“If parents want their children to obey, then parents need to obey God,” my pastor said. He was preaching on victory through submission and surrender and had just pointed out to children how they must obey their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1). Naturally, I nudged my 7-year-old. That’s when my pastor followed up with his point on parents and, naturally, I felt like God was nudging me.
My pastor is right, and I’m not saying that to get a break this Sunday morning. Galatians 3:26 tells us that we are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Christ tells us that if we love Him, we must keep His commandments (John 14:15). Meanwhile, Jesus is one with the Father, and we are to love God the Father with all our heart, soul, and mind (John 10:30, Matthew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:5). In doing so, we are honoring our Heavenly Father, who by the way expects us to honor our earthly father and mother (Exodus 20:12).
Let’s pause here and examine a few cases where men were serving the Lord while at the same time being a dad to disobedient children.
In Leviticus, Aaron’s sons did not follow instructions and offered “strange” or unauthorized fire before the Lord. As a result, they died (Leviticus 10:1-2). Centuries later, the sons of the prophet Eli were wicked. As a result, the house of Eli paid a price (1 Samuel 2:12-4:22).
How did the children of pastors get so disobedient? Jokes about the pastors’ kids aside, it could be their fathers were not obeying the Lord and training them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Sure, Aaron and Eli were busy and things went unnoticed at times. But that’s the point. Make sure you are up to speed on what your children are doing, not just as home. Pay attention to what you and your children are watching. Read the Bible, attend church and bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Make Sunday school a priority, while ensuring your child is doing the best he or she can in school.
Bottom line, teach your children to obey those that have rule over them (Hebrews 13:17). Why? Because every soul is subject to the higher powers (Romans 13:1). My pastor mentioned that too. I know because his instruction for parents felt like God nudging me to pay more attention.