Saturday, October 24, 2009

Are Our Actions Matching Our Words?

Good morning my friends. It is a great Saturday morning. I am a bit rushed because I am being kicked out of my house. A few ladies are coming over this morning to clean and they want me out. This is their gift to me for Pastor Appreciation month. Nice. We are moving on to Ephesians 6.

As we move on from the relationship of husband and wife we find that Paul is still dealing with the the directive:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. v. 21

Ephesians 6 starts off with the application of this to the children:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise– “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Ever meet one of those kind of parents that expect complete obedience from their children? You have now; I am one of those. The thing is that children can only do what is modeled for them. They learn more from observing an example then they do from what they are told. Our actions need to match our words before we can expect that our children will do as we say and what we model for them.

We should teach our children that adults also submit to each other. They need to see that we are accountable and will take correction when we are wrong. But parents are like some pastors some times, afraid to show imperfections. The thing is that children already see the imperfections. Did I mention they are very good at observing. If we try to cover over these things with lies and excuses our children will also learn how to lie and use excuses to cover their failings. If they see the respect we have for otehrs, submitting ourselves to gentle correction and being thankful for it, they too will see that correction is a normal part of life.

The greatest thing we can demonstrate for our children is our great love for Jesus. This love is demonstrated in the way we treat others, including our children. But do not think they are only looking at how you love them. They are also watching how you interact with your neighbour, your parents, your siblings, the people at church. They also hear what you are saying about your boss and co-workers. Did I mention they also hear very well along with their great talent of observing? Perhaps this is the reason Paul writes specifically to the dads:

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. v4

There is nothing more exasperating then inconsistency; do what you say and say what you do. Why is he picking on dads here? Perhaps it is because we haven't changed very much over the past 2000 years or so. Men have to be very careful because both their sons and daughters are looking toward them to see what a real man is in this life. Jesus example shows us the words and actions of a real man. He loved us to the point of sacrificing himself for us. I realize that any of us men would gladly step in front of a bus to save our children. If this is true then why won't we sacrifice our pride, our time, our interests, our sports, our language, our actions to save our children? We are setting the example that will mold them for the rest of their lives.

If we desire obedient children we need to give them obedient parents. We need to learn to submit to the will of our Father so that we can also learn to submit to each other. All very hard lessons that start when we die to ourselves and come alive in Jesus. 

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