008 Motherhood + Imitation

In this season premier, Pam discusses motherhood + imitation. A call from Ephesians 5 to be imitators of Christ, in such a way that our children will imitate. Pam references a study by Lifeway Resources in 2017. The study revealed that the most important predictor of young adults spiritual health was they read or were read the bible in childhood. Scripture reference from the podcast:

  • Ephesians 5: 1-14 NLT
  • Proverbs 6:20
  • Ephesians 6:4


Pam Bailey [Intro]: Welcome to the Soul Sister podcast with Pam Bailey. Grab a cup of coffee, sister and let sit and chat about all of the things that lead us to a Christ centered life, full of purpose and joy.

Pam Bailey: Hi friends. Welcome to season two of The Soul Sisters with Pam Bailey podcast. I am your host Pam and I am so excited that you are here with me today. It is going to be a great season. I have eight episodes lined up to discuss all the facets of motherhood. So, no matter what season of motherhood you find yourself in, be it, you just have delivered your brand-new newborn or you already have grandkids. I think that you will find that these conversations that you can pull something from each of them. So, let’s jump in to today’s topic. I want to talk about motherhood and imitation, specifically imitation of your life in Christ. In 2017, Lifeway Resources produced a study of the best indicators of spiritual health in young adults. And so, what Lifeway did, is it polled, I don’t know. I think it was like 2000 young adults who stated that they had healthy flourishing relationships in Christ at that age.

And the study went into depth to look at what were some common denominators in their childhood experience that led to possibly them having a healthy, flourishing young adult relationship with Christ. I want to look at the top three spiritual indicators that are predictors that these young people had in common. The first one overwhelmingly, the first one was that the child regularly read the Bible while growing up or the child had the Bible read to them. Number two, the child regularly spent time in prayer. And number three, the child regularly served in church while growing up. So first three, this is what we have here. The child regularly read the Bible, spent time in prayer and served in church. Those were the top three predictors of spiritual health in young adults. While I could go into lots of different psychological and statistical things about research studies, I think for the most part that this study is onto something that we need to have conversations about as parents and as mothers. Parent’s behaviors, according to this study is also related to their adult children spiritual health young adults had higher spiritual health scores if they grew up with parents who spent time doing the following, let me read you these. Reading the Bible several times a week. Taking part in a service project or church mission trip as a family. Sharing their faith with unbelievers. Encouraging teenagers to serve in church. Asking forgiveness when they messed up as a parent. Encouraging their children’s unique talents and interest. Taking annual family vacations. Attending churches with teaching that emphasized what the Bible says. And the last one was teaching their children to tithe. Now I want to start today’s discussion about being imitators of Christ and how that has a direct impact in our kids’ lives. If you have followed me for any time at all, you know that I cannot simply have a discussion about anything without reviewing some biblical texts.

So, I want to jump right into Ephesians 5 and there’s about 14 verses there that I just want to read for the sake of our discussion. Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are his dear children live a life filled with love following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk and coarse jokes, these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral impure or greedy person will inherit the kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.

Don’t participate in the things these people do, for once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So, live as people of light for this light within you produces only what is good and right, and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness instead expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret, but their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them for the light makes everything visible. This is why it has said “awake O sleeper rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” That was Ephesians chapter 5 verses 1 through 14. And if you have that cute little section heading in your Bible, notice that it says imitators of God. And so, my sisters, that’s what you and I have been called to do to be imitators of God.

And the beautiful thing about motherhood is that when we follow that plan of imitating Christ, that falls down into our children and they see that and they imitate that for their own lives. I think one of the biggest concerns that I know I have as a mother, and I know other sisters have said this to me is… Pam, what am I going to do? If my children don’t follow Christ at some point in life? And I understand that concern and I understand that deep worry in the heart, essentially all of our children belong to the Lord. And so, Christ has given us a pattern of how to live life and we do that. But God has also given us some incredible instruction about our kids. And so, while there is no guarantee that any of them will in fact follow Christ, I believe that when we follow the pattern of God, that there are some great things that can take place in our children’s hearts and through heartfelt prayer and dedication to their upbringing, then yes, we will have children that will also want to be imitators of God.

Let’s look at a few scriptures today. The first one that pops out for me is Proverbs six 20. And this one specifically says something for the mothers. This proverb is written for children, but it says, my son keep your father’s commandment and forsake, not your mother’s teaching. And the word that’s being used there for sake, not your mother’s teaching is the Torah, the law. And so, keep in mind that this is Proverbs. So, this is specifically looking at Old Testament teaching, but here this wisdom scripture says, forsake, not your mother’s teaching. And so, for me as a mom, I read that and I see that not only do my kids not need to forsake the teaching that I provide them, but that I need to actually provide that to them. And so, when you go back and you look at that Lifeway study that was done, the number one predictor of spiritual health and young adults was the child regularly read the Bible while growing up. And so, friends let’s be real, like when I give birth to my baby, they can’t read in that moment. And it is well until they’re like their eighth or ninth year that they’re actually able to fluidly read the Bible. And even then, there’s just so much verbiage and words that are like, what is it talking about? Let’s be real. We ourselves, as adults still struggle with some of what is being said in the word.

