Archive for January 12th, 2021

Colossians 3:20-21

In Colossians 3:20-21 Paul moves on to his instruction to children. He has just talked with wives and husbands, and now for some wisdom for the kids. It’s pretty direct and simple. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Paul is speaking to children who are still in their parents’ household and under their authority. In that situation, they must not only honor their father and mother, but they must also obey them, and obey them in all things. They can’t pick and choose when to obey. They aren’t able to filter what to obey. The direction is simple and straightforward – in everything.

Once a child is grown and no longer in the household, they are no longer under the same obligation of obedience. That does not, however, release them from the obligation to honor their father and mother. So why obey? Simply put it pleases the Lord. That is the most important reason for obedience. As a child obeys mom and dad, they are showing respect for God’s order of authority in the family which will leak into other areas of life. It is so important for kids to learn obedience because if they don’t learn it as a child, the lessons become much harder as they grow and are extremely difficult as adults.

Guzik explains “This idea of an order of authority and submission to an order of authority are so important to God that they are part of His very being. The First Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Father; the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Son. Inherent in those titles is a relationship of authority and submission to authority.” He continues “The Father exercises authority over the Son, and the Son submits to the Father’s authority – and this is in the very nature and being of God! Our failure to exercise Biblical authority, and our failure to submit to Biblical authority, isn’t just wrong and sad – it sins against the very nature of God.”

There is a parallel teaching for fathers related to this. “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Children have a responsibility to obey, but parents (which if Paul’s audience, not just dads) have a responsibility to not provoke their children. Parents can provoke their children by being too harsh, too demanding, too controlling, unforgiving, or just plain angry. This harshness can be expressed through words, through actions, or through non-verbal communication. Remember that we are all called to agape love. Parents usually blame their kids for disobedience or bad behavior. But Paul is reminding us that parental behavior may bring disobedience on. Kids that grow up being provoked will become discouraged and give up. They don’t feel love and support – only consistent condemnation. It leads to frustration. We need to parent with grace!

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