A Jesus-Heart for Children, Part 3
We have been looking at Biblical womanhood, and specifically what our attitude toward children should be. So far in this last section on children, we’ve covered the following:
- This is not just for moms, but all of us should have a correct attitude toward these little ones, modeled after that of Christ’s.
- How do we follow Jesus specifically as moms.
I could have ended there and that would be great. But I have often found that there are 2 specific topics that come up a lot as I meet with young women and felt were worth tackling: birth control and child care.
These are sensitive topics for sure, controversial even, and there are many factors that play into every individual’s decision. But too often, these decisions are made from attitudes and motives that have been shaped by our culture. And since it is so normal, we often don't even notice.
So as we start, let me clarify my goal. I am not trying to create a set of rules, but rather give you a Biblical grid through which to see these issues and the tools to discern the motives of your heart. God is much more concerned about our motives than our actions anyway.
In the first part of this series I established that the Bible only gives us one way to view children: as blessings. This grates against the general attitude of our culture, which operates from the general assumption that children are an inconvenience. Take a minute to read that post if you haven’t yet as it will be a base line for much of what is said here.
The birth control industry’s main forerunner was Margret Sanger, the same woman who started planned parenthood. Abortion and birth control have always gone hand in hand. This is an industry that has built its foundation on the belief that children are an inconvenience. So, as Christians, we need to make sure our thoughts about this topic are informed by the Bible, not be culture, tradition, or upbringing.
Often, when people hear “birth control,” they think of the hormonal birth control pills (or “the pill”). This is not what I mean. I am defining birth control as the general category for any action used to prevent pregnancy while being sexually active.
So what is the place of birth control in the married Christian’s life?
Nowhere in the Bible is the desire to prevent pregnancy forbid, so I do not think we have the right to say that it is wrong to prevent pregnancy. We should never make laws where God has not made them. The issue here is not if you should use birth control as much as it is why do you use birth control. Over and over again in the Bible God shows great concern for the motives of His people's hearts. So it's worth our time to discern our own.
If you are using, or considering using some kind of birth control, you need to ask the question: Why am I trying to prevent pregnancy? If your answer to that question is not founded in Biblical truth and a heart of faith in that truth, you need to rethink your usage of birth control.
Too often, the main reasons I hear for using birth control are shaped by the world not the Bible. For example:
- A belief that children are an inconvenience to life and even ministry
- A desire to be in control
- Selfishness: I want to live life my way and don’t want to be responsible for a little person
Like every decision in our lives, God calls us to be radically motivated for His Kingdom and His glory in everything we do. (1 Cor 10:31). Is your decision to use birth control about God’s glory and His Kingdom? If not, you might reconsider if it is right for you to prevent pregnancy.
Remember: one of the purposes of marriage is to be fruitful and multiply; to raise up the next generation to know and love God! It’s one thing if God has not yet allowed you to become pregnant, it’s another to choose not to have children just to live the way you want to. There is no greater ministry on this planet than raising up the next generation to know God.
ABORTIVE BIRTH CONTROL
If you come to decide, because of God-glorifying reasons, to use birth control, that doesn’t mean you should use any form of birth control. There are several kinds of birth control that are morally unacceptable. They are abortive: actively killing any fertilized eggs within your body. As Jesus-followers, we have an obligation to fight to protect life from conception. And as women, it is our job to be ready to receive and nurture life from the moment it is given to us.
I don’t plan to go into the details of all the different kinds of birth control out there. I only hope to remind you that it is our responsibility, in a culture that willingly murders innocent unborn children, to make sure we are protecting all life that is within our power to protect. And that includes life that might be within our very bodies.
Therefore, the only birth control methods available to us are ones that prevent conception. For more information on birth control in the life of a Christian, here are some of my favorite resources:
What place does childcare have in the life of a believer? This might be daycare, a nanny, a babysitter or family member. Just like with birth control, we must first consider the motives of our heart. Are your decisions in this area shaped by the faith in the truth that children are a blessing? Or a belief that children are an inconvenience? Do you believe that a ministry or career is more important than raising up the next generation? Asking ourselves why we do something is the best gauge to know if we should do it.
Please hear me that I believe every mom will be greatly benefited by some time away from her kids, especially when they are very young. Getting away to be refreshed and ready to jump back into raising up the next generation is a great thing! Not only that, moms who are married need time away from their kids to be a blessing and support to their husbands as our marriages should be prioritized before our children. We are not our children's saviors, and they can be greatly benefited by other people pouring into their lives as well.
But we live in a culture that does not prefer to be around children. It is often normal to delegate parenting responsibilities to others (nannies, daycares, etc) just because it is easier, or because something else seems more enjoyable. It is this attitude that I hope to challenge.
If you have children, there is no greater impact that you will leave on this planet than your influence on your kids. For better or for worse, they will be your greatest legacy. So choose wisely and strategically who you allow to pour into them and how often someone else will care for them.
The issue of childcare will vary greatly in every season of life and will depend on so many factors, but let us not be like the world in thinking children get in the way of bigger and better things. They are the bigger and better thing! If we raise them well, if we disciple them, if we pour into them, they will be a mighty force for the Kingdom of God long after we’re gone. Children are worth are time, energy, and effort.
BE AN ADVOCATE FOR CHILDREN
Whether or not you are a mom, be an advocate for kids. Encourage the moms around you that what they do matters, remind them that children are a blessing and a strategic weapon in the Kingdom of God. When you babysit for families, work in the church nursery, or interact with your nephews, engage those kids! Pray for them! Ask God to save them, to make them mighty men and women of faith, who will one day change the world in the name of Jesus! Maybe you can volunteer at your local crisis pregnancy center and encourage fearful pregnant women that motherhood is worth it! Pray for the children in your life and follow in the steps of Jesus who took the time to engage them and bless them.