“Giving Thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20)
We have all heard teaching on these verses in Ephesians a million times, usually at weddings and around mothers and fathers day. It has gotten to a point that we just kind of gloss over the teaching regarding the family in these verses. Not because we don’t consider it important, but we have heard it so many times. It has become common place.
But, I want to draw out an aspect of these verses that I don’t think anyone else has.
When Paul is writing this letter to the church in Ephesus, he could have picked anything regarding the relationships in the home, or he could have written a long list like he does with the Fruits of the Spirit or regarding Love. Instead, he chooses one word.
For the husbands, he chooses Love your wives. For the wives, he chooses submit to your husbands. For children, honor your parents. For fathers with sons, do not provoke them to anger
The way I read this is,...Above all else do these things in your role in the home. Wives your husband need this one thing. Husbands your wife needs this one thing, and so on. These are to be your top priority, and if you do these things, the home will run as it was meant to.
Now, before I get much further, I feel like I have to expand on submission a little because it has a very negative connotation for many women. This is not inferiority or even slavery. Don’t get me wrong,...the husband leads the home. However, let’s change that word from submission to believe in. Your husband needs you to believe in him. He needs you to be willing to have him lead the home. This is an active position, not weakness.
And, just to be clear, Paul is commanding here when he tells the husbands to love and the wife to submit, and not to provoke to wrath. He is commanding you to do this one thing. However, he is also saying that each of you need these things—above all else.
Ok...so, how does gratitude fit into this?
Well, Paul sets this whole section of Scripture up by telling the Ephesians to submit to each other, singing psalms, making the best use of time, etc. (Eph. 5: 15-21)
Therefore, the statements of love, submission, honor, etc. regarding the family are to be placed on a foundation of gratitude to God and providing for each other.
In other words, you see each other as a gift.
If you are grateful for your husband, it will be a whole lot easier to believe in him and allow him to lead.
If you are grateful for your wife, it is going to be a whole lot easier to love her.
If you are grateful for your teen son and see him as a heritage to the Lord, it is going to be a whole lot easier not to provoke him to anger.
So, when was the last time that you just rehearsed back to yourself and meditated on how you are grateful for your husband or wife or son or daughter being in your life?
If the marriage relationship is stressful and filled with tension, try sitting down right now and write why you are grateful for the other. Then do it again the next day and the next day and so on. After you write down these thankful statements, forgive them for whatever anger you have, and then pray for them.
Also, if you are dealing with rebellion in your son or daughter, do the same. Don’t do it once! Do it every day.
Even if you think the thing you write is superficial and trite, write it down and be detailed anyway. The real power is in the detail, and attaching gratitude to them. Then forgive and pray for them.
It might be weird at first but over time the relationship will improve.