Posted on September 9, 2014 · Posted in Authority

Our culture is suspicious of authority in general and of parental authority in particular. After all, who is a parent to tell a child how he should live? In contrast, the Bible teaches all people are accountable to and answerable to a holy God. Apart from this reality, even the gospel itself has no meaning.  If you and I are not accountable to God then we have no need of the gospel.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This truth does not ring true with our world. If man is only the result of a random series of bio-chemical events, then the idea of being responsible to divine authority has no validity–in fact, it is absurd. This is the cultural mindset that today’s parents have been raised with.  This modern drift away from authority has had a negative impact on Christian families.

Here are some questions that can be used as a reality check–or more properly, an authority check–to see if your parenting reflects the culture’s view of authority or God’s view of authority.

How many times do you have to tell your children to obey before they do so?

Do you children respond pleasantly when you ask them to do something?

Do your children frequently argue with you or whine when told to do something?

How often do you reference God when asking for obedience?

How do your children view authorities outside your home, for example, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, law enforcement officers, etc.?

How often in everyday life do you talk about gladly submitting to God’s authority?

What attitude do your words reflect toward the authorities that God has placed over you in church, work and in government?

This list of questions is not exhaustive, but it should give you an indication of whether or not God’s view of authority is the dominant view in your home.

Authority is not an issue that can be dismissed. Parents, take time to consider how you represent God’s authority to your children. Look at the many, many passages of Scripture which teach and presuppose God’s authority. Meditate on them. The way your children respond to authority profoundly affects their life on this earth and their relationship with God.

It is true that authority is often misused and abused. But this does not change the fact that authority, exercised with love and gratitude, is a blessing from the hand of God.

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.