I have to admit that I’m grateful that God gives us this instruction and asks us to start walking in this from the time of childhood. The patterns that we establish in youth are most often the ones that remain throughout our lives. God knows this about us. He understands that we are painfully human, and He desires that we start young in our pursuit of righteous living. And so, in His love, He gently calls out to us as children, “My child, obey the parents that I’ve placed over you. It’s for your good. You will be blessed. Trust me in this.”
The heart of this command is not for God to give us a mile-long list of do’s and don’ts. No, His heart in this is for everything that we do to be done as if unto the Lord. As children, when we are instructed to obey our parents, it is because our obedience to them is honoring to the Lord. Even from the young ages of childhood, we can begin patterns of honoring and glorifying the Lord through our obedience. Imagine that. At the tender age of 5, we have the capacity to make God smile. We have the ability to bless His heart. And the more that we forge these roads of obedience in our lives, the more likely we are to default to obedience in the future.
Is obedience a consistent pattern in your life? Do you choose to submit yourself under the authorities that God has placed over you? Is obedience as hard for you as it has been for me? The more I’ve studied God’s Word, the more I’ve come to understand this eternal truth:
God blesses obedience.
Every time, without fail, His promises are true. What He says He will do, He will do. The command to obey our parents and to establish patterns of obedience to authority in our lives comes linked to a very precious promise. The promise that awaits those who embrace this command is the blessing of a long life and a good life. Long and good, of course, in God’s economy, but nevertheless, long and good. Again, this comes down to an accurate understanding of God’s ways. He will always bless obedience, and we will always be recipients of those blessings if we choose to walk in obedience. Always. I am so grateful for a God who not only commands, but for one who blesses.