But it is my job as a mother to teach God’s word to my children. If the number one predictor of a young adult spiritual health is that they regularly read the word as a child then to me that is just confirmation of what Proverbs is telling us here. Number one, it’s telling the child not to forsake what the mother has done, but the child, that cannot even become a possibility for the child, unless the mother has taught the word of God. And how do you teach the word of God? Just read it. And when we go back into Ephesians 5 and it says to be imitators, I have to do that for myself. I have to be regularly invested in reading God’s word for my children to see that, to be exposed to it and then for them to want to imitate that for their own life. I also think about the scripture that is in Ephesians 6:4 goodness. Ephesians is such a good book. But when we look at Ephesians 6:4, it says fathers do not provoke your children anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. And some would say, hold up, Pam. Let’s not go with that scripture because this is a Motherhood series and right now you just said, fathers. I totally get that. Like this was an instruction set up for fathers, but there is something really key in this scripture that goes along with other commandments that we see for mothers, for fathers and for parents altogether. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We have two words there, discipline and instruction. And when you look at the Greek of those words, Paideia and [unclear] we find that they together sort of mean the same thing when you put it all together. I’m going to read you a commentary definition of what that looks like, the whole training and education of children, which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals and employees for this purpose now commands and admonitions now reprove and punishment. It also includes the training and care of the body. Friends, I just said a lot right there, the whole training and education of children, and it’s going to relate to the cultivation of mind and morals.

Now you and I know that morality preaching is only a smidgen of what Jesus was teaching. When we look at the whole gospel, we get more reality from that. We are not in the place to preach morality. So, hope you can see the balance of that. When I am imitating Christ, I live a life of Christ. I am Romans 12, renewing my mind so that I may test the will of God. His perfect acceptable pleasing will of God. I do that on a continual basis. Then morality is going to be birthed in me and it’s going to continue to grow true. Morality comes from God. I do want to raise sons that one, not only love Christ, but they are moral in their thinking and in their actions of humanity and the world but more than anything, I want my sons to love Christ.

I want my sons to understand what the good news and the gospel is. That me dead in my trespasses, dead in my sin, fully deserving the wrath of God have been given a savior. Jesus, who said, I will be the ultimate sacrifice, and I will be the payment for your sins so that you can walk in the freedom so that you can have righteousness so that you can be forgiven, so that you can have eternal life. That is what I want my sons to know from childhood through eternity. I want that to be wrapped around their neck, as the proverb keeps going on, that it’s tied around them that is written on their hearts. Like I want that to be so embedded in their thinking of everything. That’s my desire as a mother, but that has to start with the discipline and instruction of the Lord. It has to start with a mother’s teaching of God’s word. And so, this is not a message that says, oh, dads have no responsibility here. I think you ladies know me enough to know that this is definitely a team effort and the fathers have a huge role to play with this.

But for my single moms, sisters, you’ve got this, like you have got this and I don’t want you to get so stuck on the fact that you are a single mom, however that came about, but that God himself is with you. And he’s walking with you and he sees you. And he says, mom, take my hand. Let’s do this good news together and make sure that your kids know the good news. For those of you who regularly follow me, you know, that I cannot escape using the scriptures. Literally for every single podcast, it comes up, but the word of God is alive and active. And when I look back at that Lifeway resource study that was done, the number one predictor of spiritual health was the child reading the Bible regularly. And then the number one thing that helped the children was that they saw some things that their parents did. The number one thing was that their parents read the Bible several times a week. And so, you and I have to be in a routine, a healthy, biblical routine of God’s word, taking precedents in our home. Not only do we need to take part and reading it for ourselves, but we also need to make sure that our kids are reading it or that they’re being read the word of God on a regular and consistent basis. And of course, because we know that God’s word is alive and active, then it consistently grows in all of us as we grow and mature, whether it’s physically from infancy into adulthood or it’s spiritually from spiritual infancy into spiritual adulthood, God’s word is constantly coming alive for each of us in its own special way. And the holy spirit is illuminating that word in his own special way so that it changes us from the inside out. But we have to be imitators of Christ.

And so, mothers, I want you to have some thoughts this week about imitating Christ and also living a life that allows your kids to see what truly imitating looks like. If there’s anything that you want your kids to take away from, you of a life that was imitated. I pray that it’s, that they can see your time with God, that’s the thing that they take away. Friends Pam is so far from perfect. And you’ve often heard me share that in context of motherhood, especially, oh goodness. If sometimes Pam just does not yell a little bit too much and sisters, that’s not the thing that I want my boys to walk away imitating for me in this life. Out of all the things that I could give them, my imperfections are not what I want them to show the rest of the world. And not that I really even have many perfections but what I want them to imitate is that they see a mother who is passionate about God’s spoken word and passionate about prayer and passionate about spending time with the father. And that those are the things that they want to imitate. And quite frankly, it’s not me that they are imitating, but it’s Christ in me,

Pam Bailey [Outro]: Sisters, I’m so glad that you’re with me in this season, two of my podcasts, I can’t thank you enough. As always, you can like and subscribe on whatever podcast platform that you are watching. The podcast is now hosted on my website. You can share that it has full transcriptions of each episode up there www.thepambailey.com. And I’ve actually put these on YouTube as well. So, there are several platforms where you can like, love, share, subscribe, all the things. As always ladies, thank you so much for joining me. And I cannot wait to do an imitating life of motherhood with each of you. Till next time, sisters keep worshipping and finding joy each moment.

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