Pleasing the Lord Even at Home

I am resuming the verse-by-verse series in the book of Colossians, All I Need. The next passage we see from the writer of Colossians, Paul, is made up of four very simple imperatives all having to do with the family.  Scholars refer to these verses, along with those that follow, as the “household code.” (In the ancient world, as well as in part of the modern world, servants were considered part of the household. Next week, we’ll consider how Colossians 3:22-4:1—the word given to masters and servants—apply to us in the work world. This week we’ll keep our focus on what the modern Western world considers “household”—couples, parents, and children.)

Whatever the makeup of your household, even if you are single, widowed or divorced, or have no children, there is something for you this week. What ties all of these verses together is the fact that Scripture calls us to please the Lord in all of life. Look at the verse that comes immediately before this week’s passage:  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord…” (Colossians 3:17). That applies to every one of us! he has given us unconditional love and salvation, and we want to please him like the loving Father and loyal friend that he is! It’s sort of like the dedication at the front of a book. This life is dedicated to Christ, who died for me and to whom I am entirely devoted.

The language of Colossians 3:18-21 is all about doing what’s fitting for a person who is in the Lord (v. 18) and what pleases God (v. 20). What we’re talking about here is what John Piper calls the “Godward life.”


“A Godward life is a life lived for the sake of seeing and savoring and showing God in all things. ‘Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31, RSV).”

- John Piper, A Godward Life


A Godward life says that I want to see God in all of life, whether times are good or bad. I want to delight in Him in everything. I want to show others how awesome he is by the way I life my life as a wife, a husband, a son or daughter, a parent, a friend, a co-worker, a manager, and do on. This is coram Deo, life lived before the face of God. 

I’ll post about each of the four “household code” imperatives in turn: the word to wives on Tuesday, to husbands on Wednesday, to children of all ages on Thursday, and to fathers/parents on Friday. Don’t skip a day because you think it doesn’t apply to you. Not only might you find some information or wisdom (from Paul) for yourself; you’ll likely better understand this passage for those times when you are called upon to help a fellow believer struggling with household relationships.