by Edith Detweiler
“I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Motherhood is a high and holy calling, but before we can press towards the mark for the prize, we need to know what the mark is, where it is, and how to get there.
God has lovingly provided the way for every one of us to get there.
Whether we attain to God’s high calling does not depend on our circumstances: what kind of husband we have, how many children we have, how great we feel physically, what kind of personality we have, what our living conditions are, or even what kind of background we have. God is not a respecter of persons. However, attaining to the high calling of motherhood does depend upon the quality of our relationship with Jesus.
When we look at the ‘high calling’ of motherhood, we have to consider three areas of our lives.
1. A vibrant relationship with Jesus.
2. Sanctifying our motherhood.
3. Keeping our hearts in our home.
A Vibrant Marriage Relationship With Jesus
Most women desire to have children, but motherhood doesn’t start with babies. It begins with a relationship. How foolish it would be to try to have a baby without an intimate, love relationship with your husband! So it is in your spiritual life. You desire to bring forth fruit to the glory of God, but it will never work if you are not living in the reality of a vibrant relationship with God. Once you are real with God, you will find his grace and power flowing into your life, making you a vessel He uses daily to carry His glory into your home.
You need a love relationship with God through Jesus.
You need to bask in Jesus’ love and let His love fill your heart, then respond with love and praise to Him. He wants your love; your heart of love. Then out of this beautiful love-relationship with Jesus, your life will overflow with love for your husband, your children, and everyone else you touch. Natural love will not reach far enough to bring glory to God. It must be the love of Jesus.
You need a trusting relationship with Jesus.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus means just that – trusting – when He says, “Seek ye first.” The reason we come up with excuses to not seek Him first is because we do not trust Him to take care of all ‘these things’. We feel so responsible to get enough sleep and take care of the household, but God wants us to take Him at His Word and simply obey in faith.
In my own life, I can testify that the Lord cares for me in an amazing way when I rise up early to nurture my relationship with Him. It is a delightful relationship that I never want to miss out on. He is always faithful! I know I can trust Him!
“Faith is the leaning of your entire personality on Christ in complete trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness.” Colossians 1:14 Amplified Bible
You need a strengthening relationship with Jesus.
“She girds herself with strength (spiritual, mental, and physicals fitness for her God-given task) and makes her arms strong and firm.” Proverbs 31:17 (Amplified Bible)
Here you clothe yourself with divine strength. Here you get your soul happy in the Lord. Here the joy of the Lord becomes your strength. You would never think of beginning a day without getting your body dressed. It is even more foolish to begin a day without girding your soul with a divine strength for your God-given task of motherhood.
You need a satisfying relationship with Jesus.
“She opens her mouth with skillful and godly wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness and giving counsel and instruction.” Proverbs 31:26 (Amplified Bible)
Here, Jesus meets the particular needs of your heart, washing, cleaning, setting you free from the burdens of sin and filling you with His marvelous peace. Here Jesus quenches your spiritual thirst and satisfies your hungry soul. Don’t settle for anything less than an relationship that meets every need of your heart and satisfies your soul in Christ so you are complete in Him.
A mother who is not satisfied in Christ is not able to bring the glory of God into her home. She does not have these kind of words from herself. They must come from a daily, fresh infilling of the Word of God, the source of rivers of living water. She needs God’s anointing upon her words as well as her life in Christ.
Sanctify Your Motherhood
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…. That we should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4,12).
To sanctify motherhood means to ‘set it apart for God’. Your call is much higher than taking care of babies and children, cleaning, cooking and caring for your husband. Even carnal women can do a pretty good job in these areas. If you find yourself so wrapped up in the natural needs of your family, that you make little progress in your own spiritual growth and nurturing your family’s spiritual health, you have not sanctified motherhood. You need to get a firm hold on what God’s purpose is for you as a mother.
Allow the eyes of your spiritual understanding to be enlightened so that you receive a clear vision of God’s higher calling and His purpose for a mother. As you sanctify your motherhood, your devotional life should hold the highest priority for you.
Your personal quiet time with God will not just be one of the many things to get done in a day. It will be THE ONE THING – the priority. It will become the hub from which all the day’s fruitfulness extends.
The most important part of your labor as a mother is accomplished during your quiet time in the presence of God. The only way to have the fruit of motherhood that will withstand the tests of life and bring glory to God is if you labor WITH God. What you do apart from laboring with Him will amount to wood, hay, and stubble. It will burn in the fire of testing. In order to build with precious stones, you need to listen for His words of clear direction for your specific needs and area of service. When you begin to have this kind of communication with Him, you will have sanctified your motherhood and labor along-side of your Lord and Master.
God wants to make you a woman of prayer, a woman who has God’s power and understands how to pray in the Spirit and get answers to her prayers. Oh, it is a great part of your calling as a mother to pray for your children. Sisters, learn to pray!
Learn the secret of fasting. For years, I thought fasting was not for me because I was either expecting or nursing a baby. But God showed me I was wrong. He showed me how I fasted when I obeyed Him and sought Him through prayer and fasting. He always came through to me in amazing workings. My life has never been the same. Praise God!
