Hi everyone, this is Abigail's dad, Chris. When Abigail was 5 or 6 years old, we use to buy big bags of frozen cherries at our local grocery store. One of my favorite activities during these years with her (we called her "Abi" back then (and her brother) was to sit them on the counter and play a game we called "Here comes the cherry!". They would sit there with their happy little bright eyed faces while daddy opened up that new bag of cherries, and anxiously await the commencement of this joyous family activity. I would get one cherry at a time in my hand and make buzzing airplane noises up and down and around and then plop a cherry in one of their mouths. Their eyes were totally glued to my hand, awaiting the wonderful taste of those dark red frozen cherries. Sometimes daddy would also get a few cherries out of the game as well. This would go on for several minutes, until we either ran out of cherries, felt like we better save some room for dinner - or we just all had enough. The excitement that welled up in my 2 precious children during this game brought great joy to their daddy's heart.
There may be some of you that are saying, "that's a nice little story, but what does it have to do with being a "young woman of virtue?" Well, let me try to explain an interesting parallel that I see with the "First Commandment with a PROMISE". Let's refresh our memories with this famous verse from the book of Ephesians:
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Many of you reading this blog have heard this verse on a fairly regular basis for the last 5 to 10 years. But I am hoping that a fresh look at this powerful New Testament passage may be helpful to at least some of you, as we consider how this verse may parallel our "Here comes the cherry" game.
Before I tell you the parallel, let's look at the Old Testament verse that directly parallels Ephesians 6:1-3: It's found in
"Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."
What a tremendous promise! God is actually saying that if we can meet just these TWO requirements, we can have 1) our lives go well with us (don't all of us want that?) and 2) we can live long on the earth.
A lot of times you can better understand something if you break it down into slow motion. People do that with golf swings, karate motions, dance routines, etc., but not often do we think of how we respond to our parents - in slow motion. Let's go back to our Here Comes The Cherry game. Except now, let's imagine that instead of your father (or mother's) hand moving at you with a frozen cherry, imagine that something even better than a juicy cherry is about to head your way...it's A COMMANDMENT from your parents. Yippee, just what a godly young woman wants - right there, coming her way - in slow motion, through the air - heading for her ears, and if she receives this incoming treasure of parental direction with the right attitude and response, she can actually unlock the God-given powerful secret to having her life go well with her, and to her living long on the earth.
This command could be as simple as "Jodi, please vacuum the living room" or "Susan, it's time to brush and floss", or "Angela, please share that toy with your brother", but regardless - their is a potentially wonderful blessing awaiting that young lady for the simple price of a cheerful, prompt and completely obedient response to their parent's direction.
But also in slow motion, immediately after this precious command leaves her parents mouth, we see the work of the Thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy - our adversary the Devil. While that command is still in the air, and as soon as it registers in her ears, the enemy of her soul will be feverishly attempting to utilize the quick speed of the human brain to devise an ungodly first response to her parents command, so that she will NOT receive this blessing.
Instead of "yes ma'am, I will do that right away...or "Certainly mother, I would be glad to do that for you", or a myriad of other respectful, honorable and obedient responses, Satan would like her to say something like: "I'm busy right now", or "Oh mom, can't I do it later?", or even worse, a direct refusal to obey.
The devil clearly knows the power of "the first commandment with a promise" and he, by his very thieving nature, wants to make sure this young woman does not partake of this heavenly blessing - which is so close to becoming hers. Imagine again - speeding at her ears at 742 miles per hour (the speed of sound) - from just a few yards away, is the blessed opportunity to cash in on this first command with a promise.
In summary, remember to be as excited about the commands and direction coming from your parents lips, as Abigail and her brother were about those frozen cherries heading their way when they were sitting on our counter ten years ago. The sweet blessing of "a life that goes well" is just a command away. Embrace every opportunity you have to show your parents honor, and practice responding to their commands and direction with humility and cheerful obedience. Make this a habit for a few hundred commands in a row, and you will have developed one of the precious disciplines that will help shape you into the Proverbs 31 Woman that you are probably already working to become. Also along those lines, developing these cheerfully obedient responses (to your parents direction) will make it natural for you to receive direction from your husband - in the years ahead, when you will probably be married.
It does not come "natural" for a young lady to just walk down that aisle and then instantly be able to obey
Ephesians 5:22 when it states: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. It takes discipline to have the correct responses to your future husband, but you can help ensure your success as a wife, if you practice this discipline now - the next time your mom needs you to wash the dog, or clean the dishes, etc.
Jesus says that we will not inherit the kingdom of God except we become as little children...perhaps he was thinking of a similar example when he made this statement. If you really, I mean really get this biblical truth down in your soul, it will transform your response to the commands that emanate from your mother and fathers' lips.
Also, when you get a grip on this truth, you may want to humbly tell your mom or dad that you are sorry for times in the past when you wrongly responded to their direction. God will bless you for your humility and repentance.
And may God richly bless you, and allow you to fully inherit all He has for you, as you embrace the truth of Ephesians 6:1-3. In Jesus Name, Chris (Abigail's Dad)