As we move into unpacking the last chapter in the book of Ephesians, I just want to make a couple of statements here regarding this passage, and then move on. I think it’s neat that God includes, and speaks directly to children here, including them, because just like the women in Greek society, children were property and had no rights. In Roman society, when a baby was born it was taken to the father. If the father picked up the baby, it meant the child was received into the home. If he didn’t pick it up, it was rejected. It could be sold, given away, or set outside the door to die. All perfectly legal! Paul was saying something radical again. He was mandating that no child be rejected.
With a strong model marriage as described in the previous blog, Ephesians 5: Household Relationships, children have a great example to follow. Today, this type of marriage is rare, so the family unit is broken. If a father isn’t a good, biblical husband, the son won’t be, either. If a father doesn’t spend lots of time with his children, sit and talk about God to them, teach them in the way to go, the children probably won’t walk this way. They will learn priorities from you, your words, your behavior. What do you spend most of the time talking about? What do you value?
Building a Strong Family
You can’t build a spiritually strong family just because you go to church once a week. You’ve got to talk to your kids, including your faith in God, routinely, as you go about your daily life. If you want to build a strong family, then your children need to see on-going evidence that Yahweh is a daily part of your life.
Paul’s command in Ephesians 6 implies that a father will lovingly exhort, encourage, and correct his children using biblical principles as the standard. This is what Paul is speaking of in the end of verse 4, “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The father must take the lead if he wants his children to learn to follow biblical doctrines.
To secure building a strong relationship with his children, a father must demonstrate an ongoing love for his wife. Children will be watching and looking for the love and approval of their parents for one another; children thrive on such demonstrations. Not only that, but such evidence of their parents in a loving relationship will help build their confidence.
Even if a father spends a great amount of time with his children in activities, taking them to the playground, to movies, taking walks, going on vacations, and helping with homework, his efforts will be in vein if he does not continually cultivate a loving relationship with his wife. Husbands, loving your wife is a prerequisite to cultivating a strong relationship with your children.
This is an undeniable need of every child, for their mother and father to be actively loving and supporting one another, talking, communicating, being engaged with each other. This is the best gift a father could ever possible give his child. More than time. More than money. Besides that, you will train your child to how to be in a marriage.
There is one more thing I want to point out about this passage. I think along with the above, a father must be certain to keep his promises to his children. If you make a promise, and break it, how strong will your relationship to your children be? Will they see you as a man or your word? If you are untrustworthy, what will the image of God be to your children?
In Ephesians 6, Paul is holding the father accountable. Children are God’s precious cargo, and the father, not the mother, will have to give account for how the kids were raised.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…