A New Home
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, loves your wives and do not be embittered against them
Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
One of the joys of pastoring in Altanta, Missouri is that the family is taken seriously. If you look, you will find many examples of good families living around you. My favorite place to look for good families is Atlanta Baptist Church. Just this past Sunday, I learned that one of our couples will be married 60 years this August! I also noticed that we had more than one family with at least three generations present at the Sunday gathering. As a husband and father, it is such a blessing to be part of a church that has several great marriages and families presenting a faithful picture of the Christian home.
The church at Colossae had several families as well, and just like the families in our church, they needed instructions on how to live together in a manner that brings joy and honor to God. So, what does Paul do? He gives one line of instruction to wives, one line of instruction to husbands, one line of instruction to children, and one line of instruction to parents. Did you catch the pattern? One line of instruction! Hundreds of trees have been sawn down to produce books on marriage and family, and Paul gives four one-line instructions.
The first instruction is given to wives: "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." Paul instructs wives to demonstrate their loyalty to their husbands by following his leadership. The Apostle is not saying this because wives are inferior to their husband, but because following their husband's lead is "fitting in the Lord." A wife's submission to her husband's leadership says as much about her loyalty to Jesus as it does her loyalty to her husband.
Of course it is much easier for a wife to follow her husband when he is leading and loving her in a godly manner. So, Paul gives the second instruction to husbands: "Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them." Husband are instructed by Paul to be self-less and self-controlled. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul told husband to "love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Eph. 5:25). Husbands, give yourself selflessly everyday for your bride. Do the little things that would be difficult or even impossible for her to do by herself. And by the way, give yourself cheerfully. Exercise self-control when relating to your wife so that you are not treating her harshly. Remember, she is also an heir of grace! (1 Peter 3:7)
Paul's third instruction goes out to children: "Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord." Don't miss the fact that Paul takes the time to write something for the children in the church. He loved children, believed they are valuable to the church, and desired for them to live in ways that bring satisfaction to God. If you are parent you should read this paragraph to your child! What is Paul requiring of the children? Simple obedience. Listen to your parents and follow their instructions to the best of your ability and God will be pleased.
Even though the Apostle never raised children, he knew their were two parts to their obdience. The child's part and the parent's part. To the parents, Paul writes, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart." When Paul says, "Fathers," he could aslo say, "Parents." He is cautioning parents against driving their child to discouragement. Don't skim past what the Apostle says. Parents, the way you treat your child could cause them to lose heart altogether. Act in love. Act with patience. Act with mercy and grace.
Not one of these instructions is difficult to process, but putting them into practice requires effort. Remember, if you're alive in Christ, then He is alive in you supplying the power you need to live this way. And if Jesus is truly Lord of your life, you will give your best faith effort to make these practices a part of your family dynamic. Be patient and forgiving with one another, and be confident that God blesses those homes who are surrendered to Him.
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS REVIEW THIS WEEK?
1. Talk with your spouse about the strengths and weaknesses of your marriage. Have your Bibles open when you do this.
2. Tell your children how much you love and appreciate them, and talk to them about how they can live in a way that pleases God.
3. Pray for other families in your church and community to learn and implement these realities into their lives.