Charles Stanley - The Characteristics of a Godly Mother
Well, there are lots of mothers in the Bible, some of them good, some of them not too good. And when we think about mothers and how important they are to all of our society, each one of us has had one. And whether you like it or not, you have a mother. You may have loved her or maybe you didn't love her, but you have a mother, and they're precious in God's eyes.
So, with that in mind, I want you to turn to Second Timothy and I want you to turn to the first chapter if you will. And if you'll look at the first verse of this second epistle to Timothy, and notice what he says to him here, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason," because of this relationship, "I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline".
And Paul writing to Timothy because he was probably a little discouraged with the work in the church there. So, in thinking about that Scripture and thinking about what are the characteristics of a godly mother anyway? What does a godly mother look like? We could talk about a beautiful mother, rich mother, youthful, about all kind of mothers; but what about a godly mother? Does that mean she's perfect? No, it does not. But that does mean she has a quality about her that separates her from most. A godly mother. That is, a godly mother is a mother who prays and reads the Word of God. Not necessarily every day, but it's the habit of her life. It's the habit of her life because she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. She believes the Word of God and she knows that the instructions in the Word of God will help her to be a better wife and a better mother when the children come along. Not only that, it's going to affect everything about her. It's going to affect the way she dresses, the way she handles herself, the way she works, the kind of wife she's is, and the kind of mother she'll be.
So, that's God's goal for every mother, to be godly. Not perfect, but righteous. That is her conduct, her character, her conversation, and it's in keeping with the Word of God. Doesn't mean she'll be like anybody else, look like anybody else, or do anything somebody else does. But she's a godly woman and her life is rooted in the Word of God and in prayer. That's the reason she does such a good job of raising her children, because they're reflections of her. Secondly, I think about this kind of mother. She's a mother who has learned to trust God for every need in her life, because reading and thinking and praying and meditating upon the Word of God, she's recognized God's made some promises. He's made a lot of promises in the Word of God for meeting needs. That isn't just a physical needs, material needs, but emotional needs. And a woman, a mother, has emotional needs that we men don't quite fully understand. And we'd like to understand better, but God made a woman that way and that's the way she is.
And so, a woman who loves God, who's in the Word, she is trusting God, and trusting God for every need. And she doesn't talk about being poor. She doesn't talk about having less than. She talks about God's sufficiency for her life. I never heard my mother talk about being poor. Now, we were poor, but she never said it. She never mentioned that. She didn't think about poverty; she thanked God for the nine dollars and ten cents a week she made in a textile mill. Never spoke about being poor or less than. Never compared herself with somebody else, that wasn't her attitude. She trusted God.
A third quality I think of a godly mother is that she's generous toward others. And that's the way my mom was, very generous. I can remember when we had almost nothing, we always gave somebody something. When you left our house, she gave you something. That was her heart. A generous heart is not selfish. A generous heart is thinking about others because sometimes the only thing you have to give the person who's visiting you is a word of encouragement. And think about how powerful that is. Sometimes a word of encouragement's far more powerful than money or some position in life, but there's something about your character; something about who you are; something about your spirit; something about the way you carry yourself. That is, a godly mother is one who is generous toward others and knows what generosity is about, and knows when they complement somebody, they're complimenting them in a way that does something for them. She's building them up. Everybody needs to be built up. Nobody wants to be torn down. And not only that, if a mother can, she's going to be generous toward her children and toward her husband and toward other people.
And when I think about that, I think about how many times I saw my mother give somebody who came to see us something. I don't know what it was, but it was like she couldn't let them leave without giving them something. I can remember sometime when young children would come to the door; knock on the door back during the depression days. And they'd ask if we had any extra bread. We might not have had any extra, but my Mom was going to give them a piece whether we had any or not. That's just who she was. She was a generous woman. And generosity is a godly quality. Not what can I do for me, myself, and I and my family? But what can I do for others? That's a Christ-like spirit. And so, it was so entrenched in my life that even now, if you came to my house, I don't think about it; I don't try; I don't remember, have to say I've got to remember this. It's just built within me, before you leave my house, I'm going to offer you something. I don't know what it'll be.
