Obedience is Very Important

15 Jun

Earlier this week, I was conversing with my son and joking around with him. I began to see him get frustrated, to which my first response, I must confess, was that I wish he would not be so easily frustrated and that he would be tougher mentally. Then, as if God himself wanted to make a point directly to me, I remembered a verse I memorized as a young lad, Ephesians 6:4.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

I immediately changed my thought process and began to think about how I need to make sure the things I do in fun when trying to play with my children are not provoking them. This has become something on which I am primarily focused throughout the day. My poor parenting skills aside, I am determined that the things I do will not contribute to the provocation of my children’s wrath.

As crazy as it sounds and despite my desire to be committed to such a task, I am realizing how all encompassing this is. You see, Ephesians 6:4 is not written in a vacuum, but it comes in the midst of an entire discourse on familial order. And as every parenting curriculum is quick to point out to our children, obedience is for their protection. It is so that it may be well with them and they can live long on earth. As parents (or even just adults), I think we understand that order and its direct association with the “reward” easily.

The reality is that there are a number of familial order situations that we may choose to obey or we may choose to ignore. It’s easy to just tell children they don’t need understand what we tell them, but they must obey because we said so, and dog-gone it, God confirms it. While that may be true to a point, it may fly in the face of our responsibility to not provoke them. As I have found, that can be done without even intending to do so, from time to time. And as the children cease to be children, those who were not brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord will certainly struggle to find the loving God, as the whole point of familial order is to point us back to God.

In last week’s blog, I talked about how great it is that the elders of Orlando Grace Church are committed to keeping our commitment to doctrine. One of these was “We will consistently fulfill our roles in society by embracing God’s design for functioning in each of the ordained spheres – home, church, and state.”

Obviously, this post is focused on the home order, but home order is enhanced, even if we, as children have from time-to-time, question God’s order. I had a discussion with a fellow Christian earlier this week whose church discounted some of this familial order by adopting an egalitarian position. Of course, if there are no distinct gender roles in marriage, why do we even care if there distinct genders. This is why our discussion led to a discovery that usually acceptance of homosexuality is just one theological generation from egalitarianism.

While we could certainly look in depth at every thing, I am exceedingly glad that our church takes a strong theological stand on many issues. The slippery slope that normally follows is evidence of the problem, but the reality is that the slope itself is a problem. Just as the fact that my son’s future rejection of my fathering may be evidence that I did not do well, the sin is in being a provoking father. That is why the action needs to be cut off from the very beginning. And thankfully, I, by God’s grace, am working on weeding out my issues at the root, just like my church!

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2 Responses to “Obedience is Very Important”

  1. Jack Pelham June 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Matt,Many shallow parents teach obedience for the sake of child management. Thus do they feel compelled only to teach the "what to do" and not the "why to do it". For this reason, the child grows up following the same managerial paradigm with his own children, and never having understood the wisdom behind the orders he once received and now passes on.It is imperative, along with obedience, that children be taught the love and appreciation of wisdom. If they are, they will not turn from it when it is their turn to lead. Indeed, a great part of the REASON for it is to prepare them for THEIR turn to lead, so if it is down right, the child is ever looking forward to teaching his own kids someday. Further, kids naturally love reason. That so many are forced to cope without reasons for the things they are forced to do is, I believe, very likely a MAJOR contributor to the epidemic of dysrationalia under which we suffer today. Rational thinking always considers the facts and logic of a matter. To shut down the kid who wants to understand why he must go to bed before it is dark is to teach him that reason doesn't matter. And it squelches his natural sense of curiosity, which is so naturally large in kids as to be a major factor in their identities. Thus does the poor parent send the unintended message that the kid is not a good person, for all this natural curiosity that wells up inside him is inappropriate, and perhaps even a challenge to the authority of God himself.It is good for a parent to be always the TEACHER. And when that happens very rare are the events upon which he discovers that his children need a mere manager. Kids love to do what is right when they are taught not only the task list, but the accompanying wisdom and heart behind it.Jack

  2. AskThePhatMan June 16, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Unfortunately, I think too many people confuse management or authority with a mandate to be autocratic. Yet those whose authority or management reaches the furthest are those who exhibit servant-like leadership. Oddly, it kind of parallels what Christ taught us in Scripture. hmmm

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