A Commandment with a Promise (Eph. 6:4)

"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.'Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."--Ephesians 6:4

Okay, so this is a little out of order and a little earlier, but there is a reason. Read on and you'll see why!

It seems like Paul has a little something for everyone in this book. Wives, husbands, children, parents, slaves and masters. And none of it is easy either.

This is because throughout the book, Paul urges the church to live in a manner that is different than the rest of the world who is enslaved to the flesh. We are to put off that old self and instead, let Him fill us with His Spirit that helps us to live in accordance with His ways, not our own.

Interestingly, Paul doesn't leave out kids. He doesn't make excuses for them, saying they are too young to learn. And if he doesn't, neither should we.

But Paul doesn't just lay the responsibility on the kids alone. Although he mentions fathers in particular, I also know that it is not just up to my husband to watch his temper. In fact, I know I have been guilty of provoking my children, and sometimes for no other reason but because I can. Oh wretched woman that I am!

And yet the parent-child relationship is not just about do's and don'ts. As with all of God's exhortations and commands, there is a promise. There is an eternal benefit and a far-reaching impact for those who are willing to trust Him instead of themselves.

For today:

  • Do you allow your children to speak to you disrespectfully or tolerate subtle disobedience? How might this detrimentally affect their character development in the future?
  • Do you fear taking up the mantle of authority as a mother in your home? How can we balance authority with grace?
  • Or are you on the other side? In what ways do you provoke your children to anger? Ask the Lord to humble your heart before your children and change your words to reflect Eph. 4:29.

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