“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. That it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. ... Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”
Paul is referring here, of course to the only one of the ten commandments that includes the promise, “that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” It’s always been a problem for kids to obey adults—even the greatest parents that love, protect and provide for them. And God was aware of this thousands of years ago when He gave this command—-but it does not matter that obedience goes contrary to our nature.
We are obligated to honor our mothers and fathers and to obey them, unless, of course, obedience runs counter to what God requires of us. But rarely do parents require of a child to act in ungodly behavior. The truth is, children have little excuse for disobedience.
But if children can be taught that obedience to parents is doing God’s will, we will be providing them with a spiritual inheritance! They can be sure of His pleasure, blessing and the promise of enjoying a long life. “Enjoying” is the focus. Many folks live long lives, but how many enjoy a long life? We can help our kids enjoy life by teaching them about the merits of obedience and honor to adults, those in authority over us and our parents.
And the best way to teach is by example. Our children will see how we treat our parents. They watch us more than they listen to us; they watch our facial expressions and figure out our body motions quite quickly. Do I want my boys to treat me just like I treated my parents? It’s a matter of fact that they will.
God’s promise to us is that He will bless us and that we will live and enjoy life, in proportion to how we honor, respect and obey our parents—-and not just because our parents are honorable, respectable or “right”. Frankly, no parents has it “right” every time; no parents is as honorable and respectable as we wish they were; none are incapable of making the wrong choice or messing up from time to time! And yet we’re called to honor and obey them anyway. Our moms and dads should not be revered as creatures incapable of sin—and of course none of us are worthy of such adulation either. But we can treat them like we hope our children will one day treat us, and we can be certain that by honoring and obeying them we are honoring God Himself.