I must admit, I recently found myself anticipating Thursday nights since it was the drop of Mandalorian’s new episode. If you haven’t seen the show, this bounty hunter lives by a code that says, “This is the way.” For him, it drives his commitment and even unwillingness to remove his helmet. This example does remind me of a biblical principle that we find in Ephesians 6. The statement, “Children obey your parents,” is a useful and important code to live by; and one that I’m sure if truly committed to would make a difference in homes.
As a parent, I am delighted when my children obey and heed my advice. At the same time, pure obedience can simply be conformity when we are called instead to make disciples. Inside Ephesians 6:1 is a key parenthetical which reads, “In the Lord.” While this reminds us of God’s ultimate authority and His Word, it also emphasizes a key assumption made by the Apostle Paul. The assumption is that you are in a Christian home.
For a Christian home, there is a key challenge for both children and parents. Kids, if you somehow read this blog, understand that your obedience to your parents is a way to model to others your submission to Christ. I realize that may seem backward, but as God’s children, we are to show the world what it looks like to love God and love others. For children, this can be accomplished by modeling Christlike authority in the home every day. Perhaps others will take notice and begin to ask questions about your behavior. This open door can be a way to point others to Jesus and have a Gospel conversation.
Be warned, however, simple obedience is a starting point. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that obedience is enough. That trap can lead us to focus on the external. Perhaps this is why the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to add verse two, which challenges lifelong honor of parents. At the end of the day, this is a heart issue.
Parents must understand that demanding obedience is not the same as deserving obedience. Notice that Ephesians 5 made strong comments about marriage and the home. Exercising servant leadership and humility with authority will lead to children who are more willing to obey. Demanding behavior modification and making disciples are not the same thing.
The aim is to glorify God in our home and to point others to Him. How we love and lead in our home will impact our ability to carry hope to the world. After all, “This is the way.”