The Proverbs 31 woman is often known as the woman who can “do it all.” But that's not why she's so exalted in Scripture. She's referred to as the one who everyone thinks is amazing, but that's not why she's more valuable than rubies. In an attempt to be virtuous like her, there are three approaches you can take, but I'll guarantee that the first two will leave you feeling like a failure.
1. The Production Oriented Woman
is the one who always has a clean house, cooks amazing food, volunteers
at church, has her own home based business, keeps up to date on her
blog, does Pinterest inspired arts and crafts with her children,
maintains a thriving garden, welcomes her husband with a smile and a
foot rub, exercises every day, hosts parties and meetings at her house,
has a sweet-submissive-sappy voice and never looks exhausted.
Recently I saw a friend post on Facebook, “I catered breakfast for a hundred people this morning and made it home in time to nurse my baby his breakfast and help my husband make his favorite breakfast too (scrambled eggs, sausage & toast). Now it's time to go back for lunch! Thank God for coffee :)”
Someone commented, “Busy mama! What a beautiful example of the Proverbs 31 woman you are.”
It almost seems like the busier you are, the more Proverbs 31ish you are. Although it’s admirable that women these days work hard to take care of their husband, their children and work outside the home too, the core quality of what makes a woman a “Proverbs 31 woman” is not how much she does but that she fears the Lord. It’s her motivation - not her behavior. The behavior is an outflow of her heart. Production does not make her worth “more than rubies.”
If you are measuring your Proverbs 31 womanliness by your production you are using the wrong standard.
2. The Praise Oriented woman
When I first became a Christian and studied the “The Proverbs 31 Woman,” what caught my attention the most was that “her
children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth
her (saying) “many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest
them all.” (Vs. 28-29) What woman wouldn’t want to have children who adore her and a husband who brags that he picked the best woman out there? I am very motivated by affirmation.
But how often have I gone out of my way to try to be superwoman only to hear either nothing or complaints in response that it wasn’t good enough. Every time I get in that pattern of living, I wind up feeling extremely deflated and discouraged.
I missed something vital that I want every woman to understand. At the very end of the passage it says, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her and; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (v. 31)
If you are measuring your Proverbs 31 womanliness by how much praise you receive from others, you are using the wrong standard.
3. The Please Him Oriented Woman
The praise of a Proverbs 31 woman comes not from what she does but who she is. She is a woman who fears the Lord. THIS is her core identity. Because she fears Him (a combination of love and respect), she is motivated to give her utmost for His highest. She does her best.
Every woman’s best is different and it is unwise
to compare yourself to other women who may be more gifted. You do not
need to compete with them in order to be a virtuous woman. Virtuous
means morally excellent. Morally. This is not a production issue, it's a
heart issue. It's not measured by how many "likes" you get on your
Facebook status. It’s a reflection of the inward motive which cannot be
discerned by people.
In the well known “love chapter” of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13), it says you can be an eloquent speaker, a fortune teller, a brainy scientist, a miracle worker, feed the hungry or become a martyr but if you do it with selfish motives, it doesn’t count for anything. Jesus uttered scathing rebukes to the Pharisees because their good works were done out of pride and arrogance which are two of the four things the Lord hates according to Proverbs 8:13; (Matthew 23:28)
How to be a "Please-Him" Oriented Woman
What makes the Proverbs 31 woman so amazing and talented is that her good works flow from a consecrated heart whose primary purpose in life is to please and glorify God. She puts these two verses in her “to do” list every day:
In the book of Ephesians, servants are exhorted to work “in
singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service, as men
pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the
heart. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Eph 6:5-7)
The issue is not how well you work but with what motive you work. However, when a person’s motive is to please the Lord in all they do and glorify Him, God adds his blessing to their efforts and makes their work excellent.
How a fear of the Lord manifests itself in the Proverbs 31 woman's behavior
The Proverbs 31 woman first and foremost fears the Lord, which results in the following behavior
This behavior results in the following:
If you measure your success by your production, stop.
If you measure your success by how much affirmation you get, stop.
Your standard will only discourage you with feelings of either not being “good enough” or it will make you proud and stuck up.
it your aim to please the Lord. Be more concerned about how faithfully
you are following Him and everything else will fall into place. Consider
the following quote from a very inspiring author:
“Great is the work and mission of women,
especially those who are wives and mothers. They can be a blessing to
all around them. They can have a powerful influence for good if they
will let their light so shine that others may be led to glorify our
heavenly Father. Women may have a transforming influence if they will
only consent to yield their way and their will to God, and let Him
control their mind, affections, and being. They can have an influence
which will tend to refine and elevate those with whom they associate.
But this class are generally unconscious of the power they possess. They exert an unconscious influence which seems to work out naturally from a sanctified life, a renewed heart. It is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree of divine planting. Self is forgotten, merged in the life of Christ. To be rich in good works is as natural as their breath. They live to do others good and yet are ready to say: We are unprofitable servants. (Daughters of God, 152)
you notice how the author emphasized that doing good is a natural,
unconscious response? It all comes from being connected to Christ. Make
this your primary goal and you will naturally become a Proverbs 31
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