COLOSSIANS 3:18-4:1 (NIV – UK)
Instructions for Christian households
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism.
1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
FOR THE LORD
Should a Christian household look different from any other home? Does it really matter what goes on in our home? Paul says yes.
Just as we are led to a radically different life in Jesus, so this should affect and shape our households – being full of love, submission and obedience – free from oppression, selfishness and embittering (v. 18-21). Families can be difficult and messy. In fact, that may well be the prevailing experience of the families. As followers of Jesus, therefore, we have a wonderful opportunity to display something beautiful in our home lives – to display the love, peace and joy of God. When the world looks at that, it will see something truly desirable.
But also for slaves who have earthly masters these things are important. Is Paul advocating slavery? No. But what he is saying is that even in those oppressive circumstances we should seek to do things ‘with sincerity of heart and reverence of the Lord’ (v. 22). Although the slave is subject to an earthly master, they can find hope in keeping their heart fixed on Jesus: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving’ (v. 23-24).
Question: How do you seek to bring Jesus into your home life and the life of your family?