The Proverbs 31 Woman…A heart matter.
Nope! This is not another blog post to guilt trip you. 🙂 Not another blog post to make you feel like a failure…I know the feeling, trust me. This IS a blog post on what Proverbs 31 really means. Anyone can read through it and tell you what the Prov 31 woman DID but few can tell you what it means. For instance…does it mean that we aren’t virtuous women if we don’t wake up at the crack of dawn to cook everything from scratch as she did? Or go far away to buy the ingredients? Hmmm. Maybe we need to hire some maid servants? Yeah…i’m pretty sure that whole thing doesn’t mean what it literally says. Most of scripture is to be interpreted literally by proper interpretation methods (exegesis & hermeneutics), some of scripture is allegorical like the parable of the sower. That is the case of Prov 31. Who is a virtuous woman? Is there a formula? I am going to humbly attempt to answer that for you. 🙂 I will also give you some practical ideas to live out Prov 31 in our modern society.
There is NO formula! There! There’s your long awaited answer. Prov 31 is NOT a list of things you ought to do but of a heart attitude. The heart attitude of a virtuous woman is to die to self and serve, serve humbly, serve those whom she loves the most; her family. When you read prov 31, please understand that this is not a list of things you ought to do (that would be ludicrous! I mean really, we all need to go out and buy a field and plant a vineyard and if we don’t we are not virtuous??? yeah! not so!) instead it shows you the heart, passion and devotion that characterize an extraordinary woman. Virtue, character, devotion, generosity, integrity, faithfulness, submissive, discerning…THIS beautiful ladies is WHAT prov 31 is about. THAT is the heart of the passage. It’s not about a field, or a meal…it’s about what’s most important. THE HEART!
1 Peter 3:3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
After all wasn’t martha being a virtuous woman? She was running around doing all the chores, cooking a fantastic meal and yet Jesus said Mary chose what was BEST. Jesus could see her heart…her heart wasn’t on the eternal (spending time with the Lord), it was in the temporal (chores). Not that we don’t want to keep a clean home for we are to be good homemakers (Titus 2), but our focus, the reason that drives us should always be the right one. LOVE! Love for God and love for our family. 🙂
If I can summarize what a virtuous wife is it would be someone who is a woman of integrity, devoted to being a homemaker, generous to neighbors, she is a great influence as a teacher to her children…she is an effective mother & an excellent disciple.
What a wife must understand is that she has the ability to influence her husband for good or for evil (Prov 12:4). How do we do this? Not by harping. 🙂 1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Are you playing the Harp or are you plain harping???
Prov 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
Can your husband trust you? Does he know you will never harm his personal gain? Can your husband leave the checkbook with you and KNOW that the family’s best interest will be done? A virtuous wife will never do anything to threaten what her husband has so diligently worked for. She carefully plans the budget to ensure she protects the money he has brought home. This verse shows they have a relationship completely based on trust. The husband can go away with absolute confidence of her integrity, wisdom and discretion. His comfort is her concern. THAT is an outstanding foundation for an excellent marriage. He will never have to go out wondering how he will have to make up for the money she spent that should have gone to pay bills. He will never have to work extra in order to cover her indulgences for lack of self control and abundance of selfishness. This is an indication the wife is in charge of all domestic matters. She is in charge of using and accounting for the resources in the home. He is free to give himself to his work, knowing she will be a good steward of all he has provided. In Titus 2 we see the woman also as the ruler of the house. She helps him to profit, not loss. He has enough because she is devoted to his best interest, seeking to do him good because she loves him!
Prov 31:12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
A virtuous woman always has her husband’s best interest at heart. She always seeks to build her husband up. Her desire is to make him the man God created him to be in every area of his life. Through good, bad, sickness, health, having plenty or having little…she is devoted to his well being all the days of her life. Her love and devotion are always set on her husband’s success! A virtuous wife seeks to serve her husband, not to be served. A perfect example of this is found in 1 Peter 3:6 Sarah served Abraham & called him lord. She is committed to her husband and she reveals her virtuous character by her consistent service to him. Her priority is always his comfort, his success, his reputation…this is where she finds delight. Living for him, brings her the utmost joy and happiness.
