Instructing the Ephesian believers on what it means to be filled with the Spirit, Paul explained that the Spirit-filled life is something that every believer should exhibit. In Ephesians 5 and 6 he lays out in plain language what it means for Christian families to be filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is not something that is relegated to adults or simply for those who have been Christians for years. Rather, Paul articulates clearly that each member of a Christian family must be filled with the Spirit.
For the Christian wife, being filled with the Spirit means submitting to the leadership of her husband. For the Christian husband, being filled with the Spirit means lovingly leading and caring selflessly for His wife. In Ephesians 6:1, Paul turns his instruction to the children in a Christian home.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”
For Christian young people and children, the Spirit-filled life would look very specific – obedience to their parents. In teaching the responsibility of Christian young people to their parents, God does not give too many qualifying statements as to the parents to be obeyed. Rather, He gives the instruction to the young people to obey their parents in the Lord. The phrase “in the Lord” could be taken a couple of different ways. First, it could mean that children are supposed to obey their parents in all things pertaining to the Christian life and godly instruction. Second, it could mean that they are to obey because they are “in the Lord,” and should do what He commands of them, namely obey their parents.
Either way, the principle remains the same. Those who live with their parents under the authority of dad or mom should strive to obey in all things. But what if what dad or mom says is something that we don’t like? The question that should be answered is, “does their command violate the law of God?” If not, then disobedience to their command would be a violation of the law of God. For children in their parent’s home, the Spirit-filled life is quite straight forward – obey dad and mom.
And it seems like the Spirit is at work accomplishing a very specific work in the homes of Christians. The evidence of a good Christian home is a good authority/leadership structure. The husband lovingly leads and guides his wife. The wife humbly and patiently submits to the guidance of her loving husband. And the children seek to do what they are instructed by their parents. So is this how every Christian home looks? Sadly, no.
The reason Paul is giving this admonition in Ephesians 5 and 6 is because many Christian homes do not look like this. Many husbands don’t love their wives as much as they love themselves. Many Christian wives despise and deride their own husbands. Many Christian children disobey their parents and scorn their instruction. This is why it is absolutely crucial to read and understand what Paul is saying here. Christians should strive to be different. The structure that a family will thrive in is laid out plainly, and God offers His Spirit to equip believers to accomplish this beautiful God-honoring, Spirit-filled lifestyle. It is now our duty to trust Him and rely on His help and strength for the task.
Reflect: What is the role of each family member in a Spirit-filled Christian home?