Okay, teens, this one’s for you. At a recent youth meeting at Covenant Life Church, my friend, Elise, gave her testimony on submission to her parent’s authority. It was outstanding!
I have known Elise for many years and I have observed her live out the words of this testimony. When I spoke to her on the phone this morning she shared with me her longing to encourage her generation to submit to their parent’s leadership as a gift from God. You have my deepest respect, Elise.
Girls, consider using this testimony to begin a discussion with your parents about submission. Ask them for their thoughts on how you are doing in this area. The Lord promises to bless your humility (James 4:6).
My testimony is simply one of the grace of God. There is no other explanation for the growth and joy I have experienced in the area of submission. The only reason I can stand up here right now is because the Lord has been merciful and kind to me.
Growing up, I was a very compliant and outwardly submissive child. I didn’t throw temper tantrums, yell at my parents, or purposefully rebel against them. For the most part I just obeyed without putting up a fight, but only because I had to. It wasn’t until about 9th grade that I really started to understand the importance of submission and the joy that could be found in obedience. I can’t tell you exactly what prompted this new realization. It might have been a series of messages, or a specific talk with my parents, but if nothing else, it was God’s work of softening my heart. I had regarded submission as a duty; the Lord showed me that it was a joy and a privilege. I learned to view the wisdom and guidance of my parents as wisdom and guidance from God. The more I realized that God actively speaks through my parents, the more seriously I viewed their instruction. Once I began to submit with joy it became easier and easier to obey not only with my actions, but also with my attitude. Obedience and submission to my parents brought a joy and freedom to my heart that I had never experienced before.
In addition to spiritual fruit, there were many other ways that I benefited from honoring and obeying my mom and dad. Throughout high school there was a level of trust that developed between me and my parents. As they saw me being faithful to submit, they began to give me more responsibilities and more freedom. The funny thing is, the more freedom I got, the less I wanted it. Now that I’m in college, my parents continually release me to make my own decisions. But the truth is, I hardly ever make decisions without consulting them first. Why? Because I know that they are wiser than I am, that they are a gift from the Lord, and that I will be blessed as a result.
Perhaps the greatest way I benefited from joyful submission was through a strong relationship with my parents. I grew to love being open with them, listening to their instruction, and submitting to their guidance. Today I can honestly tell you that my parents are my best friends. There are no two people whom I love or respect more!
At some point during high school I can remember reading the beginning of Ephesians 6 which says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I remember being shocked by how true the promise was. It had gone well with me!
I’m not going to pretend like it was always easy to submit to and obey my parents. It wasn’t. And it still isn’t. But, no one ever said that humility is easy. And as Christians we aren’t called to a life of ease, but to a life of obedience and trust. I wish I could show you the peace and fulfillment that come with trusting the promises of God! He has given us our parents in order to teach us to distrust our hearts, to protect us, and to bless us. In fact, God specifically promises to bless us when we obey! The more I realize this, the more I want to submit to my parents’ authority! The reality is we will always be under authority, even in heaven. Learning to submit now will not only make it easier here on earth, but it will better prepare us for our eternal home where we will be under the authority of God for all of eternity.
The Lord promises that when we obey it will go well with us. God cannot and will not go back on His promise! So, from one weak sinner to another: trust the Lord, submit to your parents, and it will go well with you!