Ephesians 6 begins with some more direction on how God designed the family. He tells young ones “children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right….honor your father and mother…..that it will go well with you”. Kids are to live obediently with their parents. Not just sometimes – but obedience means all the time. So how does that work? It starts when we model obedience to the Father and make that clear to our kids. We often get exactly what we give God – partial obedience. I remember my kids going through the phase of watching the speedometer and asking me how come I was speeding. Of course I explained it away – the speed limit is guidance – not something we have to obey completely. Then I wondered why I got the same from my kids. We get what we sow my friends. It starts with us modeling the truth.
The next thing Paul reminds fathers of is “do not provoke your children to anger”. I was guilty of this one – and still am at times. As dad’s we should not provoke our kids – we should again model obedience because scripture tells us to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”. How come we fail on that – because we first of all don’t know what the instruction is – we haven’t studied the Word enough – and then we fail to discipline consistently and correctly – we leave it to our wives to do so much of the correction. We have big responsibility placed on us as fathers. Don’t neglect what Paul writes here.
He goes on to tell slaves to “obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling”. That obey word sure shows up a lot doesn’t it. Slaves can be interpreted pretty broadly. Many would say that employees fall into that bucket today. There needs to be respect and obedience to the desire of the boss. All these relationships – starting with husbands and wives – then children and parents – then slaves and masters – all these relationships are so important in living out our faith. We can’t truly walk as Christ Followers if we don’t live right in these relationships.
Paul then gives us teaching on how to deal with the enemy. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might”. Remember that our battle is not won by our own ability but that of the Lord. He tells us to “put on the whole armor of God….that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”. We have a suit of preparation that allows us to deal with the enemy. But we have to put it on – we have to use it – and then realize that the battle is about schemes – not brute force but often about deception and lies. We have to be ready. We aren’t facing an army like you might think of it – this enemy consists of “rulers….authorities….cosmic powers….spiritual forces of evil”. It is a battle of spiritual magnitude and we won’t win it if we go it alone.
Paul ends the chapter giving us our fighting orders. He tells us that since God is in control, has already won the victory, and will lead us to overcome – we need to “take up the whole armor of God”. What does that entail – Paul lists the pieces here:
– “belt of truth
– breastplate of righteousness
– shoes for your feet….the readiness given by the gospel of peace
– shield of faith
– helmet of salvation
– sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
We have been equipped by the Father to win. Our job is to “end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints……opening my mouth boldly”. God will handle the details of winning. We need to put on the armor and then be ready to do battle. Are you? Do you recognize the enemy?