“Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God” October 5

 

Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God - Angry children—we see them in the grocery store, in the schoolyard, on the news, and possibly in our own homes. While all of us, including children, are responsible for our choices, as parents we're warned not to provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6.4). One way we do is through hypocrisy, telling them one thing while doing another. Before you proclaim your innocence consider today’s reading in Ephesians.Angry children—we see them in the grocery store, in the schoolyard, on the news, and possibly in our own homes. While all of us, including our children, are responsible for our choices, as parents we’re warned not to provoke our children to anger. Two ways we do that are by living an hypocritical lifestyle, telling them one thing while doing another, and parental role-reversal. Both of which we’ll look at today.

We’ll also talk about the armor of God, what it is and how we put it on.

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 61 & 62
Psalm 115.9-13
Proverbs 26.24-26
Ephesians 6.1-24

 

Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God

 

Ephesians 6.1-24:

Parent-Child Relationships

 

Over the last few days we have been talking about Paul’s description of a Spirit controlled life from Ephesians 4 and 5. If you missed the earlier posts, you can read them here and here. In this chapter Paul addressed the parent-child relationship.

Children should honor and obey their parents (vss. 1-3). Parents should raise their children “in the discipline and admonition of the Lord” and not treat them in ways that would provoke them to anger (v. 4). Many of the ways we provoke them involve living a hypocritical life—teaching them to act one way while we act another. For example:

We can’t discipline our children for lying and then “call in sick” because we don’t want to go to work.

We can’t teach our children not to steal and then pilfer from our employer.

We can’t preach respect for authority while we disdainfully talk about “the cops” or brag about what we can get away with.

We can’t discipline them in anger or chastise them because they have “broken our law” by bothering or inconveniencing us.

In this week’s Mondays at Soul Survival I listed 25 ways we provoke our children to anger. The list came from a book by Lou Priolo, The Heart of Anger. Some of the other ways on the list are: marital disharmony, having a child centered home, being inconsistent with discipline, and parental role reversal. You can read the rest of the list here.

But I’d like to talk a little more about parental role reversal. In Ephesians 5 Paul said:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

And in verses 31-33:

31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

As wives we are to submit to the leadership of our husbands (v. 22) and show them respect (v.33). Husband’s are to love their wives with the same kind of servant love with which Christ loves His church (v. 25),

Submission is a concept that is often misunderstood and certainly not a popular in today’s world. But lack of submission is nothing new. It’s part of the curse of sin, as is, the failure of husbands to love and lead biblically.

To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3.16).

The New Living Translation says, “you will desire to control your husband.”

As wives our sinful desire is to usurp our husband’s leadership and theirs is to rule over us harshly or to withdraw and refuse to lead at all.

When this happens, it creates all kinds of problems in the marriage. One of those problems is its effect on our children.

God’s command to submit has nothing to do with our worth as women. It has nothing to do with intelligence or ability. It has to do with God’s design. Look at verse 32 again, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The design has been in existence since eternity past. It’s the same design He has for the church. The design is the Trinity. 

In the Trinity, Jesus submitted to the Father (Matt. 26.39; Jn. 8.28) and the Holy Spirit proceeds from and glorifies the Father and the Son (Jn. 16.7, 14). In the church, the church is to submit to Christ and the congregation is to submit to and respect her leaders and Christ. In the family the wife is to submit to the husband. The children proceed from the mother and father and are to show them honor and respect. It’s God’s design.

Satan, as the ruler of this world and the enemy of God, hates God’s design. In the garden, he deceived Eve into acting independently, ignoring both her husband’s leadership and God’s authority. It should come as no surprise that he continues to attack God’s social institutions of marriage and the church.

If you’d like to read more about this subject, I’ll list some resources at the bottom of this post.

 

Angry Children, Hypocrisy & the Armor of God - Angry children—we see them in the grocery store, in the schoolyard, on the news, and possibly in our own homes. While all of us, including children, are responsible for our choices, as parents we're warned not to provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6.4). One way we do is through hypocrisy, telling them one thing while doing another. Before you proclaim your innocence consider today’s reading in Ephesians.


The Spirit’s Control in the Workplace

 

Our relationship with God should, also, affect our employer-employee relationships. If we work for someone else, we should be good, faithful employees. We should work hard, not just when the boss is looking, but all the time, out of a desire to please God, who sees everything (Eph. 6.5-8). Bosses should treat their employees and subordinates well, again out of a desire to please God (Eph. 6.9).

 

The Armor of God

 

Then in verses 10-17 we have the “armor of God” with which all believers should be equipped. We need to wear the “belt of truth” by getting rid of anything in our lives that will hinder us from having victory in the battle. Unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, and the like have no place in a believer’s life and will hinder your walk and spiritual growth.  Continue reading

“Virgins, Self-Righteousness & Parental Guarantees” July 31

 

Virgins, Self-Righteousness & Parental Guarantees - Most of us are familiar with the proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But we all know kids who were raised in church and, yet, have walked away from God. What went wrong? Did their parents miss something? Did God fail to keep His Word? Do we have a guarantee that our children will continue to walk with God?

