I love how Paul continues his teaching on submission as a result of being filled with the Spirit, especially since he applies it to every group that may be reading this letter. He has already dealt with submission/love in marriage and now he moves on to how being submissive looks in the life of a child. Instead of messing around, Paul goes straight to the heart of the issue – “children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” A child can tell if he or she is being controlled by the Holy Spirit if obedience to parents is characteristic of his or her life. Paul’s instruction is very plain…obeying parents is the right thing to do. In a society that disregards the wisdom and instruction of parents, children who are followers of Christ should distinguish themselves from the world by giving honoring mom and dad. Honoring is an attitude of the heart where a child is obeying not only in action (6:1) but also in attitude (6:2). Some kids obey with their feet, but not with their heart and God is interested in obedience which stems from the heart. Paul also reminds children of the promise of long life to those who follow this commandment (6:3). In the same vein, Paul turns to the father (and mother) commanding them to not “provoke your children to wrath….” Provoking children is when a parent puts unreasonable demands on a child and rules with fear rather than love. I’ve often heard that rules without love/attention leads to rebellion, but rules with love/attention lead to respect
. Rather than controlling their children parents are responsible to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Parents should never leave spiritual instruction to a church or school, but should personally take responsibility for teaching their children to love and fear the Lord. In Ephesians 6:5-9 Paul turns his attention to the workplace. How does being filled with the Spirit look when I am at my job? First, Paul directs his attention to employees. Employees should obey their bosses and give them the respect they deserve (6:5). Ephesians 6:6 also reminds them to work hard even when the boss is not around to observe their work. Paul uses the expression “eyeservice
” and “men-pleasers
” to describe this type of employee. He also challenges employees to have the right view of of who they are working for…work ultimately reflects doing the will of God realizing He will reward us when we work hard even when no one is around to see (6:6b-8). Before closing his thoughts on submission, Paul gives some instruction to employers in Ephesians 6:9. Paul writes for masters to “do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” Employers and employees should treat each other with respect. Submission is obviously a big part of being filled with the Spirit and we should examine how we are measuring up to Paul’s instruction in this passage. Are you being a submissive wife? Are you being a loving husband? Are you being an obedient child? Are you imposing unreasonable demands on your children? Are you working hard at your job even when the boss is not there to see you? Are you treating your employees with respect?
Dear God, expose areas where I need to change.