Generosity is good for everybody. Think about it. It's good for you to give of yourself. It's good for the other person who has needs. But we don't think about being generous. That's a very important quality of a godly woman. Then of course, a godly woman's going to obey God. She's going to obey God for several reasons, one of which she knows that obeying God is profitable for her. It is only, not only profitable for her, it is very profitable for her children and it's profitable for her husband. And so, when we think about obeying God, you've heard me say it over and over and over again: Obey God, leave all the consequences to Him. That's the bottom line of life, that's the bottom line. What are you, what do you say beyond that? Obey God, who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, has all power, love, trust. He can provide everything. Obey God, leave all the consequences to Him.
Watch that. If you leave the consequences to Him, you don't worry about it. I can think of other times when my mother and I prayed about very serious things and it would just, I'd go to sleep worried about it and thinking about it. Not my mother, that's not the way she thought. She thought that when she gave it to God, that's where she left it. That's who she was. And being obedient to God was part of her life. So, think about this. What's the atmosphere in your home? Everybody's household has an atmosphere. What's the atmosphere? When you walk in, there's an atmosphere of freedom. There's an atmosphere of welcome. There's an atmosphere of love. Or you can walk in a home and you know something's wrong. Nobody has to say anything; nobody has to do anything; you just know that something is wrong. And a mother knows how to create a godly atmosphere.
Sometime that's very difficult, if she's married to a husband who does not agree with her about her spiritual walk with the Lord or whatever. But the atmosphere in your home. Love, welcome, tensions, stress, all kinds of atmospheres. A godly woman is going to have a spirit of obedience to God, which she will not worry about a lot of things, but she will be a godly person, reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And then, I think you could say that one of the qualities of a godly mother is that she's forgiving. Forgiving is absolutely essential, not only does the Bible teach us to be forgiving, but think about this. People who are unforgiving are living in stress; living in tension. No matter what else they do that looks right, feels right, whatever it is, and unforgiving spirit is a spirit of tension and stress.
Now, somebody will say, Well, you don't know who I'm living with. Well, I don't know who you're living with but I know also that God, who lives within you if you are a follower of Jesus, He has given you the capacity to forgive anybody. But the whole issue of forgiveness is a vital part of a family spirit, being able to forgive. Because all of us have thought our parents were not forgiving; or thought they had mistreated us in some way. Well, I didn't deserve that or I didn't deserve this. The truth is we probably all deserved more than we got. But forgiveness is, forgiveness is the spirit of a follower of Jesus. Look what He forgave us from. So, be ye kind one to another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another, which is the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, of what He'll do. So, in your household is the spirit of forgiveness there? Because that's, listen, there's always going to be tensions about certain things in life.
And so, you won't let your son drive this car or that one; or your wife didn't get this or that and so forth; and so, tension builds up. If you can't forgive, you're living in stress. It doesn't make any difference who you are, what you have and how much, if you're not forgiving, you're living with stress. Stress goes to the mind, gets to the heart. You don't need it. God doesn't want you to have it. So, forgiveness is the key to eliminating that in your life. And then I think about the whole attitude of persistence. You say, Well, what's that got to do with this? Well, persistence means that I keep at it and I just keep doing what I'm to do until I get it done; and not just let things lay around.
I remember my mom. If I laid a pair of trousers around, pick it up. Or if I laid something around that was out of place, fix that. In other words, she never left the table, after we ate, she never left it just a mess. Persistence means I know what I should do, and I do it. I don't wait for somebody else to do it, I get it done. And I think that's a key that oftentimes people forget in life. The people who accomplish things in life are persistent. That is, if this is the goal, this is what I'm going to do; and I'm going to do it till I get it done. I don't walk away, I don't stop talking, I don't stop loving, I don't stop embracing you. I don't stop because things are not going my way. Persistent means God has given us a life, shown us what to do, going through a tough time I don't quit, and I don't give up. And I think that was one thing that was very difficult to me. To have somebody give up.
