Students, Don’t Waste Your Summer!
Students, if you are like me, you struggle with authority in some shape or form. Honestly, you don’t have to be an adolescent to struggle with someone telling you what to do and when to do it. The question I have for students—and everyone really—is simply, why don’t you want to listen?
Answers such as, those rules are stupid! or they don’t understand me! won’t really cut it. Statements like that push the reasoning for disobedience off onto someone else. In this article, I want you to bluntly tell me (mostly yourself), why don’t you want to listen? That is an important question to answer because it forces you to inspect your own heart and your own reasoning behind why you want the things you want.
In my previous article, I mapped out that Ephesians 6:1-3 teaches that honoring one’s parents means becoming like them. Paul quotes the Old Testament here to show that becoming like your parents should lead to faithful obedience to Yahweh, thus, leading to generations of faithful followers. It is important to note here that many of you don’t have parents or guardians who are believers. You may be tempted to think this article has nothing to do with you. I want to encourage you to keep reading because that is not the case! If you know Israel’s story, the generation that received the promise cited in Ephesians 6 was called to not be like their parents because they didn’t follow the Lord. Instead, they were to pick up the mantle of faithfulness and go forward as a follower of Christ—being an example for their children. Regardless, if you have parents who believe or not, this article is for you.
Going back to my question above though, I want you to think through why you don’t want to obey your parents or authorities in your life. Look with me at Ephesians 6:1-3,
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise),‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land’” (Ephesians 6:1-3).
There are a few key things to notice here. First, obedience to one’s parents or parental authorities is grounded in obedience to Yahweh. Yahweh wanted children to obey their parents not because he wants moralistic kids who know how to fall in line when asked. Rather, Yahweh commands children to obey their parents because it reflects if they are becoming more like Yahweh or becoming more like the world. So, why don’t you want to obey? My blunt answer is because most of the time you don’t want the right things.
James 4:1-4 supports this idea when he says:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
I believe we can summarize this entire passage to say, you do what you do because you want what you want. The reason why you and I don’t want to obey is not only because we don’t see eye to eye with our authorities. We struggle because ultimately, we don’t want righteousness; we want to think of ourselves more.
Looking back at Ephesians 6:1-3, we can see then that obedience is more than following orders; it means becoming more like Christ! Now, what do you do if you don’t have parents or guardians who follow the Lord? Well, I call you to do the same thing Yahweh instructed Israel, choose today to follow him and keep his commandments! Start a life that is worth replicating from generation to generation!
You are given a great opportunity to not waste your summer. This summer, you can either spend it investing in yourself or others. You can choose to make the most out of all the time you gained from not being in class with something meaningful!
For those who have parents who follow the Lord, are you actively seeking ways to mimic their lives? Do you strive to serve in your local church? Get involved in discipleship? Carve out time to read your Bible in some way? For those who don’t have parents who follow the Lord, are you instilling habits and means of grace in your life that you want your friends and potential generations to mimic? Are you choosing to be the forerunner in developing a culture of faithfulness in your household that will be passed down for generations? For both groups, this all starts with you not wasting your summer.
What are you becoming? What will you become? Behind both of those questions is the question, what do you want? Your relationship with your parents and guardians reveals more than you think. If you struggle to follow them, know that your horizontal relationships always reveal your vertical relationship. I pray that we all become more like Christ and choose to not waste our summers by wanting the wrong things.