4 Min Read

“Love them,” our wise pastor advised me. In all my reading about discipline, schedules and developmental stages, he pointed this new mom to what mattered most: love (1 Cor. 13:1). Over the decades, I have come to appreciate the wisdom of his advice. While keeping love at forefront, I offer moms twelve biblical principles on holiness.

1. Our holiness is God’s priority.

As Scottish pastor Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813–1843) was known to have said, “My people’s greatest need is for my personal holiness.” The same is true for moms. We can humbly live in such a way that we can say to our children, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Through this pursuit, our children will learn more than we know.

2. Our holiness is in Christ alone.

When we sin, as we all do (Rom. 3:23, 1 John 1:8), we can also set an example of repentance. When you sin against your kids, ask your kids to forgive you. Don’t be like our first parents and hide your sin as if it were not there (Gen. 3:7–8). Teach your kids how to deal with their own sin by the way you deal with yours. As you confess your sin, your children will learn that God not only cares about our holiness, but He also provides the way to holiness through trusting Christ in the gospel (1 John 1:9).

3. Serving our children is a holy calling.

We may be tempted to think that there is something more valuable than changing a diaper, waiting at a checkout line, or playing a game with our toddler or teenager. Many parenting tasks are mundane, but when done in faith, they are glorious! When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He dignified humble service. What’s more, He said that whatever you did to the least of these, you did to Me (Matt. 25:40). Let us humbly serve our children a cup of cold water in His name (Matt. 10:42), knowing that this loving care reflects God’s care for His children (Matt. 7:9–11).

4. Our children belong to God.

They belong to Him first (Eph. 1:4). He is their heavenly Creator. He made them for His purposes, not our own. Parents are stewards called to point our children to their greatest need (Heb. 12:5–11). This means that we must always submit our plans for our children to God’s plan (Prov. 16:9)._ _God chooses where they will live (Acts 17:26), the good they will do (Eph. 2:10), and the course of their lives (Ps. 139:16).

5. God uses suffering for His holy purpose.

God even chooses suffering for our children. God is a good Father, who does not allow suffering without providing relief (Isa. 41:10; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Peter 4:19; Rev. 21:4). Naturally, our hearts break when we see our children suffer. But in His holy and wise providence, God gives our children trials to conform them (and us) to the character of His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). With this good purpose in view, we are called to rejoice in suffering, and over time, teach our children to as well (James 1:2–4).

6. Holiness requires discipline.

God disciplines those He loves and so should we (Heb. 12:6, Prov. 13:24, 23:13). No one, including moms, likes discipline at the time, but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those trained by it (Heb. 12:11). Pray for wisdom to discipline your children well and fully expect God to give it (James 1:5, 1 John 5:14–15).

7. Holiness requires God’s vision.

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). When our children misbehave, we may be tempted to judge by appearances. The Bible cautions us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19) and tells us, “The ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Prov. 18:15). Sometimes we need to hold back from immediate discipline. In some cases, we should seek greater understanding first so that we can address the heart accurately (Prov. 14:29).

8. Holiness is a gift from God.

Sometimes we do not have because we do not ask God (James 4:2–3). Ask God for holiness for your children—along with every other good and perfect gift: love for His Word, a teachable heart, wisdom, health, friends, and more (James 1:17). Look past what you can give from your resources to what God can give from His (Matt. 14:13–21).

9. God gives children a holy promise.

“Honor your father and mother . . . that it may go well with you” (see Eph. 6:1–4). Set an example of honoring their father and all their authorities. Seek to settle disagreements in private and to be united in raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Col. 3:18–25). If you must disagree in front of your children, do so respectfully (Eph. 6:33).

10. God is always at His holy work (John 5:17).

Pray to see God’s work in your children’s lives, thank Him for it, and point it out to them. A godly mom builds up her house (Prov. 14:1). Don’t wait for “perfection” before giving praise. God doesn’t! He commended many imperfect people in the Bible. Point your kids to God’s faithful work in their lives.

11. Jesus is our holy peace.

Jesus assures us: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Expect trouble as a mom, but don’t despair; God is with you. Be strong and courageous as you take hold of the covenant promises God has for your children as you labor to consistently set God’s Word and Lord’s Day worship with God’s people before them (Josh. 1:9).

12. God’s holy Word is sufficient (2 Tim. 3:14–15).

Stay and pray in the Word and you will find many more truths to help you be a godly mom (John 17:17). As you study who God is and what He has done, the Holy Spirit will show you just what you need as a mom so that you can say with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).