Happy day after Easter!
If you will remember back to our last week of study in Ephesians, we were discussing husbands and wives. Today we are going to talk about the family unit with children.
My desire is to be a family that operates the way God said it ought to operate.
Ephesians 6:1-4 says : Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Some things I see:
- Children have a responsibility to obey their parents.
- Do you know what the Greek word for “children” is (in this verse)? It is teknon – which refers to the offspring of a couple – it isn’t referring to just a young child but anyone who was still in their parents home, under the financial care of the parents.
- Children…..if you are still letting Mama and Daddy foot the bills, then this verse applies to you – no matter your age.
- It doesn’t say that children are to submit to their parents. The word obey is showing a different type of relationship. In the family dynamic, children are inferior in authority to mom and dad.
As I read these verses – I realized that a lot of families can have an awesome wife who is submitting to her husband and a husband who is loving his wife as Christ loved the church – but then they have a child that is thumbing their nose and their responsibility OR parents who aren’t requiring it. And that means that this particular family is not living as God instructed. Spiritually Dysfunctional. Wow – how does this affect my family?
In reality, not only are children to obey – we are also to Honor (I love how Paul is reminding us of the commandments!) Children can obey because of fear of punishment, etc. But to honor – that is all about our attitudes.
Our attitudes are affected greatly but allowing God to change my heart and perspectives.
The word for honor is timao. The word means to esteem, to value highly, to hold in the highest regard and respect, treat as precious and to revere. I am no longer under my parents rule. My family is financially stable and I am part of a family unit with my own children. I am stilled called to honor my parents.
And then an interesting verse four:
“And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
God really does put a huge burden upon men in the family? Not only are you to love your wives as Christ loved the church, but you are not to provoke your children to anger. So the heavy burden is not on the wife. The heavy burden is on the man, the husband, the father in the family.
Fathers, will stand before God one day for whether or not they provoked their children to anger. God gives a standard here. It is high, very high, and only attainable by being filled with the Spirit of God. Our children aren’t perfect and neither are dads. Sometimes dads are going to provoke their children – quickly ask for forgiveness and do not make this a lifestyle choice.
Let me tell you, Dads, until you get serious with God, until you get on your face before Him, until you are willing to obey Him in every area of your life, you run the risk of pushing your child into a state of deep-seated emotional anger.
Now you might say: I am a father and I don’t want to provoke my children to anger. You are talking about putting on a brand new garment, a brand new way of behavior. We have talked about this garment through the last several chapters of Ephesians! See how it all works together?
And to finish today’s lesson (take from a commentary…)
……. but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The word “discipline” is not a bad word. It is the word paideia. It means child training, to bring up a child.
“…and instruction of the Lord.”
The word for “instruction” is the Greek word nouthesia. It comes from the word noutheteo, which means to help a person by placing into their mind things that will benefit them. In other words, you are not just setting rules. You are explaining those things and you are putting them in the context of their relationship to God. You are giving them information that will help them down the road.
Fathers DO NOT NEED TO BE WAITING ON THE MOTHER to discipline and instruct their children. Dad, it is your responsibility to be the spiritual instructor and the spiritual leader of your family. Don’t blame the church! If your child is not doing well, Dad, where are you missing it?