The concept of authority has fallen on hard times. Even Christians become almost apologetic if they exercise authority. The culture around us has made authority to arbitrary and a necessary evil. However, authority is God’s way of caring for the universe and for your family. He ordained authority to be a blessing to all people. In the Bible, God provides the way that authority is to be administered.
Yes, authority is to be clear, firm, and direct. But it must be much more than that. More importantly, authority is to be administered with biblical wisdom and care. If authority is to be faithful to God it should demonstrate these seven qualities as given in James 3:17:
- Open to reason
- Full of mercy and good fruits
This is authority directed by wisdom from above. The modern drift away from authority has had a negative impact on Christian families. Scripture says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Our culture is suspicious of this truth. This suspicion is the mindset that today’s parents have been raised with. Here are some questions that are a reality check to see if your parenting reflects the culture’s view of authority or God’s.
- How many times do you have to ask your children to obey before they do so?
- Do your children respond pleasantly when you ask them to do something?
- Do your children frequently argue with you or whine when told to obey?
- How often do you reference God and his grace when asking for obedience?
- How do your children view authorities outside your home (school teachers, law enforcement officers, pastors, etc.)?
- Are your children accustomed to hearing you express gratitude for authority?
This list of questions is not exhaustive, but it will give you an indication of whether or not God’s view of authority is the dominant view in your home. The most basic of life’s lessons is that man is accountable to and answerable to a sovereign God. Apart from this reality, even the gospel has no meaning. The gospel only makes sense when God’s authority and man’s accountability to that authority are grasped!
Take some time to consider how you represent God’s authority to your children. Meditate on the truth of Ephesians 6:3 and then on James 3:17. The way your children respond to authority profoundly impacts their life on this earth. As a parent, you must be much more than clear, firm, and direct. Your authority must be loving and carefully presented in the beauty and grace of wisdom from above!