Most of us are familiar with the proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But we all know kids who were raised in church and, yet, have walked away from God. What went wrong? Did their parents miss something? Did God fail to keep His Word? Do we have a guarantee that our children will continue to walk with God?

We’ll also read about:

As we start the book of Esther, we’ll look at what God was up to, and the un-fairy-tale like ending for the other young virgins taken as “potential queen for a night.”

Yesterday in Romans 1 we read about God’s rebuke to “wise fools” who reject God and the downward spiral of sin that follows. In today’s reading in Romans 2, God speaks to believers, warning us of the danger of self-righteously judging others.

 

Today’s Readings:
Esther 1 & 2
Psalm 89.38-45
Proverbs 22.5-6
Romans 2.1-29

 

Virgins, Self-Righteousness & Parental Guarantees

 

Esther 1 & 2:

Young Virgins & a Selfish King

 

The book of Esther takes place sometime between the time the Jews began to return to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel and the second return under Ezra. It’s quite an interesting book. Though the name of God is not mentioned at all, He is seen everywhere, and is in control of the events of this book in a grand way!—as He is in all the events of history and the world.

The book starts out with a party and what a party it is—7 days, free flowing wine, everyone has been invited (the men, at least!), golden goblets, entertainment … wine, women (probably the entertainment) and song, as the saying goes.

Finally, the drunken king decides to show off his wife and she refuses to come. The men were faced with a problem. If word got around that the queen didn’t obey the king, all the women would refuse to obey their husbands! So, at the other men’s urging, he strips away her crown.

But when the king sobered up and got over his fit, he realized what he had done. He missed the queen, so the men devised another plan—to bring all the beautiful women in the kingdom to the palace and let him choose the one who suited his fancy as the new queen.

palaceAs glamorous as it might sound to have a chance to be queen, this was not a good thing for these young girls. They were probably mostly very young teenagers. And notice it says, “Esther also was taken” (Esther 2.8). This was not voluntary; these girls were taken to the palace.

Each of them was to spend one night with the king and never to be with him again unless she was chosen. In the meantime, they would have lost their virginity to a lecherous king who cared little about anyone but himself. And in that society, what was left for them in the way of marriage and family? They probably would be supported afterwards, but I think it would have been a lonely existence—never to have a husband or children of their own.

But God was at work in the situation and was setting the stage to use this pagan king and Esther to do something great.

 

Psalm 89.38-45:

God is Always at Work

 

From the viewpoint of the psalmist it looked like God had forsaken his people, but we know He had not. Sometimes we feel that way, but we must know that God is at work even when we can’t figure it out.

 

Proverbs 22.5-6:

Parental Guarantees

 

Verse 6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This is not a guarantee that our children will always walk with God. What it does mean is that if we are faithful to train our children in God’s ways, they will never be able to get away from the truth they’ve learned. It will follow them like their shadow! So even if they make bad choices, the truth will be there to guide them back, when they repent, just like the prodigal son in Luke 15.

Our job is to be faithful: faithful to take our children to a good Bible-believing church. Faithful to teach them by example and as we go about our daily activities.

Deuteronomy 6:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We should also teach God’s Word to our children in a formal, systematic way. That is not, primarily, the church’s responsibility, but ours. Family devotions is one of the most neglected responsibilities in the church today. There is nothing that will impact our children and grandchildren more than to see us faithfully read and study God’s Word individually and to faithfully and formally have times where we read and study God’s Word together as a family.

Randy Patten, the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly NANC) for many years, says we must remember there are three factors at work in our children’s lives: there is our teaching and training, there is their will, and there is the Holy Spirit.  Continue reading

“Hypocrisy & Little White Lies” June 21

 

Hypocrisy & Little While Lies - If God dealt with so-called little white lies and hypocrisy in the same way this Sunday as He did with Ananias and Sapphira, how many of us would be left standing?If God dealt with so-called little white lies and hypocrisy in the same way this Sunday as He did with Ananias and Sapphira, how many of us would be left standing?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 5 & 6
Psalm 77.1-3
Proverbs 19.10-12
Acts 5.1-21

 

Hypocrisy & Little White Lies

 

Examining Ourselves

Acts 5.1-21:

 

Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and pretended to give all the proceeds to the church. They didn’t have to. There was no universal command to “sell all you have.” But they wanted to look good.

I wonder if God dealt with sin in the same way in our churches this Sunday, how many of us would walk out of there? Even though we may not often see this quite as vividly, God’s attitude toward hypocrisy and lying hasn’t changed!

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11.28-32:

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

Though Paul is talking specifically about the Lord’s Supper in this passage, we should be examining ourselves on a daily basis. Notice that Paul says, “many are sick and weak … and many sleep (have died)” because of a failure to examine themselves.

Why not pray as David did in Psalm 139.23-24:  Continue reading