When you have given your best and for some reason they either don't appreciate it or whatever it might be. And I think about at times when I'd have to get on my knees and ask God, Lord, don't let me be discouraged. No matter what I see, no matter what I feel, don't let me be discouraged. Let me keep moving, keep doing it. And you'd have to be in my position going through those difficult times and have to stand up in front of everybody every Sunday and preach the Gospel. And I remember how I had to be very, very sure my heart was clean, pure, and forgiving without any doubt. And so, God will work through all that. But you have to keep going. For example, a mother with a young child, how many times do you get up in the middle of the night to take care of that child? God has planted within a mother this awesome sense of deliberate and willingness to do whatever needs to be done for her children. And I think husbands, fathers certainly need to appreciate that in any godly mother. Persistent. She can be counted on, no matter what happens.
So, would you be that kind of mom? You be that kind of mom or wife that you can be counted on no matter what? Times get rough, still trust you. You're not nagging, and you're not fussing, and you're not groaning, and you're not comparing your family with somebody else's family, and comparing what they have with what you have. No, none of that fits the life of a godly woman. Doesn't mean you can just push her around, it's not that. It's just that's she's determined to be what God wants her to be. It's the same quality that all of us need in our life. That we don't just quit and give up because things are not going to suit us, or because we don't have what we'd like to have. We're persistent. You can trust us, no matter what.
And then of course, Jesus was a servant. He teaches through His Word you and I are to be servants. That is, we are to have a servant spirit, that is, we're not living for ourselves but for others. And I think of all the people who need a servant spirit in order to be happy is a mother. Because what does she do? She serves everybody every day all of her life, she's giving of herself. Well, the next time you get tired and say, I'm just fed up with this, remember that Jesus was a servant. He served those He worked with and the truth is service is an outpouring of yourself. When you're giving yourself away to someone else, for some need in their life, that's what you're doing. You're giving of yourself.
And a servant spirit is a godly spirit. And not only that, a servant spirit gets a long ways further in life than a person who's selfish. Whether it's on your job or among your friends or whatever it might be. A servant spirit doesn't ask the question, Well, how does that suit my schedule? How do I feel? What's coming to me? What am I going to get for all this? No, a servant spirit is what can I do for you? How can I help him? How can I help her? You serve the Living God by serving your family. And a servant spirit is a godly spirit.
So, we think about godliness, that's what we're talking about. Then I would say to live an orderly life. An orderly life is an organized life. That is, things fall into sequence. And you think about little children who have to get up and go to school and they're just six years old or seven years old; you have a schedule you have to live by. If you're not orderly, listen, where there is no orderliness, there is confusion, frustration, anxiety, tensions, stress and arguments, because that's what it boils down to. An orderly life is an organized life. She knows what she's going to do and how she's going to get it done; how long it's going to take; and she goes about getting it done. And if you'll think about this, whoever you are and what kind of parents you are, your children are going to exhibit some, if not many, many, many of your attitudes and your habits. That's just the way life is.
And so, the parent cannot neglect their children and say, Well, you know, you'll be okay. No. There are restrictions and there are attitudes and there are habits that need to be built into every single one of us. We all develop habits and we pass them on. In other words, if a son sees his father being disorderly and no sense of organization, just doing whatever comes next, he's going to have a great tendency to be lazy. The same thing is true of a girl. And so, it's very important that we live the kind of life we want our children to live and or.
