CHRISTIAN DUTIES OF WIVES AND MOTHERS
An area where Satan tries to push women to extremes is in keeping household duties and spiritual pursuits in balance. Women who are unequally yoked are especially vulnerable in this area. Perhaps you know women who serve their husbands “tapes for breakfast,” “Charismatic book reviews for lunch,” and “Praise-the-Lord’s for dinner.” If this is not done under the Holy Spirit’s unction and with His wisdom, it can turn husbands away from, not toward the Lord. A change of diet might speak more loudly than incessant talking about Jesus. A neat house, nice meals, and a genuine interest in the husband and his interests many times speaks louder than all the tapes. To fulfill her household duties, a woman may have to give up some of her “spiritual” activities. Three meetings a week really do not make us spiritual anyway.
Real love is giving up what we would like to do in order to make another happy. We have all heard the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” If a wife has claimed her husband’s heart for Jesus, she might try reaching it through his stomach, if all else has failed. Then, when he asks why the sudden change, she can humbly say the Lord spoke to her about neglecting him and the home, and that Jesus very much wants happy homes and happy husbands. He will be interested in knowing a God like that. It works with rebellious kids, too, applied a little differently. Many of our family members are really crying out for love through their very acts of rebellion. Let’s remember to spend time with them, as God gave us the home first.
Some wives neglect their husbands and homes by engaging in too many spiritual pursuits. Of course, the opposite problem can also exist in our homes. Other problems arise when wives are so neat and fastidious about their homes that so much time is spent on cleaning and cooking that they neglect the much needed time of family worship and fellowship. Houses then become a “shrine” to be admired, placing more emphasis on the residence than the residents. Women can become “Marthas” instead of “Marys.”
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
The Lord wants both areas balanced in our lives, so let us remember not to be so “heavenly minded” that we are no “earthly good.” And on the other hand, let’s not get so earthbound that we miss the beauty of the Spirit.
The woman has her primary responsibility in the home since the Scripture says she is to be the keeper of the home. “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). Preparing meals for the family is one of her prime duties. The world has set the standard when it comes to eating, rather than the Word of God. Here is another area where we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Besides seeing to it that each member receives spiritual food, the Lord is emphasizing to His people that they need to make changes in their physical diets and receive the proper natural foods. Most of God’s people have experienced His healing hand in their bodies, but one problem that seems to be prevalent is that after receiving healing, the devil comes to rob them of God’s gift of healing. If we exercise our faith and rebuke the enemy in the name of Jesus, he will flee. If, however, you have done this and are still experiencing illness, perhaps the problem is one of maintaining the gift God has given you. By this I mean we must not only obey and keep spiritual laws, but also we must keep physical laws if we expect to walk in God’s blessings.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and many of our temples are filled with trash and garbage. Yet we expect the Holy Spirit to abide there, too. As women, we can be instrumental in ministering the proper food to our families. Instead of eating according to the present mode, we need to eat according to God’s Word. The Bible has much to say about diet and eating. Of course, the extreme we should avoid here is to become so “food-minded” that we allow cooking and diet to absorb too much of our time. Obesity has become such a problem for so many people in the U.S.A. that we need to seek God to control our appetites and help us in this all important area. The Lord wants us to learn self-discipline and temperance in all things. In and of ourselves, we may not be able to overcome our old eating habits, but through prayer, with the Lord’s help, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Proverbs 31:10-31 gives us an excellent description of an ideal wife and mother. Verse 28 says, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth her.” As wives and mothers we should examine our lives to see where we fall short and ask God to help us be like the companion and mother spoken about in these verses. Do our children call us blessed? What about our husbands? Are they praising us as wives? Perhaps our children are rebellious at this time; maybe our husbands are far from the Christian ideal, and neither is praising nor blessing us. Do we blame them and insist that the Lord change them, or do we look at ourselves and ask the Lord to turn the searchlight upon our own faults and failures so that He might work a change in us? Our number one problem is not our children, our mates, our job, or our circumstances–it is ourselves. Until we are willing to change ourselves, the Lord cannot begin the needed changes in our families.
How does God effect these changes in our lives? First of all, we must be honest with God and face our shortcomings and sins. We must come confessing, “God, I am resentful toward this person; I can’t help it; I don’t want to be like this; help me change. Lord, help me to be the kind of wife and mother that will inspire my husband and children to rise up and call me blessed. Amen.” As we yield to the Lord and follow His promptings, we shall surely see changes in our lives and in the lives of those we love.
We must begin by seeing the kind of woman we are. The woman in Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her,” or the one in Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” I’m sure our desire is that we fit into the category of the first type, for we certainly do not want to be referred to as angry and contentious. But I wonder, if we honestly examined our hearts and motives and let the Lord turn His searchlight on us, if we might not see some areas where anger and contention do exist in our lives. Perhaps we do not openly voice our anger, but inside we feel it toward our husbands or children; and because we do not voice it, we have feelings of resentment toward them.
Jesus, in the New Testament, talked much about our thought life and our inner feelings. Remember as he spoke to the religious leaders of His day, He reproved them for their evil hearts even though their outward deeds appeared to be right and good. We can outwardly do our duties as mothers and wives, but inside our hearts we may not really be lovingly ministering to them. We may be motivated by duty, not love. None of us really appreciate people doing things for us simply because it is their job. The real witness to others is when we do something simply because we love them. A lot of Spirit-filled Christians are eager to show the love of Jesus to everyone else, but those of their own households often suffer from a lack of love. Let us certainly show the love of Jesus to all we meet, but let’s remember to show it in our homes first, asking the Lord to give us the true Spirit of love in performing our daily chores.”Lord, may we turn the daily tasks into celebrations of love. Amen.”