Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
I cried like a baby when my daughters went to camp.* They were precious to me, and it was the first time we had been apart for a week. Some years later, I sighed in relief when my daughters went to college. They were still precious to me, but I was thankful to see them go. What happened?
Rebellion: a harsh cry for independence that I seemed to deserve--but hardly endured. Thankfully, God had their backs before they knew He was there--because I was reduced to a witless parent. Now God has their hearts, too. We are reunited in Christ.
And we have learned. Growing up and stepping out is right for children, but rebellion is not. I am ceaselessly blessed that my children came to Christ as adults, but the pain we all experienced is not a necessary prequel. It can even be harmful.
Because here's what God says: 'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right' (Ephesians 6:1). If they don't? Parent-rebuffing kids are headed for a fall. At best, they get a Holy comeuppance. 'For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights' (Proverbs 3:12).
At worst, they step on a snare and get trapped. How? Bad friends or a dangerous addiction. Because when children of any age step out of God's protection, they become prey. When they leave God's chain of command, they fall victim to a different chain, and it's far worse than a parent's rebuke.
But here's the good news: God's young people today possess the gifts, talent and faith to move a mountain--specifically the mountains of arts, entertainment and media. Their wisdom is extraordinary. I see it everywhere I go. Their parents know it, but they may not know how vast and how important is the witness of their children.
It's a youth-led army of vision. Their flag says 'Hope.' The other side says 'Truth.' They are actors, models and talent for Christ. God is raising a generation of Josephs, Daniels, Marys and Timothys: teens growing into adults who will change the world.
Children of all ages, remember: God will continue to bless your path only if you continue to honor your parents.
To Be Continued...
*As a funny footnote, my girls went to Truett Cathy's Camp WinShape in Georgia. I wasn't truly a Christian and neither were they. The camp's Christian focus was forgotten by me in their enrollment--but not by God. It was a step on their path.
Outline and Study of Daniel: 'The Faith of a 15 year old': http://executableoutlines.com/dan/dan_01.htmp
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Chain of Command series.