Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20
Summertime for many parents means extended time with our kids. Most of us give thought to how to make the most of it. Camps, family vacation, day trips, church trips, time with friends, sports, sports, and more sports 😅. All of those things are great, but it’s imperative that we give thought to the formidable relationship that exists between parents and children, especially in regards to children’s obedience to parents.
Colossians 3:20 teaches that children should obey parents and then immediately gives the reason for keeping the command “this pleases the Lord.” Likewise in Exodus 20:12 when we’re given the 5th Command to “Honor your father and your mother” it’s immediately followed by the reasoning for the command “that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” The biblical basis for the command for children to obey wasn’t a threat of punishment but great benefit for their life to come! If we combine the very similar teachings of Col 3:20 and Ex 20:12 we get something like: “Children, honor and obey your parents. This pleases God and will be great for your future!” Is there anything you want more for your kids than to please God and have a bright future???
So how can we as parents apply this? In one sense we can’t 😆 Col 3:20 and Ex 20:12speak directly to children. The Bible assumes enough maturity in a child that they can hear God’s Word and strive to be faithful to it. But while we can’t keep commandments for them, we definitely have a role in cultivating maturity and helping them obey.
Here’s a few ways parents can help kids become more obedient and reap the benefits of pleasing God and having a bright future:
•Share the command from Scripture — the Word of God never returns void! Many times just letting a child hear it or read it for themselves from Bible can help. Make these verses a time of family devotional. Share your own personal experience with them and how you’ve seen this command prove true in your own life and others. Pray with them about it. **don’t go running for your Bible when your upset with them** 😬 Share it in a calm, loving way.
•Give them opportunities — spend time with kids in environments where they can obey. If we’re spending all our time with our kids watching through a fence on a ball field or from the bleachers in a gym, then going from there to their favorite entertainment venue, then out for frozen yogurt, then they drift off to sleep watching Netflix, we’re not giving them much opportunity for God-pleasing, future-preparing, obedience to parents 😅. Chill out. Go home. Don’t over program. Give them some responsibility. Have dinner at your table. Talk about life. Set some expectations and give them some opportunities to obey.
•Model obedience — kids are like Doppler radars for hypocrisy. If they witness us not respecting authority and breaking rules, they’ll likely do it to. Obey the laws. Be a model employee. Keep your word. Don’t (ever) go behind the back of your wife or husband and do things that would undermine your relationship and hurt them. Kids see us! They do a lot of what we do! 🥴
•Don’t abuse the command — The command for children to obey is not a license for us to abuse or misuse power. Col 3:21 tells dads not to provoke children to anger, probably because we have a sinful tendency to do that. Resist that. Remember the benefits God gave associated with children obeying — pleasing God and a bright future, not for an easy life for parents.
One more quick thing—Parents none of us are perfect at this. And our kids aren’t either. If everyone did all this naturally there wouldn’t be a command for it! Please don’t be embarrassed when your kids don’t obey or judge others when their kids mess up. Showmanship is especially ugly in parenting. Let’s be in this together. Most of us can agree that we want our kids to please God and have a bright future, so let’s be there for each other and pray for each other and our kids on this front!
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