Colossians 3:18–4:1 (NKJV)

18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

4:1 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Colossians 3:18 – 4:1

In this concise passage, Paul gives the Blinkist (Cliff Notes) version of a more verbose passage found in Ephesians 5. He gives brief instructions on how to have Godly relationships. He starts with the marital relationship, again encouraging wives to submit to their husbands, and instructing husbands to love their wives. He then moves to the parent-child relationship, instructing children to obey their parents, and fathers to not provoke their children, exasperating them by making them aim at a moving target. He then tells servants to obey their masters, working in sincerity of heart, as if serving toward God in reverence. He also, though, instructs masters to be just and fair with their servants, remembering that we all answer to a Master in heaven.

These instructions for relationships mirror the instructions in Ephesians, and both passages point out the need to seek the needs of others above your own. Paul wants to help his disciples realize that selfish relationships are bad relationships, and lead to frustration and low fulfillment. However, selfless relationships, counterintuitive to selfish or self-centered individuals, actually lead to mutual fulfillment and joy. Seeing another blessed should bring joy. Bringing a smile to a loved-one’s face should bring joy. Living for others is a reward unto itself as it reflects the nature of God. Live an a way that others are blessed, God is pleased, and you are fulfilled. This is nature of Godly relationships.

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