Today’s Reading: Ephesians 6
Today we hear from Paul about abuse of power and battling against evil. He begins with a gentle reminder to parents and children:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4
As a parent, this is a practical reminder for me at the end of a long weekend. Now that summer is in full swing, my children are constantly testing me on bedtimes, food choices and screen time. I work so hard to provide measured, consistent boundaries but at times I just lose it! I find myself using my power as a parent to inflict judgement and sometimes punishment on my children when really, I’m upset about someone else using their power against me. Often, when we feel belittled, demeaned or shamed in our adult life we respond by wielding that same power over someone else. Who among us hasn’t struggled with feelings of anger or resentment and turned that into revenge? We feel justified in counting another’s failures when we find ourselves in a position of power. Paul shows us in today’s reading that this is a common theme the enemy has been using against us for centuries. He addresses this in verse 5 in regards to the Ephesians and their slaves:
“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.” Ephesians 6:5-9
Paul reminds us not to abuse the positions of power we are blessed with. He cautions us to do our work here on earth with honesty and integrity. To work as if He is our boss and remember that we are all equal before God. Whether we work in an office, parent children, or simply live as an example of Christian values, we are called to reject Satan’s false promises. Leading a Christian life requires us to battle against authorities that do not put Jesus at the center. Lord, help us to see that you are the Master, you are the potter and that our power is through obedience to you. Guide us gently as Paul led the Ephesians to a life that’s closer to you.
Have a great holiday week!