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The Spiritual Strength of a Mother

Elisabeth Elliot: God has given you a job to do--if you're a mother or a father--which cannot possibly be done as well by anyone else. No one else can love your children as you love them.

Lisa Barry: Being a mother is a very demanding job. Unfortunately, too many parents are transferring the responsibility of child rearing to others. Society tells us we can have it all. We can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan. Not only that, it's implied that we're cheating ourselves if we don't grasp for it all . . . but Elisabeth Elliot is one woman who doesn't feel that way. She has taken a very public stance on the issue of stay-at-home motherhood. So, if you're someone who has taken a beating from the media, who thinks of homemaking as second-rate, you've come to the right place. Stay tuned for some much needed encouragement and challenge today on Gateway To Joy. Let's hear from Elisabeth.

Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, continuing my talks on the vocation of motherhood. Remember that a vocation is a calling, and motherhood is a solemn and holy calling, a job that you can do with God, and for God, and to the glory of God. Remember that. God has given you a job to do, if you're a mother or a father, which cannot possibly be done as well by anyone else. No one else can love your children as you love them.

We've been talking about the spiritual strength necessary for mothering--the sense of the presence of God. Now, there is a strong warning needed here; to love your children does not mean to own them as your private property. They are gifts, lent to you for a time. That child--that boy or girl--is an individual before God, an individual for whom you are responsible.

It's very easy for sins of pride and covetousness to creep in. Before we can be Christ's disciples, we must reverse our attitude. We must learn to hate. Yes, that's what I said. Learn to hate . . . but that's what the Bible says. There is such a thing as false love, and there is true love, and it's true love that's commanded.

Jesus said we are to love one another as He has loved us. How is that? How did Christ love us? Through sacrifice. False love is egoism rooted in pride and that is the primal sin. Pride was the original sin in the Garden of Eden, wasn't it? Adam and Eve declared themselves independent of God.

We are less ready to realize those sins in which there is true love of another human being, but in which, nonetheless, we flout the will of God. We are making ourselves the arbiters of good and evil. In other words, we are choosing what we think is good and evil as opposed to what God's Word clearly tells us.

In these people, too, there is the same essential sin; for it is still the human judgment which is deified . . . the divine, which is denied.

We're talking about false love, now, versus true. Sometimes this problem presents itself in terms of an unbearable tension between the claims of a true human love and obedience to God. All of our instincts and feelings, all of our judgments and deep desires for another's good, will rise up and cry out, "I cannot do this. I cannot cause all this suffering and all this harm for the sake of a principle." Then you have to try to remember that, in fact, we don't know with any certainty what, on a long view, is for another's good. We cannot foresee the consequences of our actions, and we just do not understand the depths of the problem of suffering. The only thing we can do, if we want to be wise, is to trust in the judgments of God.

You remember the words of Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him" (Job 13:15). There may be times when you have to say, "Even though He slays my friend, my lover, my country, my child . . . yet will I trust Him and continue to obey Him."

Are you one of those parents who find it practically impossible to spank your child because you think you love him so much? The Bible says that the father who fails to discipline his son hates him. Parents are responsible to bring their children up in the nurture, the admonition, and the discipline of the Lord. That takes inflicting a measured amount of pain in the form of a spanking administered by a parent who is in control of himself, who speaks in a calm and kind tone of voice, but who knows that this is the language that the two-year-old understands. No use reasoning with them. Give them a spanking.

But the false love is not only expressed in a self-willed choice of evil in defiance of the law of God.

Detachment is an old word that many of the old writers of several centuries ago used. It means something much more than avoidance of evil that defies the law of God. There's another kind of a choice, not of evil as against good; but we choose something which looks to us to be good in itself as against what is God's will for us at any given moment.

You may say there's nothing wrong in this action, or this interest, or this possession, or this form of recreation--in itself, nothing wrong--and you may be right . . . but it may not be God's will for you. It may not be part of your particular calling or vocation. Then, if you insist on clinging to it, you are still committing the primal sin of pride and egotism. You are making yourself the judge of what is right for you, clinging to something in defiance of God. That's what Eve did, wasn't it? She was the mother of the race, but not a good example.

