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Grace Bible Church
Pastor Scott L. Harris
May 11, 2008
Being a Mom
Some years ago I cut out a Miss Manners column on Mothers Day that explained why something that once was simple has now become a day of confusion for many in our society. Why? Because many now have to ask, “Who is my mother?” She wrote,
“It’s all very well to talk about honoring Mother today. But, as Miss Manners well knows, there are many people nowadays who can’t figure out who Mother is. Is she Father’s new wife who is younger than the children? What about a cherished former mother-in-law? or the family friend who soothed the children while their parents were preoccupied with their divorce?
Even if Mother is identified, who is supposed to honor her? Just her children, or also the father of those children? Suppose he is no longer married to her? Or suppose he only acquired the already-fathered children through marriage to her?
What about the paternal grandmother of those children – does she honor the mother, or does the mother honor her? Should the biological mother be honoring her children’s adoptive mother, or vice versa?”
One Mothers Day card tried to tackle this problem of confused families by saying, “Welcome to the family, Mom, from all of us except our mother.”
But the confusion notwithstanding, “Mother” is a word that is loaded with a lot of meaning. The woman addressed by that title may or may not be the one that carried us for nine months, for many adoptive parents or step parents have fulfilled that role. For most of us, “Mother” or “Mom” is a good word that brings to mind a woman who sacrificed herself over and over again for us. She earned our respect and love in a hundred thousand ways, and we do love and respect her for it. For us, the scriptural command to honor our parents is done easily and with great joy.
For others here, they may have mixed or even negative emotions about “mom.” It may be very difficult for them to honor their parents even though that is the command given to all regardless of how well the parents fulfilled their roles (Ephesians 6:2). Many have had non-Christian parents or parents that were not living for the Lord, who abused their children either physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or a combination of those ways. As our society slides farther away from a Christian moral basis, this group with negative thoughts about their parents continues to increase.
Mothering has always been a difficult job. Hard work, long hours, no pay, and too often, little or no respect from children who are still wrapped up in their own selfish little world. The rewards have always seemed few and far between. In light of that it is no wonder that many parents say they would not have children if they had to do it over again. What such parents fail to recognize is that in saying that they are also admitting both the poor job they did in parenting and their own selfishness. We have a society that has moved very far from a Biblical worldview.
There are two major reasons children can turn out to be more of a curse rather than a blessing. First, many people become parents without any sense of God’s hand being in it. All they were out to do was have a good time. They were not thinking about producing children. They view the coming child as an interference with their life style and abortion becomes the easy solution when a woman becomes pregnant at the “wrong time.” (This has become such a common idea in our society that being pro-abortion is considered a political advantage by even presidential contenders and little fuss is made when they make disparaging remarks about their own daughters who might get pregnant while single and they want abortion available to take care of the problem). If they do have the child, they regret it because that child has kept them from doing what they wanted. So the first reason that many parents find their children to be more of a curse than blessing is because they are selfish.
The second reason children are viewed as such problems is that the vast majority of parents today including the “Christian” ones have turned their backs on the Scriptural principles of how to raise their children. The end result is that they end up with young brats and teen age rebellion. Children who are like that are curses. “A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him” (Proverbs 17:25).
There are several factors that continue to encourage this selfish mindset among parents. They make it more difficult for even the Christian mother who does understand the worth and importance of a child and sacrificially strives to raise that child correctly. First, society has changed its view a women’s role. The “liberated” woman of today is expected to be rising up the corporate ladder while giving “quality time” to her children between business and social events. (Though no one explains what “quality time” really is, or how to give it when your dead tired from a long day and your children know their baby sitter more than you). The woman who stays home with her kids is seen as “oppressed” by male society which will not let her become a “fulfilled” woman. Being a “mom” at home is no longer respected by society. You are expected to have some other job that is useful to society or at least self fulfilling based on the premise that homemaking and raising your own children is not useful to society or self-fulfilling.
Fulfilling the proper role of a mom is also more difficult now because of the anti-parental nature of society. Part of society does not like children and views them as burdens while a large portion of the rest has philosophies and methods of raising children that are contrary to the word of God, some of which antagonize the parent/child relationship. For example, contrary to the Bible is the idea that corporal punishment (spanking) is child abuse and those that do should have government social workers come and take those kids away. Proverbs 13:24 puts it directly saying, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” What happens to those kids who are taken away? They end up in foster homes where the children are often taught value systems opposite of the parents, and where the incidence of true child abuse, physical, sexual and emotional, increases dramatically. I find that to be cruel. (As a side note, one reason for such problems in some foster homes is because so many are doing it simply for the money they receive from the government to take care of the children. The foster care system greatly needs Christians who will get involved because they see a great opportunity to minister to hurting children and truly love them).
