“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.”
- “Several observations are in order as we approach this important paragraph. First, we may see it as applying specifically to the general principle Paul set down in v.17. (Whatever you say or do as a representative of Christ.) Second the emphasis of the whole passage is on duties, not rights. Third, the duties are reciprocal- that is, not all the rights are on one side and all the duties on the other.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
- Okay – what significance does the duties verses rights delineation mean? I remember my pastor saying that often at marriage conferences, the husband perks up when they talk about wives’ roles and the women pay special attention when the duties of a husband get taught. We all love to hear teaching about how others should treat us. For example, in this passage I focus on the fact that my husband should love me and my kids should obey me. It can be a danger to read the Scriptures with an approach of hearing how others should treat me – my rights.
- Instead, the focus of Paul is more on personal responsibility. We should do everything as a representative of Christ as we talked about yesterday. So that attitude overflows into my marriage. I submit to my husband as Christ submitted himself to God. I treat those around me with kindness because Christ has been kind to me.
- Christ says that we are to work willingly with Him as our audience in everything. If I clean the kitchen and do the laundry expecting my kids to notice and thank me – I am setting myself up for disappointment. But if I do my work for the Lord knowing He has called me to care for my family, it changes my attitude. (We all do much more than housework… I’m just using it as an example of mundane work.)
- Having an audience of One releases us from demanding appreciation and recognition for what we do. We know He sees when we pick up those socks on the floor… AGAIN or choose to submit to our husbands even when we would rather do it our way.
- When you first read these verses today, did your mind go toward how others treat you… or how you should treat others? Ask God to help you read His Word with an attitude of personal change rather than what you think others need to hear.
- Which of these commands most hit home with you right now? See Ephesians 5:22-33 for a more expanded teaching of family relationships.
- Who is your audience? FB followers? Your friends? People at church? While we must consider others when making decisions, ultimately we should live to please the Lord, not people. “If we rely on other people for appreciation, we end up using them rather than loving them.” Mark Driscoll
Adoration: Praise God that He alone is the One we must answer to!
Confession: Take some time to think about how you are fulfilling these duties – submission, honoring parents, etc. Repent of anything that the Lord brings to mind.
Thanksgiving: Thank God that He has no favorites.
Supplication: Ask God to give you a desire to study His Word and grow in obedience to Him.