Part 4: The Flags of the Spirit
by Harold and Bette Gillogly
Being filled with God’s Spirit is for kids too! They don’t have to wait ‘til they’re 21 to experience the incredible joy of having the Spirit of God fill them up. They can choose to live in Green Flag territory instead of the slums of Red Flag…IF you, their parent, help them do so. We want to help you grow godly children who love God and their parents. That’s why we’re writing this particular Blog.
Ephesians 6:1: “Children, obey your parents….” Now why would a kid want to do that when it’s so much more fun to be a rebel. Really? That is just a big ol’ lie of the devil and almost every TV sitcom! Rebellion is also a big ol’ Red Flag that the Holy Spirit is anything BUT in control. Kids live with the same truth as adults: To be submissive is to be like Jesus. To be like Jesus is to be submissive. You see, even though we started this series in Ephesians chapter 5 and this is verse 1 of chapter 6, it’s still a part of Paul’s same teaching as we’ve been wading through now for the past three blogs. We’ve been looking at how people live if they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Turns out, they’re the happy, thankful people who look a lot like Jesus because they follow in His steps. They don’t expect to always get their way. They put others before themselves. They don’t mind deferring to others, even their own spouses or parents. They live lives of submission regardless of who they are. And all this applies to your children too.
So what do children look like who are filled with the Holy Spirit? They are obedient to their parents. Teaching them to be obedient is all important because their being obedient is all important. Why?
- Because they are Christians. Remember Ephesians 5:21? Submitting to one another as Christians is to honor Jesus Christ. So your children’s disobedience not only dishonors you, it dishonors the Lord.
- Because it’s “the right thing to do” (v.1). As their parents, you brought your children into the world, not the other way around, no matter how smart your kids think they are.
- Because obedience is a command…right in the middle of the Ten Commandments. The Big Ten reveal the righteousness of God, and His Spirit enables us to live out that righteousness in our daily lives. Verse 2 quotes the commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” Honor includes a whole lot more than obedience. It means God expects your children to respect and love you, and bring honor to you by the way they live. Even as adults, we bring honor or dishonor (one or the other, whether we intend to or not) to our parents by our lives.
Someone in our extended family really went off the deep end during his mid-life crisis. He brought shame to his father and mother’s good name, causing people to think they must have been horrible parents to raise such a thoughtless, out-of-control son. Have you ever considered how your behavior reflects on your parents? Are you honoring or dishonoring them? Your behavior toward your parents is shaping your children’s behavior toward you, even if they are still very young.
- Finally, because they are going to reap God’s blessing (v.3). They’ll live longer because they will be less likely to get involved in dangerous life-styles, and life will go well for them. And that’s what you want for your children, isn’t it?!
Here are some principles that are always…always true. God blesses obedience. Sin always robs us. Obedience always enriches us.
As parents, you will always reap benefits from raising obedient children who do their best to honor you. But teaching your children to obey and honor you will benefit them even more. Their lives will be blessed by God! So help them recognize this Green Flag as they grow in their understanding of how to walk with Jesus and be filled with His Spirit.
Next time, we’re going to delve deeper into how God wants you to parent your children. In the meantime, we encourage you to read the following articles: Forgiveness and Consequences; Oh, Those Little Irritations; and Commit to a Time to Talk. And to watch these free Webinars: How to Nurture Healthy Relationships and How to Handle Differences. We also urge you to watch our Anger and Conflict 6-part series which you can find in the GTO store for only $29.95. Learning how to handle your own anger issues can help your children know how to handle anger in their own lives – now and throughout their lives.