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
(Eph. 6:1-3)
There is another side to this, too. If children have to walk in love toward their parents so they can live long on the earth, parents also have the responsibility to walk in love toward their children.

I don't know about you, but as our children were growing up, I sometimes had to ask them to forgive me. I would say to them, "I was right in correcting you, but wrong in the way I did it. I want you to forgive me." It makes all the difference in the world when you raise your children with the love of God in your heart!

If parents will walk in love toward their children and live right before them, it will affect their children spiritually, mentally, and physically. It will even affect their health.

I don't know whether I get mad myself or whether it's just my righteous indignation that gets stirred up. But people who leave their families and abandon their children need to know that they are going to pay for all of that one of these days.

Not only that, but if only people knew the effect it has on children when they're abandoned by a parent!

When I was holding a meeting in California several years ago, I happened to pick up a newspaper and read that researchers had done a survey in the California penitentiaries. They found out that without exception every single person who was in prison for a violent crime had been abused as a child.

Every single one of them!

Discipline In Love
That doesn't mean parents shouldn't discipline their children. Of course they have to discipline their children. Even when you're walking in love toward your children, you still have to reprimand them from time to time, because children are children. And at times you've got to spank them.

And sometimes it seems like boys need more discipline than girls!

But, for instance, I never spanked Ken without reading the Word to him first. If you spank your children in anger, you're wrong because you're not walking in love toward them.

Before I'd spank Ken, I'd open the Bible to this passage in Ephesians. I'd say, "Son, I'm not spanking you because I want to or because I want to be mean to you. But I want you to stay well; I want you to live a long time on the earth." Then I'd read him Ephesians 6:1-3.

My wife and I read the Word and prayed with our children every night before they went to bed. And when they started school, we'd read the Word and pray with them before they went to school every morning.

Well, both our children grew up serving God and are now ordained ministers. But we lived right in front of them too. All the faith confessions in the world wouldn't have done any good if we hadn't walked in love toward them and lived right in front of them.

As parents, sometimes you have to reprimand your children, because the Bible says that a child left to himself brings a reproach to his parents (Prov. 29:15). But you can still walk in divine love and discipline your children.

I remember when Ken was about six years old, he came into my study one night when I was praying. He said, "Daddy, I want you to forgive me."

I said, "What for, son?"

"Well," he said, "you told me to empty that wastebasket this morning, and I didn't do it. Read that Scripture to me about where it says it will be well with you, and you don't have to be sick, and you can live a long time on the earth."

So I read Ephesians 6:1-3 to him. Then I said, "I forgive you, son. Now let's just kneel down here and ask the Lord to forgive you."

A Good, Long Life
There is a promise that goes along with honoring your parents and walking in love with them—and it's a long, good life!

As we all know, you can know about a Bible subject, but if you don't put into practice what you know, it won't profit you. It's the principles of love applied that brings forth fruit.

The God-kind of love is important in every area of your life. Walking in love affects every area of your life, including how long you live on the earth. Begin to put the love of God to practice, and watch God's love bring forth great fruit.

Source: Love: The Way To Victory
by Kenneth Hagin.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications