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Teaching Children the Rewards of Obeying Authority

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Unless children know how to submit to God-ordained authority they will be unsuccessful in life.

Family Counseling Ministries -

Have you sometimes thought that you will prepare your children for marriage roles, as they get older? In this thought-provoking article, the seventh in an eleven-part series on parenting, Dr. Dunlap urges parents to begin preparing children when they are very young for their future roles as husbands, wives and parents. He also encourages parents to teach children how to respond properly to authority.

There are two final goals that Christian parents must consider in their efforts to raise their children in the discipline and training of the Lord. One is to equip their children for marital and parenting responsibilities, and the second is to teach them to respect God-ordained authority.

    9.  Teach your child to be a good husband, wife or parent.

Parents often put off, or altogether ignore, the task of teaching their children the biblical roles for husbands and wives. They assume that they have plenty of time to fulfill that responsibility. The truth is, however, that parents should begin to prepare children for marriage when they are very young.


The earliest marriage preparation lessons should be drawn from 1 Corinthians 13. Children learn what agape love is by witnessing their parents, as they love one another unconditionally and selflessly.


Familiarize your sons and daughters with the commands of Ephesians 5:22-25:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Children should understand that when they assume their God-given roles in a cheerful and obedient manner, they will avert many potential marriage problems. They will also experience marital harmony and fulfillment, rather than competition with their spouses, and confusion in their homes.

    10. Teach your child to respect God-ordained authority.

Be certain that you instruct your children regarding the biblical requirement for all men and women to be under authority. Secular philosophy will seek to entice them to rebel against authority, and to try to find their freedom in defiant independence. Lead them to memorize the command and the accompanying warning of Romans 13:1,2:

Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Direct your children to Hebrews 13:17:

Obey your leaders, and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.


Teach them the importance of learning how to obey leaders in a way that brings honor to God and opens the door for witnessing opportunities.


Three suggestions are especially helpful as you teach your children the biblical principle of submission:

a.       Take initiative to overcome any obstacles that would stand in the way of accomplishing a task that has been assigned to you. Ask God for the wisdom to be creative, and be determined to persevere, no matter how difficult the job is.

b.      Make no excuses for not carrying out a job according to instructions. Fulfill little commands, as well as big ones, realizing that attention to details is often what makes the difference between success and failure. If necessary, ask for further clarification of instructions if you do not understand how to do a particular job. Be attentive when you receive the instructions.

c.       Act immediately, cheerfully, and diligently the first time a command is issued. When you immediately respond to a command with a smile, you imply that you are happy to carry out your duty. God strictly forbids grumbling and complaining, or a slothful, forgetful attitude. Put all your energies into accomplishing each task and do not be guilty of daydreaming, or half-hearted efforts.

These ten areas of instruction all serve as guidelines to parents who genuinely and earnestly desire to raise their children in the reverence and fear of the Lord.

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