Spiritually: Because she has his best interest in mind she will confront his sin and his weakness. Lovingly she will be a conscience, she will necessarily be the voice of God, never unkind, always in submission, always coming from a heart that seeks to see him walk closer to the Savior. Confronting his sin and failure is an intricate part of him becoming the man God created him to be. His highest good is her greatest desire. ❤
Prov 31:13 She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.
She is a devoted homemaker! She is careful to use her time wisely to manage her home accordingly. There is no place for laziness, no place for inactivity. She is full of energy in the duties of her home. Now let me stop here for a minute. This is not to say you just had a c-section, a newborn baby at home and you are up running around doing chores because if not you aren’t being a prov 31 woman. What this is speaking of is a lifestyle. There are reasons, like at risk pregnancy, sickness…etc when you simply can’t manage your home the way you would when the situation changed. 🙂 If your lifestyle would be classified as lazy, just getting through then I encourage you to examine your heart and change your ways. 🙂 Whatever the home requires, that is what she does. The modern day homemaker doesn’t have to craft anything by hand anymore. We can conveniently go to the store and buy clothing. Modern day application of this verse: Go shopping for winter clothing (for the upcoming year) right after winter, when everything is on sale! The same applies for summer time outfits. If you like decorating your home for holidays (harvest, christmas…etc), buy decoration throughout the year when you find them on sale, save them for future use. If you need furniture check your local craigslist or pay a visit to second hand stores. Buy used and SAVE the difference. God certainly blesses us so that we bless others, there’s nothing wrong with having nice things we just need to be smarter about the way we shop ladies. Use coupons and try NOT to pay retail price for anything as much as you can. The prov 31 woman would never give her husband added pressure to provide “nice things”. This verse also shows the CORE of this woman’s being…she does it in delight. She is delighted in the work of her hands because she loves the people she serves. The value of what she does is connected in who she does it for. She denies herself and takes up the most mundane tasks with a great amount of pleasure knowing they come from an overflow of her deep love for her family.
Prov 31:14 She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar.
She goes as far as she needs to go to buy the best food for her family. She doesn’t just throw something together, she considers variety and what they would enjoy. Finding the best food at the best prices to bring benefit to her family without breaking her husband’s pocket. 🙂 She indeed is a careful planner. Modern day application: Create a weekly or bi weekly meal plan! We know that organic food is much better because of all the pesticides and harsh chemicals added to non-organic foods. If you can’t buy all organic meals then research what foods are higher in pesticides and preservatives and try to purchase those in an organic market. Other ways to save would be to check for a local farmers market or grow your own fruits and veggies. Check for sales in your local organic market so you can benefit from the savings. 🙂 I personally plan a biweekly menu using foodonthetable.com. You can have your grocery list emailed to you, ready to print!
Prov 31:15 She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And portions to her maidens.
Fortunately for us sweet friends, we don’t have to wake up at dawn in order to START preparing meals. We have the advantage of pre made bread for instance. 🙂 She didn’t have everything pre-made…she had to make everything from scratch and allow it time to cook. That doesn’t mean we get to sleep in everyday! We still ought to wake up early to care for our family. Her husband and children have breakfast ready when they get up. She puts thought and care into the meals she plans for her family. She gets up early in order to unsure everything planned for the day is accomplished. Her household is above her own comfort, above her own rest.
