Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.
Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ.
Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do.
And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God.
Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.
Masters, it's the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them.
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong.
So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.
This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)