We worship a God of order. At Genesis 1:2, we read that in the beginning there was tohu bohu (chaos, disorder, meaninglessness, and emptiness) and hosek (darkness). God’s answer is light (the disclosure of God’s truth) (Gen. 1:3). The need for order is self-evident. For example, as soon as we create a new game or sport to play, there must be rules associated with the activity. In fact, a game or sport played by two or more people cannot be a source of joy without rules. A game without rules is a meaningless frustration with no achievement. However, it is also true that too many rules can make the game overly burdensome. We seek a balance between structure and freedom. God’s light can provide us the illumination to see the proper balance between structure and freedom.
Most Christians recall the suffering of Jesus on the night before His crucifixion. He experienced great anguish as He anticipated the suffering that He would endure the following day. Later that night, Jesus “fell on His face and prayed, saying ‘Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matt. 26:39). There is no doubt that Jesus died a very painful death, and He was only around 30 years of age. His prayer to His Father was very reasonable, but He demonstrated absolute obedience to and trust in God, the Father. Of course, we owe the same kind of obedience and trust to God, the Son.
Jesus spoke to all of humanity when He said,
Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is comfortable [easy, good, a fit] and My burden is light.
Jesus set the standard for all legitimate human authority. He was always obedient to His Father, and He completely understands the human predicament. Life can be very wearisome and burdensome, but our answer is in acknowledging God, not disregarding Him. He will give us rest and peace in the face of all of life’s challenges, including our particular passage to the next life. Jesus is easy to approach, and He is easy to be around in every circumstance of life. Jesus is the true, humble gentleman. He is slow to anger, and abundant in mercy and forgiveness, but He will not leave the guilty unpunished (Numb. 14:18). He is no pushover or fool.
We are told to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him. A yoke is a wooden bar or frame used to control draft animals (like oxen). It is a restraint. Most humans do not want to be hindered or restricted in their decisions, and most of those who start their journey yoked to Christ will eventually wander from the path of obedience. We easily forget that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We are easily inclined to chase after one type of lust or another.
Paul wrote, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3). Of course, the members of the Trinity are coequal, but God is teaching us that there is a structure to God’s creation, and there is a hierarchy of legitimate authority. There is a protocol to decision making. Most every successful organization has a system of rules and acceptable behavior. This is not contrary to the creation of loving, giving, and caring relationships.
Similar to his other letters, Paul’s letter to the Colossians included certain general household codes or guidelines. He wrote,
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not become bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not antagonize your children, so that they will not become discouraged.
This is very good advice for what many of us experienced as normal living. For example, my father and mother were faithfully and lovingly married for 57 years. They were reasonable and responsible parents. In regard to Paul’s household codes, it has always been easy for me to see the wisdom of Paul.
Jesus Christ is our example of how to exercise and handle authority. Like Jesus, our authority over others is about service, sacrifice, faithfulness, and obedience to God. Many of our problems today are related to the breakdown of the family, and men must shoulder most of the blame. Generally, the breakdown of the family started when men (in significant numbers) started abandoning their wives and families.
A good marriage is an achievable ideal and goal, although reality throws many challenges into the mix. Domestic violence is one sad and extreme reality, but it is the exception, not the rule. It is not an accurate description of most marriages. For example, there are around 1.3 to 1.4 million married couples in the state of Tennessee. In any given year, domestic violence of some kind is reported in less than 6 percent of marriages.
God designed the family to be the basic building block of a healthy society and culture. It all starts with two reasonable parents. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The needs and desires of each spouse is of equal importance. The needs and desires of the couple must be addressed reasonably and logically. As to sexual matters and choices, Paul taught that the couple must seek and journey only where there is agreement between the two (1 Cor. 7:3-5). When a husband and wife demonstrate a loving marriage through many difficult and challenging circumstances, they teach their children important values on how to live and conduct themselves. This is God’s primary platform for teaching the Christian faith.
To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “For even though I am absent in body, I am nevertheless with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your orderly manner [taxis] and the stability of your faith in Christ” (Col. 2:5). The Greek noun taxis means “orderly condition, due or right order.” When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he said, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly way [taxis]” (1 Cor. 14:40). We worship a God of order, and we should seek to function in an orderly manner in all things, to include our marriages, families, churches, businesses, communities, and governments.
 “H8414 – tôû – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 13 Feb, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h8414/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>. “H922 – bôû – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 13 Feb, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h922/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H2822 – ḥōšeḵ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 13 Feb, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h2822/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “G5010 – taxis – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 13 Feb, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5010/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.