MARRIAGE BUILDER series by Jimmy Evans, Marriage Today

A healthy family is characterized by order and mutual respect, elements that are present when proper parental authority is exercised.

Romans 13 says authority is from God and is for our good. 1 Samuel 15 makes clear that submission to authority is a virtue, and rebelling against us is sinful. A follower of Jesus submits to the authority and will of God every day, and in doing so, lives in the blessing of God’s peace and presence.

Our authority as parents should be an extension of God’s authority, designed to provide a righteous influence in the family. It prevents our sin nature from destroying the potential of each family member—and the family as a whole.

Obviously, any discussion about parental authority must include the importance the Bible puts on children obeying and honoring their parents:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1–3) That’s one of the most powerful promises in the Bible. God is communicating to us the values of His kingdom, as well as the importance of authority and submission.

Parents who do not exercise righteous authority and require their children to obey and honor them are creating problems for themselves, for society, and for their children. They are cursing their children with a life of problems which result from separation from God’s blessings and promises.

Unfortunately, the truths above run counter to the world’s values. In our present society, submission is typically thought to be a sign of weakness. Rebellion is often an attitude that garners respect rather than condemnation.

Consider our most popular entertainment figures and high-profile athletes. Consider the celebrities our nation obsesses over. You’ll find plenty of rebellion among them. You’ll find much egomania and self-absorption. And you’ll find very, very few who are committed, submitted Christians.

The children of our country are being bombarded with messages of rebellion from the entertainment industry and their peers. Watch almost any programming for children and teens, where parents are either out of the picture or out of touch. Husbands are portrayed as bumbling idiots. Wives are disrespectful and shrill.

Ours is not a culture that teaches its children to honor and obey parental authority. In order to stop this tide of family and marriage destruction, we must be willing to reject the world’s rebellious message.

Then we must be willing to pray for and implement God’s righteous parental authority in our homes—and we need to do it unapologetically. It is an essential element for domestic success and survival. When proper parental authority is present, it creates a framework for lasting, loving relationships. When it is absent, it allows bad influences (from within and without) to destroy a marriage and family.

Look at your home and family. Are you submitted to God’s will for your family? Are you exercising proper parental authority?

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