A Pregnant Woman’s Defense Against the Schemes of the Devil
Note: This article now appears in Desiring God’s free ebook Mom Enough, available in three electronic formats, as well as paperback.
If you are a pregnant mom, perhaps with your first baby, you may be reading these articles about Mommy Wars and shaking your head. As if you didn’t have enough on your mind already!
In the chaos of battles over things like bottle feeding, co-sleeping, and baby wearing, Carolyn has pointed out how the real Mommy Wars are primarily spiritual battles. The real battles are not against other moms who have different mothering preferences, but against our adversary the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
God has provided protection for the pregnant woman against the schemes of the devil.
The armor of God comes in maternity sizes.
For the next 42-weeks (or less) you have a unique opportunity to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (Ephesians 6:10) even when you’re wearing support hosiery and your center of gravity has shifted to your navel.
When a pregnant woman wears the armor of God then she has every reason to estimate her potential for endurance based on “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might” (Ephesians 1:19).
When Paul said in Philippians 4:19 that he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” he wasn’t only talking about throwing a baseball or lifting weights. He was talking about learning contentment in the permanent circumstance of God’s sovereign goodness toward him. The power of God toward you is “according to the riches of his glory that he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).
Pregnant ladies, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, including fearlessly ground your faith in God’s sovereign goodness as the basis for your contentment. I know it is so hard to be content when you’re weary and feel you can’t go on, when your heart is distracted with fear for your baby, and when your emotions careen out of control. But God’s power is more than adequate for these things; his immeasurable greatness of power can overwhelm even the most powerful schemes the devil devises to steal your joy in God.
The Armor of God Fits Over Maternity Elastic
Scripture exhorts us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Even when the only pants and skirts that currently fit you are held up on your hips by a yard of elastic, the armor of God still fits you and you should wear it. By wearing the armor of God you can stand firm against the schemes of the devil as he tries to unsettle your faith with every wind of doctrine, encourages human cunning, and deceives you (Ephesians 4:14).
Here are a few things for pregnant ladies to remember about the armor of God:
The “belt of truth” encircles you with the confident protection of knowing who God is, what Christ has done for you, and who you are in light of your being “in Christ” through faith in him. You must take pains to hold up this belt of truth around you through whatever means necessary. Engage in spiritual disciplines like prayerful meditation on God’s word, commit Scripture to memory, and actively pursue fellowship with other women who will remind you of God’s truth in his word.
The “breastplate of righteousness” is one-size-fits-all-who-believe. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed by faith to sinners who deserve death and judgment for their sins. We understand that by “the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
Pregnant sister, you will be tempted by the adversary to put forward your own righteousness as a front when you’re feeling insecure. The devil will use everything from insecurity about your pregnancy to your prenatal care and your birth plan to your mothering potential. Guard yourself against the temptation to comfort yourself with self-righteous pats on the back. Arm yourself with Jesus’ warning against parading our own righteousness before others to gain rewards of smiles, admiration, and respect from them (Matthew 6:1).
As you have put on the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness then you can stand firm against the devil’s lies of inadequacy and failure. Wear the breastplate of righteousness Martin Luther-style:
So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
Dear pregnant friends, the shoes of the armor of God not only fit you, but they make your feet move. You know how special this is when you’re already fatigued by 10 o’clock in the morning and you can watch your feet widening with every pregnancy. “As shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).
The gospel of peace provides readiness by giving you the reason and the power to go wherever Christ would lead you for his sake. In this way the gospel empowers you to go into the fray of the Mommy Wars and announce to the contenders the victory of the cross, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!”
The “shield of faith” is for your protection all day and into the sleepless nights. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). It doesn’t matter if your faith is as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) or the hCG hormones circulating through your blood right now. What matters is the greatness of the One in whom you have placed your faith.
As you get excited about the upcoming birth of your child, rejoice most of all in him who has caused you to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3, 23). When you take up the shield of faith and watch as the devil’s flaming darts implode into little puffs of smoke, give thanks to God: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
In the weakness of your back pain and vulnerability of feeling nauseous remember your hope of salvation in Christ as you rely on Scripture, your offensive weapon against the enemy. “Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
Don’t just not believe the lies of the devil, but speak God’s truth to yourself. Don’t just not dwell on your bloated appearance and spider veins, but talk to yourself of the beauty of Christ’s sacrificial love and how he gave his body up for us all. What a delight it is, then, for you to let your body serve the life of another.
And finally, purpose your mind, will, and emotions to submit to God’s good plans to glorify himself in all things. Be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
This is the power of God in a pregnant woman whose hope is in the victory of Christ Jesus over the schemes of the devil.
Posts in the Mommy Wars series —
- Are You Mom Enough? (Rachel Pieh Jones)
- The End of Mommy Wars (Christine Hoover)
- Mommy Wars in the Local Church: A Parable (Gloria Furman)
- Mommy Wars Are Spirit Wars (Carolyn McCulley)
- A Pregnant Woman’s Defense Against the Schemes of the Devil (Gloria Furman)