Which Came First?
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." - Colossians 3:20-21 NIV You've all heard the question, "which came first the chicken or the egg?". But today I want to ask you something different; which comes first, obedient children or encouraging fathers? (and mothers too btw) As a dad, drowning in estrogen with four little girls at home, I'm learning a thing or two about how my actions directly affect my daughter's reactions. I'm learning that from my tone of voice to my body language everything I do has an effect on what my girls do in response. Although I absolutely stand behind the truth claim that God is pleased when children obey. I was and am taken aback by the combination of these two verses and their implied interplay. Let me explain. As I see it, if I work diligently to encourage my daughter's to do what is right, their obedience will follow. And when it does, it will surely come with both willingness and joy. Meanwhile, if all I do is bark commands, never explaining why I expect their obedience, I will most assuredly embitter them and thus short-circuit the very obedience I desire. You see, I want my children to obey, knowing that they are pleasing to God, but I also desire that they obey out of a willing heart that fully knows that their earthly father loves them deeply and only wants what's best for them. Not only should this be the goal of all Christian fathers, it was in fact, the very way God dealt with us. God, encouraging us through His great love on the cross, called us to follow Him (a.k.a. obey). So I guess we know the answer to the question above. Encouragement first, obedience as the result! Questions to Consider: How could it change your relationship with your children if you encouraged them to obey rather than just command that they do so? What are some practical ways you can do this with your own children?