You are not the master of your children. They are to be loved in themselves. You can't live the life of God without learning to love the world, but you can't love the world without truly learning to love God above all else. I'm speaking of loving the world in the sense that John 3:16 says: "God so loved the world that He gave . . ."

Now remember, there is a very clear-cut distinction between masculinity and femininity. It is the greatest of all natural differentiations. Man is created to be the builder and the legislator, woman--the conserver, the consoler, the responder. An insistence on equality obliterates the distinction between men and women and it ends by destroying the integrity of both.

We are meant to be complementary, subordinate to our husbands. Does that word irritate you, depress you? You're sadly mistaken. We will not achieve freedom and dignity as women by trying to behave like a man. May God give you the strength and the grace and the wisdom to exemplify for your children what true femininity means and your boys need to see that example every bit as much as your girls. The vocation of womanhood: a holy calling.

Lisa Barry: Maybe you're listening today, wishing you had the benefit of this kind of teaching when you were a young mother. Well, though none of us can change the past, we do have the potential to change the future for someone else. Our Mother's Day Packet provides young mothers with the tools that help them mold and shape their families so they can live up to the holy calling that God intended.

I'm going to tell you how you can get that packet in just a minute, but right now I'd like to redirect your thoughts to the National Day of Prayer, which happens tomorrow. Shirley Dobson is the chairman of the event and Elisabeth had a chance to sit down with her and talk about some of the specifics. Let's listen in on that conversation.

Elisabeth Elliot: What is the theme for this year?

Shirley Dobson: The theme for this year's National Day of Prayer is "One Nation Under God," and we took it from the book of Psalms, chapter 33, verse 12, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Elisabeth, this is our fiftieth anniversary . . . Can you believe it?

Elisabeth Elliot: No.

Shirley Dobson: . . . of the National Day of Prayer and we have asked Billy Graham to be our honorary chairperson for this year. He has crafted a prayer (a national prayer) that's going to be prayed simultaneously across the nation beginning at 12:30 Eastern time in Washington DC. We're really excited about that and I hope our listeners will be in prayer for Dr. Graham, that he will be strong enough to pray that prayer . . . but if not, Franklin has agreed to pray the prayer.

You know, somebody sent me a little picture of what snowflakes are. Snowflakes are very tiny and fragile and when they're separated, they don't have much power, but if they ever come together in an avalanche, we know how powerful they can be. I think about that when we come together in corporate prayer. Just think of the whole nation praying this prayer at one time. How powerful and how beautiful that's going to be! I'm excited about this year's National Day of Prayer.

Lisa Barry: It's an event that only comes around once a year. Let's pray that everyone hearing today's broadcast will find some way to participate. That was Shirley Dobson, the chairman of the National Day of Prayer. Thank you, Shirley, for your leadership and for your willingness to come on today's program and talk about tomorrow's important event. If those of you listening would like more information on the National Day of Prayer, you can call us here at Gateway To Joy and we can help you with that.

Well, I'm sure you would agree that prayer is also an important part of being a mother. We have the responsibility and the power to mold and shape the lives of our children, and to help you with that task, we've put together the Mother's Day Packet. In it, you'll receive Elisabeth's book, The Shaping of a Christian Family, this two-week tape series entitled "The Vocation of Motherhood," and a beautifully redesigned flip calendar.

We're making the Mother's Day Packet available today for a suggested donation of $25.00 when you ask for it. Our toll-free number is 1-800-759-4JOY. That number again is 1-800-759-4569. Our postal address is: Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, NE 68501. That's Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, NE 68501. Today's program has been a production of Back to the Bible and we thank you for prayerfully considering Gateway To Joy's financial needs. Your efforts make a big difference.

Tomorrow Elisabeth talks about being partners with God. Be sure and join us then for the next Gateway To Joy.

 
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