Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Chains of Command

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord" (Colossians 3:22)

Yesterday we saw how we can cultivate the peace of God in our hearts by living peaceably within the body of Christ while giving thanks to God in all things. Our studies in Colossians have focused on the need to stand firm against heresy, and this theme of cultivating peace within the body of Christ is one of the most important aspects of resisting heresy. When there is peace and community in the church, it is hard for Satan to gain a foothold. Also, when there is peace and community in the church, the witness of Christianity is strong and overpowers the witness of cults, pagan religions, and nominal Christianity.

Colossians 3:12–13 tells us to work on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love. (Read that list again and focus your attention for a moment on each quality.) In Colossians 3:18–4:1, Paul brings it all down to earth, where the rubber meets the road. First of all, wives need to study these seven qualities as they submit to their husbands. No husband is perfect, and so no wife has it easy; but it will go much easier if she strives to maintain these seven qualities as she follows her husband.

Second, husbands need to work on these seven qualities as they give loving leadership to their wives. It is the husband’s aggressive love that enables the wife to enjoy following him.

Third, children must work on these seven qualities as they obey their parents. And fourth, parents need to implement these traits as they strive to raise up godly children. In particular, says Paul, fathers run the risk of embittering their children if they are harsh in their dealings with them.

Fifth, all servants must work hard on these qualities as they work for other people. Each of us, made in God’s image, wants to feel a sense of importance and self-worth. The servant (the employee) often feels degraded, but if he views his true master as Christ, he will be able to serve his earthly master with humility, compassion, forgiveness, and love.

And finally, masters (employers) must deal fairly and objectively with their subordinates, keeping the seven qualities ever in mind, because every earthly master must answer to a higher authority.

Which of these relationships apply to you? Are you following the seven qualities of Colossians 3:12–14 in each of these relationships? Which ones do you need help with? God has promised to help you develop these qualities in the warp and woof of your life, and He will answer your prayer for help and wisdom?