I was doing a Bible study about children teenagers (Editor’s note: Dr. Murray originally wrote “children” but we all know that teenagers are still their parent’s children, right?) the other day, and discovered that the most common word God uses when talking about children teenagers is “obedience.” Here’s a couple of New Testament verses for you (Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20). You can also find this word lots of times in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Proverbs.
Whatever else you want to be, you must aim and strive to be obedient. That’s not too complicated, is it? It simply means doing what you are told by God, parents, teachers, and others in positions of authority over you.
But obedience is not a very fashionable or popular idea today. In fact, we’re in danger of losing this whole concept from our families, our churches, and our culture. So here’s a quick summary of the kind of obedience God requires from you, and we’ll focus especially on obeying our parents:
Total obedience: Do everything your parents say unless it’s clearly contrary to God’s Word. Underline “all things” in Colossians 3:20.
Speedy obedience: Delayed obedience is disobedience.
Cheerful obedience: Not with sullen face and resentful spirit but willingly and happily.
Unquestioning obedience: As you get older, there may be times when you might ask for an explanation for why Mom and Dad are asking you to do something. But that questioning should never be rebellious and a way of avoiding obedience, but rather to help obedience.
Unseen obedience: This means obeying even when your parents are not there to see.
Initiated obedience: Don’t just wait passively until you are asked to do something but actively volunteer to help, ask in what way you can obey your parents better.
Happy obedience: Paul says that obeying our parents is not just right, it’s pleasing to God (Col. 3:20), it makes Him happy. But it also makes us happy too. Psalm 1 celebrates how a life lived in the study and practice of the Bible is the happiest life there can ever be.
Life-extending obedience: If we honor our parents by obeying them, God promises to extend our life (Ex. 20:12). Of course God sometimes wisely decides to make some exceptions to that, but in general we can say that obedient children live longer, not just because their lifestyle will be safer, but because of God’s blessing.
Temporary obedience: When does the obligation to obey our parents end? Some say 18, or 21, or when we go to college. However, these are all cultural norms. The Bible points to marriage as the game-changer. Although we should never stop honoring our parents, obeying them does undergo a change at marriage. We “leave” our father and mother, and “cleave” to our wife or husband. Although we would be wise to continue to consult our parents and seek their blessing on our decisions, marriage sets up a new family unit and a new center of authority. (What this means for adult singles is another subject).
Revealing obedience: Your parents are God’s representatives in your life. He has appointed them to rule you in His name. The way you talk and listen to them reveals how you talk and listen to God. The state of your relationship with them reveals the state of your relationship with God.
This article was first publish on HeadHeartHand.org under the title, “One for your Kids,” and is reposted here with permission.