Father, it’s about me and You today. Help me to accept the challenge from Your Word rather than identify others’ failings.
Read Ephesians 6:1–9
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]
4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
- Ephesians 6:3 Deut. 5:16
- Ephesians 6:4 Or Parents
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink about all the counter-cultural commands of Jesus.
Just as with couples, Paul here is subversive of Roman culture. The very fact that he directly addresses women, children, and even slaves in his letter was revolutionary. Today’s verses also flow from 5:21. If everyone lived like that, none of these instructions would be a burden.
Verses 1–4. What’s the basis for a child’s attitude toward parents? The foundation is the Ten Commandments (2). Notice both mother and father are included here. What does the father’s instruction reveal about his role? What mindset should he demonstrate? Parental authority shouldn’t be wielded for its own sake or for selfish reasons.
Verses 5–9. Roman slavery was horrendous. Regarded as tools, a huge proportion of slaves suffered intolerably. However, Paul is not addressing the issue of slavery itself here, but those slaves who – if anyone did – experienced the better end of the spectrum, in households. He is subtly subversive. Earthly masters are never ultimate masters (9). Being accountable to God for their slaves’ welfare was revolutionary. Even the words ‘in the same way’ (9) are subversive (remember 5:21)!
Though life is different today, what doesn’t change is the command to work under Christ’s lordship.
Do you treat those under your authority with these attitudes and mindsets? Do you need Christ to begin to transform your thinking? Could the first steps be confession and apology?
Christ, I need Your wisdom and grace. Give me the humility to serve, and above all, give me Christ-filled motivations.
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