Ephesians 6:1-4 (click here for todays passage)

In the church, there are new relationships. We have already looked at Paul’s Christ-centred approach to marriage. Here we see the centrality of Christ in the home. Note especially the expressions ‘’in the Lord’’ and ‘’of the Lord’’. Whether he is addressing parents or children, Paul has in mind what Jesus would want. Let us adopt his mind-set: ‘What would Jesus do?’ ‘What is most likely to please Jesus?’ ‘What do I believe Jesus wants of me in this situation?’

He begins with the children (1-3). His key message seems to be to remind them that they are ‘’in the Lord’’, therefore they should ‘’find out what pleases the Lord’’ (5:10) with regard to their parents. The implication is that being ‘’in the Lord’’, they will be enabled to become like Him and do his will. We should always honour our parents. There is no age limit on this. We should do so because it is ‘’right’’. We should do it because it is commanded. There is an incentive to do it because is ‘’the first commandment with a promise’’. And because we are ‘’in the Lord’’ we will find the strength to do the right thing, even in difficult circumstances. Children, look to the Lord for your example, teaching and power, whatever your age. Jesus Christ is your Lord.

He goes on to speak to the fathers (4). Clearly Paul saw that the man has an important leadership role in the home. But as someone said, ‘Children are wet cement.’ It’s easy to leave the wrong impressions on their souls if we are too harsh with them. We are not to leave our hefty boot prints all over their soft hearts. We can crush their spirits if we are unnecessarily over-bearing. Christian fathers are to always remember Christ. Here are some of the implications in Paul’s words:

  • Pray for your children – above all you want them to be taught by Christ;
  • Be an example of Christ-likeness to them. Show them the Jesus way in your behaviour;
  • Teach them Christ’s Word. It’s not about laying down your law but lifting up Christ’s Word;
  • Be gentle in your leadership: ‘’Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.’’ The Message.

If you know that you have failed as a child, or as a parent, there is no need to carry that heavy backpack of guilt wherever you go. You can repent; you can apologise, and determine to be different. Jesus will help you, and He will be pleased that you want to change in order to delight and honour Him.

‘’Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…’’ (Hebrews 12:2)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in every relationship, help me to be like You. I know that I am so unlike You, but I also know that You are changing me. I’m a work in progress and I praise You for your grace.