As is fitting in the Lord.
Colossians 3:18-4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
4 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 8 For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.
10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. 16 When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. 17 Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
In today’s text we see that it is people and human relationships that are to conform to the way and the will of God. It is not God and His will that bends to the changing will and whim of our culture. The text says: Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. This does not demean women or wives. It is not a bad thing to be subject to someone who loves you. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. What could be wrong with being subject to love? If there is a problem then, it is not with God’s order for things. It is with the imperfection of people. It is not the roles of men and women that should be the subject and the focus of the need for change in our culture and society. It is the sin of men and women. It is the sin of our society and culture which needs to change. Redefining human roles and sexuality does not make people inherently good. Good and evil are not determined by X and Y chromosomes. Every person, male and female, must choose evil or good. God is a God of order. When we attempt to adapt the natural, God ordained order of things, order becomes disorder, confusion and chaos. God does not change. When society and culture begin to change the natural order and design of things the only constant is change, which results in disorder, confusion and chaos.
The text says: Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Again our society and our culture have tried to change the natural God ordained structure of families. It has devalued the role of fathers and has attempted to usurp the role of parents in the discipline and raising of their children. The text says that fathers should not exasperate their children. Perhaps one of the most exasperating things for a child is to not have confidence in knowing who is in charge. Children are not born with the ability to do many things on their own. They have the potential to do everything that an adult can do, but they need time, they need development and maturity. They need to grow and learn. Until they do. They need parents who will and can train them up. It is not prejudiced to say that children who come from a strong family setting are on average more successful than their counterparts who do not. That truth is supported by every study that looks at the results. That does not mean that as a culture and society we should not do all that we can to help those who are disadvantaged. The answer though is not to disadvantage everyone. Instead we should find ways to bring the natural advantages of family to those who are disadvantaged. If institutions were best suited to raise children, institutions would give birth. When institutions, with their own individual structures and philosophies take the place of God ordained family and parental structure, it again results in disorder, confusion and chaos. Proverbs 22:6 says: Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Even those who disagree with the Bible have to acknowledge that the results of society’s failures to our families and children, are evident in the chaos and confusion, the disorder in our society. The breakdown of family structure and the increase in prison population have seen a direct correlation with each other. When we raise or train up confused children, they become confused adults and disorder and chaos are the result.
Jesus Himself was not a social activist. He did not fight to change even the wrong things, like slavery, in the culture of His day. Jesus purpose, His reason for coming, was to reconcile people to God. From the beginning of His ministry, He said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) It is people who are to change to be like the way of God and His kingdom. Jesus taught us to pray: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are to align with God’s will and with His kingdom design. We are not to try to make God’s will align with the ever changing whims and desires of our culture. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” The results of the peace that the world offers are evident. There is more conflict and confusion in the world than at any time in the past. There is more fear and trouble than ever before. Perhaps it’s time that we choose order over chaos and confusion.
Heavenly father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for the perfect design of creation which is evident in the balance and order of all things, both living things and the physical creation of earth, the sun, the moon and stars. Without the perfection of Your design we would not and could not exist. May we as individuals and as a culture and society also come into alignment with Your perfect order and design. Through Christ may we recognize that we are reconciled to You. May Your kingdom come and may Your will be done, on earth, according to the order and perfection of heaven. Amen.