July 17, 2023
Have you ever read Philip Keller’s, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23? This book, written from the perspective of an actual shepherd, sheds light on the tender love that God has for His beloved sheep. Philip Keller invites his readers to see Psalm 23 through the eyes of a real shepherd, and by understanding the nature and involvement of shepherding, the readers’ comprehension of God’s shepherding care for His people broadens.
Although I would not recommend studying God’s Word through any self-made glasses, I do find studying passages of scripture with a certain emphasis or angle of focus to be helpful. So in similar fashion to A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 I would like to peer intently into Philippians 4:4-7 from the perspective of a mother. This timeless passage has quieted many a heart and been a stabilizing rock for many a troubled soul, and we as mothers need this passage of scripture desperately.
If you are anything like me, I often struggle to take simple truths from God’s Word and distill them into my daily life. Sometimes I feel like the principles of God’s Word are too special and beyond the reach of the nit and grit of daily life, almost like the fine china in our cupboards, too special to pull out for a weekday lunch. Though God’s Word is a treasure beyond compare, it is not too delicate to help us with our daily, raw struggles; in fact, it is tough enough to deal with any issue!
Recently, God brought to my mind Philippians 4:4-7 through the lenses of motherhood and homemaking. It was as if I saw this passage from a fresh perspective, and God showed me how this passage applied to me right now in my daily struggles of mothering and trying to keep the house out of disaster status.
God showed me that nothing is beyond the reach of His Word and that His Word can help me in every setting including my home, the scene of my daily life. My anxious cares about my home are not too small for God. The daily weariness of training children is not beyond God’s wisdom and grace. The responsibility of educating my children is not beyond God’s power.
So how can we as mothers really grab onto Philippians 4:4-7 and “use” this passage in our daily lives? Though I do not claim an exhaustive approach to these verses, I hope that some of the following thoughts will bless your heart. Most importantly, I hope that God’s Word will bless your heart!
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
No circumstance in our homes can or should keep us from rejoicing in the Lord. Our daily lives do not have to be perfect before we rejoice in the Lord, and in fact, we must learn to rejoice in the Lord despite our circumstances.
I used to think that in order for me to enjoy my life as a homemaker and primary caregiver to my children, every circumstance had to be perfect! The kids had to be obedient, nothing could break, nothing could run out, everything had to be in its place, and my house had to be stylishly decorated. A pipe dream, right?
God has been teaching me to rejoice in spite of the trials and daily struggles. God’s goodness stands distinct from all of the trials of this life; in other words, God is good no matter is happening in my life! God’s goodness stands separate from my life circumstances.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Moderation is gentleness. Our children are human beings, and we should be treating them with gentleness. The Lord is watching how we treat our children. I fear that many mothers forget the fact of God’s watchful presence and treat their children in such a way that they would not dare in front of others.
God’s presence reminds me to behave myself. God’s presence reminds me that He is always watching and that I need to treat my children with respect and kindness.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
God doesn’t want us to worry about anything! That includes where in the world am I going to put the new toys. That includes how am I ever going to finish my tasks. That includes relationship struggles. That includes financial struggles. That includes church/ministry struggles. That includes physical needs and complete weariness.
God wants us to come to Him in humble prayer. I am finally learning that God just wants to hear me talk to Him about my struggles. It doesn’t have to be a lofty prayer. No, all He wants is for me, in childlike fashion, to hold out my burdens, like a broken toy, and lay them at His feet for Him to deal with and fix. I picture myself holding out my hands and saying, “Lord, this struggle is too big for me. I lay the struggle/person at your feet. Please deal with the situation/person according to Your will.”
God always wants to hear us thank Him. Imagine if your children never thanked you for anything you did. How would you feel? God wants to hear us praise Him for His goodness! Once I have laid my requests before God and praised Him for what He has done for me, I can rest. There is nothing more I need do.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
God’s peace is sufficient. God’s peace can keep and hold us when our lives feel out of control. God doesn’t promise to change our circumstances, but He promises to give us peace in the midst of storms when we rest in Him and humbly praise Him.
Peace is “a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable…to the temper of the mind” (Websters 1828 Dictionary). God promises us a steady state of mind, undisturbed by surroundings, when we center our minds and hearts on Him.
God’s peace goes beyond anything that we can understand. This peace from God is what allows believers who are going through crushing trials to trust Him and still walk day by day with Him. God’s peace literally guards and protects our hearts, “the innermost recesses of [your] beings,” and our minds, “your thinking” (Dr. James Qurollo, Notes on Philippians, pages 98).
In no way have I plumbed the depths of these verses, but the more these verses seep into my heart through meditation, I begin to understand a little more of my great God and just how much He longs to help me. These verses have become some of my “best friends” and have comforted me through a variety of trials and worries.
Mama, what is troubling you? Are you able to rejoice? If not, bring your burdens to God. Even if the situation does not change, just talking to God in a humble way will lift your heart and focus your gaze on Him.
Friend, I realize that not every reader has motherhood in her daily life, but these precious verses are for YOU, too! How can God use these verses in your life? How can these verses calm your thinking and focus your mind on God?
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