The word for “love” in this passage is Phileo. Phileo is warm, affectionate love. This is truly enjoying and taking pleasure in the relationship. In Psalm 127 above we are reminded that children are a blessing and reward.
When we forget the truths of God’s Word that children are a blessing or a reward our task can become overwhelming.
We need to learn how to love our children with a tender, affectionate love. We feel it when that beautiful, sweet, newborn is put into our arms for the very first time. But all children come with a sinful nature. We don’t need to teach our children how to lie, throw a tantrum, be selfish and demand their own way and all the other examples that are going through your mind as you are reading this. How quickly our tender feelings can dissipate during those moments. Where are all those tender feelings we say we have for our children at those moments? Sin would be the reason – it quickly takes away those tender feelings of Phileo love.
There is no greater profession that requires great sacrifice and servanthood than that of being a mother. This is a primary factor in why selfishness is one of primary sinful responses.
“No job on earth takes more physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual strength then being a good wife and mother. If a gal’s looking for the easy life, she might try teaching tennis, cutting diamonds, or joining a roller derby team. There is nothing easy about good mothering. It can be backbreaking, heart wrenching, and anxiety producing. And that’s just the morning” ~Stephen Bly
Jesus, our husband, and our children – there should be no one we prize more than them. It should be evident in our speech, attitude, and behavior. Do our children feel prized by us? Do I regularly communicate to my children how important and special they are to me. When I speak of them to others do I do so in a respectful and loving way? Or do they hear me at times enumerate their faults to other people when I’m speaking about them.
When they approach me do they get my full attention and interest or do they feel like an interruption. Do I make spending time with them a regular priority in my life?
Do I cherish them – cherish means – to hold dear, care for tenderly, nurture.
What makes them feel cherished?
Faithful intercession – who else can pray for them more intelligently and with more compassion? And how meaningful to our children to know they have a praying mother.
Sympathetic and understanding – to comfort them, calm their fears, understand them when they are hurting, encourage them when they are discouraged. No one can replace the tender sympathetic love of a mother. I have to watch myself here because mercy is not my strength and I don’t like to feel like I am “babying” them so I need to pray and show mercy where it is needed with my children.
Be an attentive listener – Do I give them my full attention? Do I respond graciously and maintain interest when I’d rather be doing something else or even when I know what they are going to say before they say it. I need to show true interest in their thoughts, fears, dreams etc. This is an area for me that I am continuing to work on and grow in even though my children are older.
Enthusiastic encouragement – We need to be consistently encouraging them with evidences of grace that we observe in their lives. Encouragement has such a powerful effect it motivates them to grow still more.
Physical affection and verbal expressions of love. Frequent hugs, appropriate touching and verbal communication of our love for one another should be happening all the time in our homes. We kiss each other and say I love you before we go to bed and before we leave to go anywhere. There should be a warmth and tenderness in our homes with our families that radiates to others.
How do we need to grow in cherishing our children?
We need to enjoy them. Are we thoroughly enjoying our children right now? Or are we looking forward to when they are older or will outgrow this present phase? Do we take pleasure in our children’s in their unique strengths? Do we delight in motherhood?
“We need to repent of our sin for not loving our children. Spend some time in repentance and read God’s Word and reading books about motherhood. You may be depleted and need fresh vision and perspective in regards to your role as a mom. Find a way to be alone for a few hours and study God’s Word as your role as a mother. If you are not enjoying your children, if you’re lacking joy as a mother, may I appeal to you to take whatever measures necessary to change. Repent and find a mature woman who enjoys her role as a mother to encourage you and hold you accountable to this period of your life.”
Be more aware of the joys instead of the difficulties of the season.
Every stage of motherhood has its joys and its difficulties. Let’s not be so aware of the sacrifices, so concerned with all the difficulties that we miss the joys. Stop and consider all the joys that this present season holds and take full pleasure. Take the time to enjoy them right now at this season of their lives.
God’s grace is sufficient, moms. If we missed opportunities to show this tender affectionate love to our children today or if we are feeling like we have failed as a mother – know that His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every day. Look to the cross where there is forgiveness for your sins and His strength is there to help you grow in godliness. Rely on His Spirit to love your children with a tender affectionate love daily. Where we are weak – He is strong.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.Titus 2:3-5