As you become more sanctified through prayer, His Word, and waiting on Him, you will be convinced that there is absolutely no other way possible to reach the high calling of motherhood in your life.
Keep Your Heart In Your Home
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened that ye may know the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power toward you.” (Ephesians 1: 18-19)
If you desire to reach the high calling of motherhood, you must keep your heart at home (includes staying at home) and get rid those things that keep you from the work of bringing God’s glory into your home.
Distractions. Get rid of unnecessary distractions. Know and accept your own limitations. Learn to say “No” to many voices that only distract you from your high calling as a mother for God’s glory. Get rid of those things that leave you feeling disoriented. Be slow to assume responsibility outside the home.
“She considers a new field before she buys or accepts it – expanding slowly and not courting the neglect of her present duties by assuming others.” Proverbs 31:16 (Amplified Version)
Light reading. Don’t allow your mind to be cluttered with the “Christian” reading that lacks God’s anointing. It will lure you away from the real issues that God is working in your life and home.
Phone chatter. Unedifying and unnecessary talk definitely darkens the mind.
Theology. Be aware of the trap of being preoccupied with theology while passing over the glory of a beautiful relationship with Jesus in your actual daily life. Also, do not assume the burden of the church problems that are not your responsibility. They will weigh you down and make it impossible for you to function gracefully within your own realm.
Straying interests. You can get carried away with studying and doing interesting things, while your children helplessly look on, trying to keep up with you, or live in their own world while you live in yours. (Titus 2:5)
Other people’s problems. Don’t get into them unless God specifically calls you to minister. Learn to intercede for others, but flee from gossip and minding other people’s business. (1 Timothy 5:13)
Peer pressure. Yes, peer pressure a common distraction for mothers. You feel pressured to perform like other mothers do. You try so hard to keep up with the way others keep house, garden, sew, can, and freeze. God’s not trying to get you to measure up to someone else’s performance, He wants a beautiful love-relationship with you.
Remove all of these things so that you can bring the glory of God to the next generation. That is the high calling of motherhood. God is seeking mothers who are zealous for His glory and who become agents for bringing His glory into their homes. God needs you to represent His glory, His name, His purpose, and His working in your home so that the work of His Kingdom can be advanced through your home.
God purposes for you to sanctify yourself daily and live in the reality of a vibrant relationship with Him so that you can share it and pass it on to your children. God has purposed that you should be His agent to bring your children into the realm of His blessing. God wants to reveal His glory to your children and He has chosen to do it through YOU.
“She rises while it is yet night, and gets spiritual food for her household, and assigns her maids their tasks.” Proverbs 31:15
You wouldn’t think of not feeding your children natural food for one day. It is even more important to provide them with spiritual food for their hungry souls. Yes, their souls are hungry and you must supply them with fresh living bread from heaven for their nourishment.
Our children belong to the Lord. We might understand a bit how He feels about them when we think how we feel when we entrust our child to someone else to watch over them for a time We are very much concerned about how that child is treated in our absence. Much more so with God as He entrusts His children into our homes for a few short years.
“She tastes and sees that her gain from work (with and for God) is good; her lamp goeth not out, but burns on continually through the night (of trouble, privations, or sorrow) warning away fear, doubt, and mistrust.” Proverbs 31:18 (Amplified Bible)
God has so many beautiful things He yearns to do in the lives of our children and He is seeking mothers who understand His heart and will work with Him. Oh! How He loves each child! How He broods over them! How He grieves when we deprive them of seeing God’s glory through us. We either reveal His glory or else put an awful blot upon His name by our attitudes, words, and actions throughout the hours of every day.
Are you letting the glory of God shine through you by the way you respond when things go wrong? When the baby keeps fussing? When the boys misbehave? When the milk spills? When your husband changes your plans? When you are tired and weary? When you are on behind in your work and the house is out of order?
God wants you to reveal His glory by speaking words of faith in every situation, speaking words of grace and love, words that overflow from a heart that is full of God’s Word and full of His love. You reveal His glory by showing your children an excellent spirit no matter what happens. You may never attain to perfection in all the petty details of life, but there is one area that must always be sanctified. You must have and you can have a sanctified attitude.
Choose the High Calling
If you are not living in the reality of a vibrant relationship with the Lord as the basis of your motherhood, you need to repent. Repent of grieving God by putting other things before your relationship with Him. Repent of all your excuses and human reasonings for not trusting Him. Repent of your lack of discipline and your lack of faith and lack of sanctifying your call as a mother.
Our home is a very busy place with eleven children. I used to think it was impossible for me to get up early and have quiet time before the family was up. I tried to pray while I worked and read snatches of God’s Word here and there. I was surviving, but I wasn’t really growing. I didn’t have the power of God to bring His glory into our home. I am so glad God showed me I was wrong and that He lifted me out of the miry clay (my excuses) and now He has established my goings.
Sisters, go deep with God now. Don’t wait for a more convenient season. Don’t allow yourself to drift on in a shallow surface-relationship with God, grieving him daily by your refusal to be a vessel for His grace and glory in your home. Keep your relationship with God vibrant, fresh and sanctified so that you hear and know what God is saying to you so you can stick with the high calling of motherhood.
©April 1999, The Heartbeat of the Remnant, edited by Julie Almanrode