Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Satan’s Desire for Mothers

God has a plan and a design for women. So does Satan. God desires women to be grounded in the gospel and content in their role; as the one who created them, he knows the way he has created and the way that they are to be fulfilled. Satan wants to create the illusion of satisfaction and fulfillment in anything and everything other than God and his design.

Satan Desires Discontentment

Satan’s desire for mothers is the same as his desire for all women. He desires to create discontent in the roles that God has assigned. That is what Satan did in Eden, by approaching Eve first. And according to Paul (1 Tim 2.11-15), that is what Satan was doing in the early church in Ephesus. And you can rest assured that’s what he’s doing today.

God has designed women to be wives and mothers in order that they might reflect God himself, in whose image they are created. But Satan wants to create discontent with all of it so that the image of God is marred and belittled.

There are many ways Satan still works to create discontent in women — even Christian women — today. Here are two:

1. He says you’re too good for mothering

He tells women that the ideal is to get a degree, be a professional, and shatter the glass ceiling. The idea of being a wife and a mother is good for some or perhaps for a time, but the idea of being forever identified as a wife & mother is clearly not for you. The idea of letting a husband ‘lead you’ is so far beneath you it’s inconceivable, and having your identity be something bound up with your husband and your children is degrading.

When he creates this kind discontent, he has won. Just like in Eden, this rising up will result first in frustration, and ultimately in being brought low.

2. He says mothering is too good for you

Satan's lie: mothering should be one continuous string of 'mommy & me' moments

In recent days it seems that our culture has shifted somewhat. Gone are the days (seemingly) when mothering is bad and career is good. Now we have entered the days of ‘Super-Moms’, where mothering is not for the faint-of-heart.

Simply feeding your children is not enough. You have to make your own food, according to all latest health crazes, and you have to prepare them as ‘dishes’ like the chefs on TV. Just clothing your kids appropriate to the weather is not enough. You have to clothe your children just right so that they can be the appropriate fashion accessory for you.

Making sure your children are educated is not enough. You must choose carefully between classical education options, homeschool options and private school options; but you must find something that will make your child excel beyond the others.

Reacting to a generation of moms who were perhaps not involved enough, the pressure now is to engage your children in all manner of special activities from the time they are birthed. Yoga, painting, music, exercise, and who knows what else(!) all become ‘essential’ for good moms. Though previous generations knew nothing about these things, they are apparently now essential for a child’s brain development or emotional and relational health.

And whatever you do, if you are a good mom, you must make sure you get it all on camera so you can post the pictures on Facebook and the ideas on Pinterest to let everyone know you’re keeping up. Plus, you should probably earn some income (at the very least, open an Etsy shop) to prove you’re not inferior to the women around you who hold down jobs.

And on top of that you must make sure that your body looks the exact same as it did before having children so you can be a ‘yummy mummy’ like the real housewives of wherever.

Subtly, but powerfully, Satan communicates to women that all these are essential to good mothering. And when you can’t keep up, you get discouraged and discontent. And in that moment, Satan wins.

God’s Desire Is the Answer

So what is the answer to all these lies and temptations from Satan? That’s what I think Paul is getting at in 1 Tim 2.15; a way to be ‘saved’ through the temptations of Satan. (He argues similarly in 1 Tim 5.14-15 with regard to widows avoiding the temptations of Satan.)

1. Mothers must cling to the gospel too

Paul says, ‘she will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.’ The continuing in ‘faith and love’ is expressive of Paul’s own testimony (1 Tim 1.13-14). In other words, if mothers are to be content, they must do the same thing that the apostle Paul did: believe the gospel of love which has overflowed to them in the grace and mercy of God. Even more than being a mother, their foundational identity is ‘Christian,’ beloved of God in the gospel.

They must cling to this to be firmly grounded, immovable when Satan tempts them to discontentment.

2. Mothers must be content with their God-assigned role

When Paul says ‘childbearing’ in this verse he is using short-hand to refer to the whole role of ‘marrying, bearing children, managing the household’ (1 Tim 5.14). This role is to be the main occupation of the wife & mother; it is what she was created for. The one who created her desires her to be grounded in the gospel and content in this role in order to be delivered safely through Satan’s temptations.

Being content in this role is where the ‘holiness’ of 1 Tim 2.15 is found, through persistent ‘self-control.’

16 Comments

  1. Daniel J. Tymchuk

    17 May, 2012 at 9:18 am

    This is why I love my wife so much — because, thankfully, she is one of the most content (and grateful) persons in the world, though she still "struggles" with some of the challenges and "pulls by society and Satan" you mention in your blog. I try to support her as best I can, but there are many social/cultural pressures. I am grateful for who she is: for her independence, her committment to me as her husband, and to our children. I considered myself very luck and very blessed.

    • Julian

      17 May, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Your wife sounds like a great testimony to God's grace, Daniel! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I really appreciate what you're saying here. It's insightful and helpful to wives and mother's as they seek to stay out of the ditch on both sides of the road. There are a couple of things I would like to point out. The first is something that took me a long time to see and appreciate: The Lord in his sovereignty, complexity, and creativity has created some men and women to be single. Like the Apostle Paul, some are not called to be husbands and fathers, or wives and mothers. So lest Satan use the emphasis on wives and mothers to divide women even more, let us also encourage those who are not called to be wives and mothers to a grounding in the gospel.

    I loved the second temptation you pointed out and in my circles, I do see it being more prevalent than the first.

    • Julian

      17 May, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Luma, I couldn't agree more! The rest of the message (that isn't posted here) goes on to detail how, in the gospel, even those who are single or barren are never left family-less, but saved into the family of God, where we receive brothers and sisters and mothers 'a hundredfold' for the rest of this life, and into eternity to come.

