By Christina Fox via Desiring God
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word theology?
Do you think of unpronounceable words, or dusty books from centuries ago, or perhaps lengthy sermons? If you had to choose between studying theology and reading a book on practical tips for your daily life, which would you choose?
For many of us moms, the mere thought of studying theology seems way beyond what our daily life can handle. We might think, At this stage in my life, I can’t learn theology. My life is consumed and overwhelmed with the daily duties of motherhood. Perhaps we think that our time might be better spent reading up on ways to help our child sleep, or on the best nutritional choices for our growing teen, or on how to keep our preschooler from throwing a tantrum in the middle of the checkout lane.
But the truth is we desperately need theology for all our daily duties of motherhood. We need theology for bedtime battles, feeding worries, the grocery store, and everything else in between.
Just What Is Theology?
The word theology comes from the Greek words theos (God) and logos (word or body of knowledge). Theology is the body of knowledge about God, or put simply, the study of God. As Christians, we should desire to know all we can about God. After all, he is our Maker, Creator, Sustainer, and Savior.
But learning theology is just the first step. We also have to apply it. And when theology intersects with our daily lives, we find that it isn’t just for seminary professors, but for all of us.
What we believe about God, who he is, what he has done, and who we are in light of all that, isn’t just for mere study and debate. Words like imputation, justification, atonement, and election affect the very course of our lives day in and day out. They mold who we are.
- When your child is sick and the doctors don’t know why, so they order more and more tests, it’s your theology that tells you that God is in sovereign control of all things. It tells you that God is not asleep — that he hasn’t forgotten you (Psalms 121:3–4). Everything is under his control, and he is not surprised by any of your circumstances. Your theology reminds you in that moment that his intentions for you are good, and that he is working all things out for your good and his glory (Romans 8:28).
- When you speak harshly in anger to your child, it’s your theology that reminds you that Jesus came to die for those very sins. It tells you that Jesus lived a perfect life, was never unkind, always loving, and that his righteousness has been credited to you in being joined to him by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21). It tells you that he is at work in you even now, leading you to repentance and refining the work that he began in you (Philippians 1:6).
- When your meaning becomes merged with your role as mother, it’s your theology that reminds you that your identity is found in Christ. It’s not found in how successful you are as a mother, or in how well behaved your child is, or in how neat and clean you keep your home (Psalms 20:7–8). Your meaning, purpose, significance, and identity is grounded in who you are as a redeemed and adopted child of God (John 1:12).
- When you are drop-dead tired and your child is sick and your husband is out of town for work and you don’t think you can make it until he returns, it is your theology that tells you that God will provide you with the grace you need in the moment (1 Corinthians 10:13). It is your theology that reminds you that you can’t do life on your own and that, without Jesus, you can do nothing (John 15:5). It tells you that your rest and hope is found in Christ alone and that you can trust him to sustain you.
Real Hope, Real Wisdom, Real Peace
It is tempting as moms to think that what we need to make our lives better is a quick solution — something tangible that we can implement tomorrow to make things run smoothly and comfortably. When the daily challenges of running a home and raising children overwhelm us, we think that what we need most is a fresh idea or a new technique and then everything will be okay. So, in those few moments when we have time to think and read, we reach out for those practical books and articles, hoping that some new tip will change things.
While books with practical tips are useful for some things, the hope they provide can be short-lived. In truth, it is in theology, in our study of who God is and what he has done, that gives us the real hope, real wisdom, and real peace that we need in our lives — the kind that lasts. It’s theology — knowing God — that anchors us in the chaos of motherhood.
Moms, theology isn’t just for pastors, teachers, and professors; it’s for you too. And it’s not for another stage of life. It’s vital for you right here, right now, in the trenches of your daily life as a mom.