Our school systems are also often antagonistic to the parent/child relationship. Within the classroom “Value Clarification” and similar activities are designed to teach and promote situation ethics and secular morals that contradict Biblical ethics. Almost any odd ball group seems to have access to school campuses regardless of how immoral or perverted, but if a group of students want to start a Bible study on campus the administration will do all it can to shut it down. (Some out of ignorance, some out of preference for their own belief system which is anti-Biblical, and some for fear of a lawsuit by the ACLU for supposed violation of the First Amendment). It has become common for High schools to have some means by which they dispense materials and medical advise to underage students which are contrary to the desires and directives of the parents including passing out birth control devices, arranging for STD testing, and counseling how to obtain an abortion without notification of the parents (you cannot receive minor medical help such as stitching up a cut without parental consent, but you can get an abortion which is a major medical procedure). My point in this is simply that it is very difficult to be a Christian mom in a society that opposes your belief system and seeks to turn your children against you and your values.
However, children should be a blessing, not a curse. Psalm 127:3 tells us, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward,” and then adds in verse 5, “How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 128:3,4 describes the man who has a wife that is “like a fruitful vine” and has “children like olive plants around [his] table” as being blessed. This does not mean that being a godly parent is easy work, especially in light of the antagonism that we can face in our society, but God has given us the principles we need to raise our children correctly so that being a godly mom is a blessing
I. MARVELOUS BLESSINGS
First, I want to point out that as a man, I cannot know what a marvelous blessing it is to be a mom. I admit that I personally do not see what the great joy is in being sick for three or more months in early pregnancy, having to quit eating a lot of your favorite foods (chocolate, pizza, spices, etc), having something inside you that kicks you in the bladder and rams its head into your ribs, having to sleep with 5 or 6 pillows and still being uncomfortable, and then going through the labor and delivery when all the muscles in your abdomen want to do things and go places you don’t and being in the state of what Scripture refers to as “travail.” As a man, I cannot say if that is a blessing or not, but Diane said it was, so I’ll take her word for it. I am told that part of the blessing of pregnancy is the love that develops for that child even while marveling at the life growing in your womb.
I do have to mention that Jesus himself said a mother has joy in the birth of a child. “Whenever a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a child has been born into the world” (John 16:21). Anyone that has seen a birth knows the joy the mom has when she sees her baby for the first time. The first blessing is the joy of a new life, but let me quickly add that a similar joy is seen on the face of adoptive parents when that child is given to them. We need to remember that children, regardless if they come to us through pregnancy or adoption, are a gift of the Lord (Psalm 127:3), and there is great joy in receiving that gift.
There is also the blessing of the love that you give to those children and seeing them grow and mature. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul describes himself in terminology as if he was their mother and his care and concern for them was the same. He then says, “having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.” Because of the love that Paul had for the Thessalonians, he was pleased to impart to them his own life. This is also true for the godly mother, who without complaint sacrifices of herself and gives of herself to her children because of her love for them. She is pleased to do so. A few verses later Paul adds his thanksgiving to God for the spiritual growth of the Thessalonians. In the same way a mother rejoices and thanks God for the growth of her children. Proverbs 23:24,25 says, “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice: and he who begets a wise child will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you.”
There is of course the common blessing of seeing those children grow physically, take their first steps, say their first words, ride a bike, their first date, seeing them get married and having children of their own. But I think for the Christian there is the additional blessing of knowing that God is using you in a special way in the life of that child. Leading and guiding the child to a knowledge of God. Being able to mold and shape your child to become responsible and mature. What can be a greater blessing than knowing that you are being used by God to shape another human being for all of eternity?. That is a significant job. There is no job more important than affecting others for Christ.
There are marvelous blessings in being a mom. There is the joy in the birth of a child, the gift of the Lord, and the joy in loving those children and giving of yourself to them. There is also the great blessing in being used by God in being the most significant influence in that child’s life and being used by God to mold him or her into a responsible, mature and godly individual.
Even from the negative point of view of when your children cause you headaches that even Excedrin will not relieve, you have great cause for rejoicing. God is using your children to make you into a more mature Christian! This point is made very clear in both Romans 5:2-8 and James 1:2-4. “Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Even those difficult times accomplish spiritual growth in both us and in our children. Would you be as godly as you are without the challenges you have faced in raising your children?
II. OVERWHELMING RESPONSIBILITIES
Motherhood is also filled with responsibilities that seem overwhelming. Most of the commands in Scripture regarding the rearing of the children are directed at the father, but that does not in any way exclude the mother from those same responsibilities. Ephesians 6:4 says, “fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Just because the verse says “fathers” instead of “mothers” does not mean that moms are exempt from the command. She likewise has a responsibility to refrain from provoking the children to anger and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
What is meant by nurture? Training, instruction, chastening, discipline. It is teaching the child to live by the principles and precepts of the Lord.
