What for you are some of the most challenging relationships? Your boss? Or if you are a leader, those who you manage? Family members? In Ephesians 6 these relationships are addressed and then we are given the key to seeing these sometimes challenging, relationships rightly.
Children are commanded to: “obey your parents in the Lord”, “for this is right”. And we children are also to honor our mothers and fathers and we are promised that if we do we will receive a long life and things will go well. Notice that we don’t have to agree with them, and we may for some reason, not even like our parents, but we are to honor them.
Fathers are commanded to not exasperate our children. An interesting focus of this command, being addressed to dads, who thus must have the potential to do this well. Rather, we dads are to bring our children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. This is our responsibility as fathers.
Slaves are to obey our earthly masters with respect and fear and sincerity, just as we are to obey Christ. Wow! Equating obedience to Christ to obedience to my boss? This is a rather a strong statement in obedience and attitude towards those in authority over us at work! And we are to do this even when they are not looking, and it is to be from the heart, sincere.
Those with the responsibility to manage people are to treat those managed the same way those who are managed are to treat their managers. Managers who inherently have power are to be impartial and are not to threaten employees.
Then the shift. After all these commands to govern attitudes and actions we are then told to be strong in the Lord and live in his mighty power. Following these specific relationship commands we are given a resource to the power to do so, and given a defense against the one would derail us. We are to put on the armor of God to take a stand against the devil’s schemes. This is how we are to manage these relationships. We are to be strong in the Lord, put on his armor and live according to His Word.
And the key is that our struggles are not against flesh and blood! It is not against our children, parents, bosses, or those who we manage. It is a spiritual battle against the devil himself. Any struggles we have in these or other challenging realms are just symptoms of the underlying problem, that being Christ versus Satan.
We are to be alert, realize this, and pray for all the Lord’s people.
So next time you are in a relationship challenge see it for what it is. Not against the individual, but rather a manifestation of the heavenly spiritual battle of Christ. You have the power and ability to be God’s instrument in this spiritual war and tap into his power for his victory and glory! Amen!