Have you ever noticed how immediately after the first time you hear (or read) a new phrase, it just keeps popping up? That’s how it is with me and “Proverbs 31 woman.” I am starting to see it a lot! The first time I came across the term was when I started receiving a daily email devotional from Bible Gateway. The devotionals are provided by Proverbs 31 Ministries, a “Christian Ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ,” using Proverbs 31:10-31 as their guide.
In these verses, King Lemuels mother is giving him instructions as to what qualities he should look for in the woman he decides to marry. So, I gave a quick read through of the verses and my first thought was, “Yeah okay. Good luck with that!”
Then I dismissed them as a standard set for women of that era. After all, this is 2011, and non of it applies to me. Since I’m prone to rationalizing, I mentally listed all of the reasons (excuses) I was exempt.
- I’m not a young girl looking for a husband.
- I don’t need wool and flax – my clothes are mass produced in a factory somewhere.
- I don’t have any female servants.
- What’s a spindle?
- Distaff? Really?
One of the things I love most about our Lord is His persistence. He won’t force you, but He certainly will remind you-over and over again. Not only did this phrase keep popping up, but I started feeling convicted every time because of what I know is the truth. God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and always. And there is not one idle word in the Holy Bible therefore everything in it applies to me.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2Timothy 3:16
As Christian women it is our duty and priviledge to live by a different set of standards. We’re not supposed to blend in, we should stand out. Our lights are supposed to shine. Even if we fall short of fully becoming a Proverbs 31 woman, we’re supposed to pray and try and pray and keep trying.
(10-15 NIV) A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
A woman who puts God and His will for her life first. She has wisdom, strength of character, high moral and ethical standards. She is rare and worth more than anything or anyone that can be bought. A man would be wise to search until he finds her and not be swayed by outward appearance alone. A woman of noble character can be trusted. Her husband can enjoy that easy confidence that comes with knowing she will make his life richer. She’s not lazy. She’ll get up early, stay up late – do whatever she has to in order to properly take care of business.
(16-18 AMP) She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. She girds herself with strength [ spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm. She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt and distrust].
She is a good steward in financial matters, weighing out all of the options before making purchases and is smart enough to know when to say no. “The pumps are on sale” isn’t a reason to buy them. She won’t take on more than she can handle, nor will she allow anything to come before the responsibilities God has assigned her. She takes care of her self- body, mind and spirit. She knows troubles may come, but her faith will carry her through them.
(19-20 NIV) In her hands she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
She is resourceful and compassionate, always ready to help those in need.
(21-24 NKJV) She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
She makes sure everything is as it should be in her home, no matter the weather. Her family is cozy and warm through the winter months. Everyone knows her husband has a good wife. He’s happy and he looks good.
(25-26 AMP) Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]! She opens her mouth in skillful and Godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].
She is strong and secure – not lacking in self worth. She can look forward to the future because she has prepared for it. Her mouth isn’t filled with gossipy back-biting. She makes sure her words line up with God’s and if she must correct someone she does so from a place of love.
(27-29 NIV) She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
She isn’t sitting around idle. Her children grow up in a loving, faith-filled home. They call her blessed, and her husbands mouth is full of praise because she has blessed them. She enriches every life she touches.
(30-31 AMP) Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised! Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!
Her physical beauty, which will fade in time, pales in comparison to her inner beauty which comes from knowing, loving and serving Christ. That beauty is everlasting and the works it produces in, and from her life will praise her forever.
She is strong and tender and wise and good. She is a daughter of the King!
Are you a Proverbs 31 woman?
Photo: Flickr/Emmanuel Catabas