Prov 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is an entrepanuer! She assesses the price, the value of the purchase (the field) & the benefit it could bring to her family. She decided it’s an appropriate thing to do so she purchases it. She bought this with her own earning as verse 24 states (She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen.). She is an entrepenuer right from her home where God put her. 🙂 It’s wonderful when a woman is entreprising if she has the time, the inclination & the talents to do things in her home that can benefit the family…that is a glorious thing! Modern day application: What talents and abilities do you have that will generate an extra income for your family? Maybe you can knit? Knit some headbands…carfs to sell? If you are a good organizer maybe you can help others put an organizational plan together? There are just some ideas…not a requirement for a proverbs 31 woman. Some of us may have the time, others simply don’t. And that’s OK!
Prov 31:17 She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong.
She has become strong as a result of her effort, as a result of the strength exerted in the daily routine of the home. She doesn’t call in sick or is out of commission because of a headache. Her dedication is carrying out the daily tasks with excellence has given her both strength and confidence. To be quite frank we are a generation of weak women. We don’t do 5% of what women used to do in biblical times (don’t even go so far back, 100 years ago) and we are the weakest. The simplest tasks are tiring, simply too hard to be woman. The less you do the less you want to do…THAT is the modern woman. WE need to change this ladies. If we are going to impact the next generation for the Lord we need to recapture what biblical womanhood and strength IS…recapture it and LIVE IT OUT! OR our daughters will go around wanting to have a robot server because it’s too much work to go to the fridge! 🙂
Prov 31:18 She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night.
She does what is beneficial to everyone in her family. Her motivation and what she lives for is to be a blessing to them. Her motivation is not self-fulfillment, not self indulgence, but the inherent goodness in what she is doing in the lives of those she deems precious. The family is not organized in a way that everyone has to attend to her, but rather in that she is committed to give herself away for the goodness of everyone else.
Prov31:20 She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She demonstrate not only special devotion to her family but to those not unfortunate enough to be in her home. Modern day application: See my article on the right “Homeless but Evangelized” for some ideas of what you can do for your local homeless friends.
Prov 31:22 She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
She appreciates her beauty. You may be thinking…WHAT time does this lady have to take care of herself? My goodness!!! 🙂 The answer: she finds it! She doesn’t dress in pj’s all day…and doesn’t have crazy hair when her husband comes home everyday. She loves looking beautiful for her husband. She knows how to take care of herself in order to express her beauty & loveliness to her husband.
Prov 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
She is clothed with spiritual character. She has dignity. She is above common and trivial things. She has true class, true virtue. She has godly character. The proverbs 31 woman is concerned about noble issues. The power of true character can be seen in the fact that she smiles at the future. Her life is right with God and THAT secures her blessings!
Prov 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She is the epitome of wisdom and kindness. She guides her family daily, including her husband, with words of wisdom (the Word). Her home is a classroom all day long as she imparts the love of God and His law to her children.
Prov 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
She manages the children & home. She is not eating the bread of idleness but the bread of loving hard work. She doesn’t lounge around because she doesn’t “feel” like doing anything.
Prov 31:28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”
She poured out her life, her everything into her family (her heart attitude). What does she get in return? True sanctification.
Prov 31:30 & 31 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.
What is the product of her hands? All the good she has done to others, comes back to her. All the sacrifice, everything she did in private will come back in public as they praise her at the gates. Her husband raves about her. He is knows as the husband of ________ so and so. 🙂 She will be famous for her godly womanhood, thats her earthly reward. Her heavenly reward is “well done my good and faithful servant. Enter to the joy of your Master!”
Praise God for His grace and mercy. We can do this!!!! He wouldn’t have said we can if He didn’t plan to equipp us. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. If you have a husband and even have been blessed with children then God HAS equipped you to do the job He has called you to do. 🙂 We will NEVER get all this perfect, we weren’t made to. If we would then we wouldn’t need neither Jesus or Grace. We need both because we will never be perfect until’ we see Him. Take courage sweet friends…we are all in this together! As sisters who share a marvelous journey into becoming godly woman of character, virtue and FAITH. Perfection doesn’t exist what does exist is sanctification and God promised that he would continue to work in us until’ the return of Christ. Hallelujah! 🙂