What is meant by admonition? Exhortation, warning. Making sure they are corrected and learn about the consequences of disobedience to the Lord. And it should be noted that the first command to children is for them to obey and to honor the parents.
This responsibility of the mother is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4ff. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, with all they soul, and with all thy might, and these words, which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
The command is for both parents, though the father has the major responsibility for setting the direction and making sure it is done. It is a command that mom is also responsible to carry out. Various proverbs also make it plain that the mother also has a major role to play in the rearing of the children. Proverbs 1:8, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 6:20, “My son, observe the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.”
In some ways the mother bears even more of the practical responsibility in rearing the children. Dad may be the one that God has specifically charged with the responsibility to make sure the children are raised properly, but it seems that mom gets most of the blame down here. Proverbs 10:1 says, “A wise son make a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.” Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” This is sort of like, if the son does well, dad says, “That’s my boy.” However, if the son messes up, mom is told, “why can’t you do something with your child.” Of course there is great joy for both when a child matures properly as mentioned earlier in quoting Proverbs 23:24-25.
One of the things that concerns me is that parents learn to take full responsibility of the fact that God has put these precious children into our care. We need to understand that we are responsible for how we raise them, and accepting that responsibility will greatly affect the way they turn out. That is not to remove the child’s individual responsibility before God to follow Him, but it is to say that God does hold us responsible for the jobs we do as parents. No one has had perfect parents, and none of us are going to be perfect parents. God wants us to look to Him for how to raise our children. God wants us to be dependent on Him in raising godly children. Ignorance is no excuse. If the child is behaving in less than a godly manner, it is the parents responsibility to train that child to act in a godly manner. Failure to do so will rest on the parents for they will bear the grief and shame of it. God wants us to seek His forgiveness and correction when we fail and in that way not only become more godly ourselves, but become the model to our children of how to humbly walk in righteousness with Him. Wise parents look to God and seek the help of the rest of the body of Christ to do the job of parenting properly.
Let me stress a point before we discuss some basic principles of how God wants mothers to accomplish their job. While parents will be held responsible for the job they do as parents. That child can never, and I repeat never, use the way the parents have raised him or her as an excuse for their own sinful behavior. According to 2 Peter 1:3, God has already given to us “everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” The things that have happened to us in the past may give us great insight into why we tend to act certain ways, but they never excuse it. Regardless of how bad our past may be, what bad things may have happened to us, or how horrible the example of our parents, those things cannot excuse our own sinful behavior. Scripture is clear that God always provides a way to either escape or endure through any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
III. MATERNAL PRINCIPLES
God has given mothers great blessings in children and great responsibilities, but God has not left you to your own devices and musings to stumble and fail. He has given you His word, the Bible, to guide you and direct you on how the task can be accomplished of rearing children who will rise up and call you blessed. God has given you Maternal Principles. I want to quickly pull out some of these principles from Proverbs 31 because verse 28 says that her children will rise up and call her blessed, and that is a sign of mother who has done it right.
A. She is a good wife
Proverbs 31:10-12, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.” The starting point of being a good mother, is being a good wife. She has earned her husband’s complete trust. She does him good. You will never be a better mother than you are a wife.
In Proverbs 31:13-14 & 17-19 we find that she is industrious. She is willing to shop for bargains and work to make things herself and the family. “She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight. She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar.” Verse 17-19 add, “She girds her arms with strength, and makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle.”
She uses some of the extra fruits of her labor to gain extra income for the family. Proverbs 31: 24 states, “She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen.” And then she is also innovative of increasing the return on her earnings by investment as explained in Proverbs 31:16, “She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
It is no wonder the husband trusts her. He knows that she is a diligent and hard worker who is doing him good, and he will not lack gain from her. In fact, Proverbs 31:23 could indicate that because she is so supportive of him that he was able to become a leader in the community, “Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.”
B. She watches over her household.
Proverbs 31:27, “She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” This is a woman who cares about her household and she is busy making sure that everyone is provided for and taken care of.
Proverbs 31:15: “She rises also while it is still night, And gives food to her household, And portions to her maidens.” One of the first chores is making sure the family is fed, so she rises early to accomplish the task. In fact, Proverbs 31:14 points out that she not only feeds her family, but goes to great lengths to provide quality and variety for her family at her own personal expense. Remember that they either walked or rode a donkey in those days so it would be physically demanding for her to be described as, “She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar.”
She also makes sure the family is well clothed. Proverbs 31:21-22, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.” The family is well clothed because she is a diligent worker, wise in stretching the family income and she adds to it.
C. She is a wise in teaching.
Proverbs 31:26, “She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” She is wise in what she says and her example also teaches her children proper behavior. She can do this because, “Strength and dignity are her clothing. And she smiles at the future” (Proverbs 31:25). Her compassion and help to others is also part of her example of being a wise teacher. “She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20). Her words and the example of her life teaches her children how to live life properly in doing what is right and good.
