Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. - Ephesians 6:1
As a Christian parent, one of our heart’s greatest desires is for our children to follow and obey the Lord. One important way we, as mothers, must encourage this is by teaching our children to obey us.
This is a big deal. In today’s society, children often rule the home. Their feelings and moods are allowed to determine a family’s schedule and priorities. You see this play out on the national scene as children are heralded as social heroes and the source of positive change for an entire nation. This should not be.
God has put certain relationships in place to teach us humility and submission. You see this clearly in Ephesians chapters 5 & 6. Paul has been exhorting the Church on how to live and now begins to teach on specific relationships. Wives and husbands, children and parents, and servants and masters. These are all relationships that include humble submission and loving authority.
Children are called to obey and honor their parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” Eph. 6:1-2. Paul is echoing Exodus 20:12 here where honoring your parents is proclaimed as one of the ten commandments. The only commandment that also includes a promise: “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Eph. 6:3. This adds even more weight to the matter.
Why does God care so much about the obedience of our children? Why would he care that when we tell our children to do the dishes, they do them? Because it is a representation of their obedience to the Lord himself. It is essential training for a heart that will willingly submit to God and what he calls them to do later in life. The only way anyone can come to God is in full submission and humility.
If we allow our children to be rebellious and disobey our commands, we are training them in reverse. We are teaching them that it is okay to disregard authority, okay to give in to what their flesh wants. We are teaching them God will let them slide just like their parents do. You are teaching them a lie. You are teaching them SIN.
Teach your children to obey, always. Do away with warnings for bad behavior, do away with extra chances so they can elude the consequences. Be patient, set reasonable expectations and give clear consequences beforehand (just like God has for us). I know this is no easy task. Godly parenting is hard work - and it should be! Think what we are preparing them for - godly living in the midst of darkness - spiritual war!
Also important: teach them to respect the authority of your husband. Allow them to fear the “wrath of Dad” when they do something wrong. This is a healthy fear. Knowing that Dad possesses authority to hand out judgement and deal the punishment. The father is their representative of God himself (mothers too but not nearly in the same significance). Support him in this difficult, vital role. He will not always carry it out perfectly (he really isn’t God) but stand by him.
All this must be done saturated in love. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4. Remember the grace and mercy lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father. We must also display these attributes often to our children. We do not discipline for the sake of power control, we discipline because we love our children so much and desire them to fear the Lord. Love your children well by teaching them obedience.
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. - Psalm 119:37
The answer to your current life question is in the Bible. The cure for your anxiety is found there too. When you need help, you need the Bible. Ladies, Jesus is the answer to every problem you have.
I could load this blog with scripture to back this up, however, here are just a few:
My concern for you women today is this: that you have displaced the Bible in your life.
Instead of going to God’s Word you head to the doctor, or the internet, or the refrigerator, or go looking for easy affection. Always running after the answer you are longing for. Some of you turn to your husband, your children, or a friend (is your first reaction to your situation to text someone?). Some run, some drink, some wait for signs. All while the Bible lays there with the answer, unopened.
Whatever (or whoever) you turn to first when you have a question or problem, THAT is what you have made your “bible”. What is it for you?
I know many will think I am simplifying this too much. Because, obviously, I don’t know what you are dealing with right now. Nope, I don't. But I do know what God has brought me through in my own life. From the suicide of a loved one to depression, marital strife to the trials of motherhood, God’s Word has been my anchor and always will be. I can confidently say along with David, “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30.
Are you supposed to leave your unfaithful husband? Are you to change jobs? Should you leave your career and stay home to train up children? Is this depression a physical reality needing medical attention or could it be spiritual? There is a right decision to each of these questions. No need for the “trial and error” method, we have all been down that road. It is a waste of life. Instead look to God and read what he has to say about it. Keep reading until you get the answer. Through his Word and the working of his Holy Spirit, God will provide the wisdom and insight needed for your assurance.
This should be the lifestyle of a Christian woman - reading scripture faithfully, routinely and intentionally. Filling yourself with God’s Word is the pathway to becoming wise. There is no true intelligence outside of having the saving knowledge of God first (Proverbs 1:7). Anything else is folly.
Can we really trust the promises of God? For me, I can say, “Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.” (Ps. 119:140). God has proven true over and over in my life. I encourage you to trust him enough to try his promises too. Ask your Loving Father for wisdom as a daughter needing counsel and guidance - he gives generously!
Ladies, do not allow anything or anyone to take the place of God’s Word in your life. Let the Bible be what it is meant to be - your source of truth and wisdom from the mouth of God. Use it.
“I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” - Philippians 4:18
Giving is worship of God. In the verse above, Paul is comparing the funds sent by the Philippians to the old testament blood sacrifices and is saying it is “acceptable and pleasing to God”. This financial offering and sacrifice of the Philippian church was an act of them worshipping God. The same is true of us when we give sacrificially and joyfully out of obedience to God.
Giving is another godly discipline that we women need to be intentional in. This coordinates with chapter 16 of Barbara Hughes’ book, Disciplines of a Godly Woman and will be my final blog in this series.
Giving is a deep heart issue and goes way beyond allotting God one dime out of every dollar so we can check it off our “Christian to do list”. The Bible has much to say about our money and how we use it - and it should, for we humans are often consumed by this subject. We are told to lay up our treasures in Heaven and not on earth, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21. There is great warning in this verse, we need to heed it and examine ourselves honestly. Where is your heart?
Giving is not something “extra” we do. Nor is it something we do if or when we are able to or only for those who “can afford it.” Putting money in the offertory is not like the whip cream on top of your Christian latte. It is one of the essential ingredients of your latte. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to recognize your drink as coffee. We give to God because that is what those who are called by his name do.
This goes beyond the balance of our bank account. Remember that Jesus was pleased with the poor widow who put “two small copper coins, which makes a penny” into the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44). Others were there “contributing out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty” put in “all she had to live on.” What great faith! There are too many of us acting like the rich people, giving great sums out of our abundance. But those sums are not affecting our lifestyles one bit. We give more, but trust God less. That type of giving lacks faith in God and is not worship.
Paul also praised the Macedonians who “gave beyond their means” for the relief of their fellow saints who were suffering (2 Cor. 8:1-7). Paul said, “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” Inspired by God, those in affliction gave to help others in affliction - what great love, what great faith!
In Exodus 19:5 the Lord says, “all the earth is mine.” Everything we think of as “ours” is truly God’s, yet God has apportioned to each of us a set amount to test us in our faithfulness. Let’s work at being found faithful. Let’s strive to be abundantly generous in every way. Instead of asking ourselves how much we should give to God, maybe we should begin to ask ourselves how much we actually need to keep of what he gives us.
Giving is not reserved for special occasions or for only when serious needs arise. Giving should be a regular and routine spiritual habit we engage in with joy and cheerfulness. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:6-7.
Ladies, let’s worship God with all he has blessed us with.