“Honour your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise” Ephesians 6:2 (NIV).
The promise is that you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God will give you. Not in some “afterlife”, but here in this land. The apostle was referencing Moses in Exodus 20:12.
Let us say you have not yet wrapped your head around immortality. That God’s perfect will is that you will have life and have it in abundance. That you have the god-kind-of-life in you and that you do not have to expire from this world. Perhaps you have also not yet fully been convinced that the same Spirit who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, has found permanent residence in you.
Then you should at least hold on to this promise “You will live a long, full life.” That is, a long life that is full of meaning and purpose.
A lot of men and women of God have checked-out from this world at the end of their race. They ran amazing races. That should be your goal and hope at a minimum. That you will not check-out from this world until you have completed that which God has ordained you to fulfill. With a lot of people passing on this year, we cannot but run to the word of God to hear what His promises are regarding life, and there is peace to be found in Him regarding this.
Like the apostle Paul, we should be able to say “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians 1:21. And then be able to continue from there to say “I don’t know what to choose. I could keep on living and doing something useful.” Philippians 1:22 (Contemporary English Version). We might not be ready for this kind of truth as the church, but the apostle believed he had a choice between continuing to live or to lay down his life. If he lived it had to be for the glory of God and he was to do something fruitful and if he died, it also had to be for the glory of God. Either way, in life or death, it had to be for the glory of God. If you were to die today (God forbid), would it be for the glory of God?
The apostle believed in more than just long life, he literally believed he could choose between life and death. He was already talking about eternal life (but that’s a John 3:16 story for another day). Perhaps we are not there yet, but what we know now can unlock the promises of God for long life!
This text gives us a simple principle God has set up in place, which will give us long life, guaranteed. The apostle says this is the first commandment that comes with a promise, so we can rest assured in its veracity: “Honour your father and mother.” That’s a life hack.