Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:18-21)
Inspired by God, the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians, telling them about life in the Spirit. In this section he applied the idea of walking in the Spirit to the Christian family. There are specific things for Christian husbands, wives, children, and parents to keep in mind as they seek to live to the honor of Jesus.
We shouldn’t regard these things as the only message God has for the Christian family. There is much more, especially in the general instruction God gives regarding life in the Spirit. If we would simply live more faithful Christian lives, we would surely get along better in our families. You can find much more specific instruction on the Christian marriage in this audio teaching series. Here’s what we find in Colossians 3:18-21:
The word to wives is submit. The idea of submission doesn’t have anything to do with someone being smarter or better or more talented. It has to do with a God-appointed order. Men and women have absolutely equal standing before God (as in Galatians 3:28), but God appoints particular roles and functions. This isn’t submission that is demanded, but done because it is fitting the Lord.
The word to husbands is love. In the Christian marriage, this safeguards the instruction to the wife. Though wives are to submit to their husbands, it never excuses husbands acting as tyrants over their wives. A husband’s leadership in the home must be a leadership of love.
The word to children is obey. Children who are still in their parents’ household and under their authority must not only honor their father and mother (as in Ephesians 6:2), but they must also obey them, and in all things.
The word to parents is do not provoke. Children have a responsibility to obey, but parents have a responsibility to not provoke their children. Parents can provoke their children by being too harsh, too demanding, too controlling, unforgiving, or just plain angry. This harshness can be expressed through words, through actions, or through non-verbal communication.
In it all, we should also take away a point that is obvious but sometimes is overlooked. All this shows us that God cares about your family. Right now your family might be a blessing or a burden to you, but either way God cares. You can pray and boldly obey with that knowledge strengthening your faith every step of the way.