Think about Jesus' life. He had twelve disciples. Handling them was an issue, I'm sure, He knew exactly what to do. But I am sure that Jesus was a very orderly person; and that in His relationship with those twelve disciples, the same was true. That is a characteristic that either builds, lifts and enables and enriches a person or the very opposite of all those is true. Then, to be an encourager. When I think of all the qualities that need to be true of a parent, of a mother, an encourager. And if you'll think about this. When a child is born, and that mother holds that child up to her breast, you know what she's doing? She's starting out encouraging that child. Because that child senses something from that mother from the time he or she was born. Then as that child grows, that encouraging word, Yes, you can. I know you can. I love you. You're the sweetest one. You're, you, on and on she goes encouraging that child.
No telling how many people in prison wouldn't be there if their mother or father had encouraged them. Do your best. Be your best, no matter what. Don't quit; don't give up. And, but an encourager. And I can think about the times when I was a kid and I'd come home and my grades weren't the best in the world. I just wasn't that smart. And my mother would always ask me this. She wouldn't get on my case and say why didn't you do better and this, that, and the other. She'd say, Did you do your best? I'd say, Yes ma'am. Well, that's all that matters. If I got a bad grade, she wanted to know one thing, if I did my best, she was happy. Always a word of encouragement; never a word to discourage me.
And there is something about being an encourager. And I think of times when I would get discouraged in different reasons, but she always had a good word. And every single mother needs to be an encourager. You say, Well, you don't know my kids. I know this, I know the power of encouragement. Well, my husband doesn't appreciate me. I know the power of encouragement. There's something about encouraging. What it does, it sends a message, yes, you can. Yes, you will. I'm trusting you, I'm believing in you, I'm helping you, you can count on me. There's something about that that absolutely changes the whole atmosphere you're in.
Then I mention one last thing, and that is probably one of the most difficult things is to love unconditionally. That unconditional part puts it in a whole, different category. I had a step-father for a number of years. There wasn't anything about him that I loved, or liked, or wanted to have him around, but he was there. And I had to learn what it meant to love somebody that I didn't like, and my mother taught me that. By her own actions she taught me to love and forgive when I didn't even want to be forgiving. I didn't even want to be loving. I wanted to have nothing to do with it, but that wasn't the way life was. And finally, I think, Lord, how do I deal with this?
But one thing my mother always did, when I left home or if she had to leave before I left, she did the same thing. She always hugged me and told me, she says, remember mom loves you. She always hugged me. I can still feel it. She's been gone a long time, but I can still feel that hug. And her telling me, Remember, mom loves you. There's something about a hug. When somebody says, well, well, I love you, see you. If your husband, if you guys, if you tell your wife in the morning, Well, I'll see you this afternoon. See ya, mmmm-hmm and never hug her, never touch her, never express love to her. Shame on you. Every woman needs a touch, the right kind of touch, a godly touch. A touch that says I'm thinking about you, I love you, I appreciate you, I'm going to be looking forward to seeing you when I get back.
There isn't anything that a man can't give if he loves the mother of his children, loves his wife. There's something powerful about a touch. And every woman who loves her husband, her children, she'll tell you that. Something powerful about a touch. Not a sexual touch, a loving touch. Not that I want something, I just appreciate something. And I believe those ten qualities will make any woman a fantastic wife, and a fantastic mother. Well, thank you, moms, for being the mom you are, the wife you are, the mother you are, and may your kind increase. There's something awesomely powerful about a godly woman. A godly mother, amen?
And Father, how grateful we are, You can grant to every mother here, a sense of fulfillment. A sense of the feeling of being loved that goes beyond anything a man can do because You're God. And I pray that if there's any woman here, any mother here who is unsaved, that she would recognize how absolutely essential and important it is that she give her life to Christ and become a godly mother. She might be the first in her family, but Lord give her the courage. Give her the courage to make the most important decision in her life. That in order to become the woman she wants to be and the wife and mother she needs to be, she needs You. Make that crystal clear in her heart. And I pray that before she leaves this place this morning, she would whisper this prayer to You. Heavenly Father, forgive me for my neglect; forgive me for my sin. I ask You to forgive me for all my ways that are wayward. And I ask You to receive me as one of Your children. In Jesus's name, amen.