D. She fears the Lord.
Most importantly, and the reason for all the other things, is that this woman fears the Lord. Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” And indeed this woman is praised by her children who call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28) and by her husband who says of her (Proverbs 31:29), “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”
Being a mom is quite a job. It has many Marvelous Blessings, and it also has some Overwhelming Responsibilities, but God has given you everything needed to fulfill those responsibilities and reap the blessings to their fullest. The Proverbs 31 woman is the supreme practical example of a godly mother. Is that what you desire to be? Is that what you what your wife or your own mom to be? You can help her by encouraging her to follow after the Lord.
The starting point is a proper fear of the Lord and a personal relationship with Him. Without that the job of being a godly & successful mother is impossible. But with the Lord and a foundational desire to serve Him you can put into practice all these principles. The two foundational commandments of all of Scripture are to: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength and mind, and 2) To love your neighbor as yourself. Put this into practice in your family and love them by being the best mom you can possibly be which is accomplished by:
1) Put the LORD first and develop your relationship with Him.
2) Be a good wife.
3) Watch over your household.
4) Be a wise teacher and a godly example to your children.
Sermon Notes – 5/11/2008 A.M.
Being a Mom – Selected Scriptures
Mother/Mom is a word for the woman that ____________ herself over and over again for you
Mother/Mom brings ________ emotions for some because that person ____________them in some way
Mothering is a _________ job
Many people do not have any sense of ________________ in them becoming parents
Many parents view their children as _____________ instead of ____________
Much of society does not value a ___________ role. They value _________ and / or self-fulfillment
Society’s philosophy & methods of child-rearing are ___________ to the Scriptures
A ________that develops for the child even while that life is ____________in your womb
The joy of a child being __________ into the world – John 16:21
The love that you give as your children _________and mature – 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Being used by the ___________ in a special way in the life of that child
God uses your children to make _______more mature & draw closer to the Lord
Children are to be raised without provoking to ________, and in the nurture & admonition of the Lord
____________= Training, instruction, chastening, discipline
____________= Exhortation, warning
To love the _________and teach your children about __________ in all situations.
A wise child brings __________, but a foolish child brings _________and shame on the mother
Parents are _____________ before God in how they raise their children
God wants us to look to _________ in how to raise our children & be dependent upon ________
We seek God’s ____________for failure and in doing so give a proper __________of walking with Him
Children (of any age) cannot use their parent’s failures as an __________ for their own sin
- She is a Good Wife – Proverbs 31:10-12
You will never be a better mother than you are a __________
She is ___________, and increases the ________of the family – Proverbs 31: 10-19, 23,24
- She watches over her household – Proverbs 31:14-15, 27
She is ________, not slothful. Her family is ________cared for.
- She is a wise in teaching. – Proverbs 31:20, 25-26
She teaches by what she says and by _________. She is _____________
- She fears the Lord – Proverbs 31:28-31
Her children praise her and call her _________, her husband says she _________ them all
The Proverbs 31 woman is the supreme ____________example of a godly mother
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times the word “mother” or “mom” is used in the sermon. Discuss with your parents how your mom is encouraging you to be godly.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Who should celebrate who on Mother’s day? Explain? Why is it hard for some people in our society to define who exactly is their “mom”? What does the word “mother” or “mom” mean to you? Explain. What good things come to mind when you think about your mom? Why do some people have such negative memories about their mom? What qualities in a mom make the difference between good and bad memories? What does it reveal about a parent if they say they would not have children if they had to do it over again? What are of the reasons some parents find their children to be a curse instead of a blessing? What is the end result of not following Biblical principles in raising children? How does society generally view the role of a mother? What does society expect of women? How would you define the successful woman? How would society define her? What examples have you seen of our society’s general rejection of Biblical principles in raising children? What examples have you seen of our school systems teaching ideas that are contrary to the parent’s beliefs? How do you help your children resist the ideas given to them in school/media? What blessing is their to a mom during pregnancy? What is the blessing of having a new baby whether by birth or adoption? What are the blessings in seeing your children grow and mature? What is the blessing of God using you in the life of your children? How does God use your children in improving your spiritual life? How do parents provoke their children to anger? How can that be avoided? What does Ephesians 6:4 mean by “nurture” and “admonition.” What are some practical ways those two commands can be carried out? Why is it so important that a mother love God with all her heart, soul and might? When and where should a mother teach her children about God and how to love God? What are the consequences to raising a child that becomes a fool? Who is responsible? Explain. Can other people be blamed for your sin? Read through Proverbs 31:10-31 and list out the characteristics the described that are important in being a good & godly mother?
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