The epitome of love is God. John tells us in 1 John 4:8, “…God is love.” Love is the greatest command— “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). I believe that love is the most challenging command God has given to us. Love, or the lack of love, is the basis of all of our actions. Paul told us that love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10, Galatians 5:14). God demonstrated the fulfillment of this law by coming in the flesh and dying on the cross to save us from our sins.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” –1 John 4:9-10
The message of the Bible is the same from Genesis to Revelation— LOVE!— God’s love for us (John 3:16), our choice to love God (Joshua 24:15, Mark 12:30), and God’s command for us to love one another (2 John 1:5). Love is the foundation that life is built upon. Love— specifically God’s love— is what we need to have as mothers, and we need to be instilling it everyday into the hearts of our children.
The world’s view of love and the Bible’s view of love are two very different things. The world would have us to believe that love is a very natural and instinctual feeling. This may be true in one sense, but in the truest sense of the word, love is an action, not a feeling. The world would especially have us to believe a mother’s love is very natural. However, we see this is contrary to biblical teaching. Paul instructed Titus to instruct the older women to “…train the young women to love their husbands and children,” (Titus 2:4). Why would they need to be trained if love comes so naturally? Don’t we instinctively love our husbands and our children? What then is this training we need to receive as wives and mothers from the older women?
The love we need to have as wives and mothers is really no different than the love we are all to have for one another. Honestly, it is the love we read about in 1st Corinthians 13. However, as wives and mothers, we learn to love in a new way— a much deeper way. The love we have for our husbands and our children is a daily, never-ending, can’t give-up-and-walk-away-when-things-get-tough love. The love we have as wives is the love God commands to submit to our husbands, as to Him (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18). The love we have as mothers is the love that does not discourage our children (Colossians 3:21), but rather teaches them all day long to love God (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Let’s look at how a mother’s love is defined according to 1st Corinthians 13.
A mother’s love:
- is patient: She answers a million questions a day— why, what time is it, is it time to go, how ‘bout now, do I have to, what’s for breakfast, what’s for lunch, what’s for supper, when will dad be home and the list could go on and on and on…
- is kind: She speaks softly and gently when giving instructions, tenderly bandages the wounds, and takes the time to listen to her children’s stories.
- does not envy: She is not jealous of her children’s accomplishments or time with their father.
- does not boast: She does not bring up all the ways she has cared for her children or all the things she has bought for them or given to them.
- is not arrogant: She does not act as if her children would be nothing without her. Rather, she teaches them to be self-sufficient and independent.
- is not rude: She is not short with her children but shows them respect.
- does not insist on its own way: She understands there are numerous ways to do things, and she shows her children several options, allowing them to choose the way they prefer to do something.
- is not irritable: She does not become angry easily; she remains calm and patient.
- is not resentful: Her thoughts toward her family remain positive and happy, despite how tired she may be after a long day of caring for everyone.
- does not rejoice in wrongdoing: She is not happy when her children do wrong, and she takes immediate action to correct it (Proverbs 13:24).
- rejoices with the truth: She always praises her children for being honest.
- bears all things: She has the strength to carry her family through the most challenging times.
- believes all things: She trusts her children unless they have broken her trust with dishonesty.
- hopes all things: She has big dreams for her children’s future and encourages them to take chances and chase their dreams.
- endures all things: She will stand by her children no matter what struggles or trials they may face.
- never ends: A mother’s love is never failing, especially when she loves like God has instructed and demonstrated.
The world may claim that love is a feeling that comes naturally. However, speaking from experience, love is something we must strive to perfect everyday. Love is an action requiring self-control and selfless actions. Why did Paul instruct Titus to tell the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children? Because he knew it was not an instinct. He knew love is work, and to love like a wife and mother should love takes wisdom and instruction. Godly love takes a lifetime to achieve, and even then no one will ever fully arrive at completely loving like God would have us to. Regardless, we all need to constantly strive to grow in our love for our husbands, our children, and each other.
A mother’s love is very special. Even the world recognizes the unique bond between a mother and a child. However, the bond becomes deeper and even more unique and special, when we as mothers love our children in a 1st Corinthians 13 way. Love like God expects, and God will bless and strengthen your families.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13