      Thanks for the balance!

      • I'm not on Facebook, so thanks for the heads-up on that. I'm so grateful to hear it. For so long I was so wrapped up with the "high calling" of being a wife and mother that I neglected/forgot my single sisters in Christ. Shame on me.

        Thanks again for the discussion.

    • @Luma,

      I really appreciated a comment by Julian on Facebook regarding the issue of single Christians. He reminded us that Christians are called into a family and gain Mothers, Sisters and Brothers. That means the childless single woman can now embrace the role of Mother to dozens – even hundred – of younger Christians. The gospel redeems all things, and provides hope for all things -even in areas where in our own strength and perceived reality there is no hope.

      Update: Drat … as I "debated" with the IntenseDebate comment plugin Julian answered as well :)

  3. HappyWorkingMom

    18 May, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I appreciate what you are saying, but who says that women can't pursue development of their God given intelligence and have a family? I love my children, but I was a miserable SAHM. I believe it is the hardest job in the world and I was so lonely and depressed. Thankfully, my husband was able to run his business and look after the children when they were small. Now that they are in school full-time, why would I want to stay at home and look after an empty house? I totally appreciate your point, but it only seems to take into account parents with very small children at home.

    I don't believe that God would have given me a desire for learning and higher education (I have a master's degree) and then expect me to do nothing with that. I am not saying that parents who stay at home aren't intelligent, but one size doesn't fit all.

    • I think it's possible for Moms to work and take care of a family but even before Adam and Eve sinned (before sin entered the world) women were to make sure that their household was taken care of above all else. Kudos to the moms who can have an organized home and still work. I just think God's desire is for women to care for the families first and foremost. Even in Proverbs 31 she buys a field and tends to it (bringing income into her home). That is biblical. So etsy and other business (in my opinion are biblical if that suits your personality.) But I think one must ask the question… Is my family my first priority?

  4. Where can the entire article be found? I gather this is only part of a longer one. Please advise. Thanks!!

  5. I was a happy stay-at-home Mum of 4 children but when they were all at school the expectation from church folk and broader society was that I would return to work. The culture of this is very strong so much so that if you don't find outside-of-the-home work then something is wrong. It seems the pendulum has to swing widely one way or another in community attitudes!
    This teaching is fine but there are many reasons and circumstances that dictate a woman's choices. It seems to me though, that financial considerations are the most pressing. We baby boomers were the lucky ones who had real choices. Now the mortgage burden decides for the young Mums.
    Just encourage them as much as you can.

  6. Hi Julian,

    You said: "And whatever you do, if you are a good mom, you must make sure you get it all on camera so you can post the pictures on Facebook and the ideas on Pinterest to let everyone know you’re keeping up. Plus, you should probably earn some income (at the very least, open an Etsy shop) to prove you’re not inferior to the women around you who hold down jobs."

    I understand the point of the satire here. But would you agree that your satire does not capture the motives of women who do share such things? It seems to me that this is dangerously close to imputing evil motives to women without adequate evidence. The concern that I have is that, especially since Challies quoted this, this serves well as fuel for mothers to despise other mothers. Is this valid? If you think I misunderstand, please let me know. Thanks.

    • Julian

      29 May, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. The last thing I want to do is encourage anyone to despise another. But I would want to be a little more nuanced here. To be certain, some of the mothers (and not just mothers, but pastors as well, and anyone else really, but this post was about mothers) post all the things that they do out of bad motives, whether they've realized it or not. The motivations of the heart run deeper than we often take the time to consider (Gen 6.5). We do well to consider our motives, though, because if in posting the things we do we actually discourage others in their God-assigned role, we have ceased walking in love.

      That said, my wife is on Pinterest, I'm on Twitter, and we're both on Facebook, so I don't think the platforms themselves are necessarily evil or that posting on them is necessarily sin. Nor do I want to suggest that she and I and have figured out a way to 'do' social media in a way that is only ever always helpful to everyone. I just think there are a lot of temptations inherent in social media that we often never even consider. And it's always important to put others before self…. even online.

  7. If this is all so, why did Paul say that it is better not to be married? Women being "created to be mothers" is nonsense; women are subjugate to God, but God may call them to do different things. It's like saying "All men are meant to hold down jobs in physical labor because their shoulders are wider."

    To say what you say is to say, for instance, that Andrea Merkel, leader of one of the only solvent countries in Europe, is a homewrecker, or that the Queen's head on the penny is a neglect of feminine duty, when her line by and large footed the defence of Europe, or that Catharine Marshall, arguably one of the most emotionally intelligent writers of the Christian faith, is a failure for not having six children, or that Amy Carmichael was a cold fish because she never married. On and on it goes. It's dangerous to confuse basic principles of life with theological truth.

    The rules change when women are married, and that's it; Paul uses the same tone of voice because the gospel is essentially emancipating; he states what he states to women after telling the men to not attempt to overthrow Caesar. Men were and are the Caesar in the lives of most women, especially then. Remember Lydia was not mentioned as a mother but as a dealer in purple cloth — literally a fashion maven. If a woman does not want to serve a man, she should not marry him.

    The first thing a living Christian faith recommends itself to is military violence and rebellion: fearless of death, servants and heirs to the most high God, with God as their witness and protector. This is what Paul was speaking to. Women being "saved through childbearing" literally means that they will be able to make good in their married state instead of being mere slaves of men. All points beyond this are secondary facets of natural law and basic principles of live on earth — not theology. To say it's "Satan's desire" is to ignore reality, and that reality states "Do not judge someone else's servant unless you want to be judged yourself."
    http://www.thequestionoferos.wordpress.com

  8. Great post. I've never been a believer in institutions for our children (daycares).

Comments are closed.

© 2014 Julian Freeman

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