“As to the Lord”
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. . . . Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Ephesians 6:1, 5-6 NKJV
Six times in nine verses Paul repeated the expression “as to the Lord” or a close variant of it (see Ephesians 6:1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8). A connection exists between how we relate to those over or under us and how we relate to God. We all serve the “Master in heaven” (v. 9). He’s the Supervisor. And we need His help to change our hearts so we serve others with respect, honor, and sincerity of heart, whether we are subordinates or supervisors.
Obedience is probably even more difficult than submission, which Paul discussed in Ephesians 5:22-33. A wife chooses to place herself under the authority of her husband. But children are required to obey their parents until they are old enough to go off on their own; an employee must obey the boss or find another job.
When Paul addressed the relationship of an employee and employer, he used the word doulos, which can be translated bondservant or slave (in the sense of subjection or subserviency).* A kyrios was a master – “he to whom a person or thing belonged, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord; a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence.”**
A father shouldn’t provoke his children to anger (v. 4). As he trains, corrects, cautions, and advises his children, he should model self-control. A supervisor should demand excellence from workers, without expecting too much or resorting to threats (v. 9).
God knows whether our obedience is sincere. He knows if we want our children to be little robots that make us look good or if we are helping them to become what He wants them to be. He knows how often we cut corners when the boss isn’t looking and how often we do our best even though no one acknowledges it. At the same time, we need to remember that there is no partiality with God. He rewards us based on what we do as individuals. We are loved equally by Him (Ephesians 6:9).
Do you see your role as serving God from a sincere heart whether you are the subordinate or the supervisor in your earthly role?
Read Exodus 20:8-12. What roles did God establish for households in the Ten Commandments? Which commandment came with a promise?
What does Hebrews 5:7-9 say about Jesus during the days of His life on earth? How did He learn to obey?
What did Jesus say about His relationship to His Father in John 5:19, 30 and 8:28-29? What does Jesus’ example show you?
Read 1 Peter 2:13-21. What did Peter say about those in authority over us? What is your attitude toward those in authority over you? Do you struggle with obeying authority? Do you serve them “as to the Lord”?
Nancy J. Baker
*”Greek Lexicon :: G1210 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 20 June, 2015. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1210&t=KJV
**”Greek Lexicon :: G2962 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 20 June, 2015. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2962&t=KJV