One particular Sunday I went outside to enjoy the cool of the morning on my patio. Unfortunately, my peaceful reading was disturbed by the sounds of a profanity-laced argument coming from a neighbor’s house. I couldn’t make out all of the argument, but I could discern that at least one person was in a rage and was taking out that anger on his family members. As I sat praying for peace and reconciliation for my neighbors, I couldn’t help thinking that families are often where there is the opportunity for both the most Jesus-like behaviors and the most un-Jesus like treatment of one another.
- Who has the ability to draw out the very best and/or the very worst in you?
READ THE WORD: Colossians 3:18-4:1 (ESV)
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
4:1 Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
- What is each of the following people told to do in this passage: wives, children, bondservants, husbands, fathers, and masters?
- Which person within a household did Paul give the most instructions to?
- How many times is the Lord referred to in these nine verses, and what is said about him?
- Who is the ultimate authority for each person, or to say it another way, who is each person working to please? How does this affect the motivation for following these instructions?
- Who is your ultimate authority—whom are you serving—in all that you do? How does that make it easier or harder to love family members?
RESPOND TO GOD
After describing what it looks like to live a life that is fitting to the Lord in verses 3:1-17, Paul instructed the Colossian Christians on what it looks like to bring Jesus into the most intimate of relationships—those within the family. His ultimate goal was that they would recognize that, in all they said and did, they were working to please Jesus. The same is true of us: We are called to defer to one another, putting on love (Col. 3:14) and starting with those closest to us—our family, remembering that we do this in service to Jesus.
- Ask God to help you love and serve your family, and to be mindful that, as you do, you are serving him.