As our Proverbs 31 woman and today’s modern woman wrap up their discussion on what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman in today’s world, they really delve into the nitty-gritty of the final verses.
It’s one thing to learn how to do certain things like bargain shop and take care of your husband and children. It’s a completely different thing to work on just “being”, as a woman of God.
The Proverbs 31 woman explains.
When verse 25 states that “strength and honor are her clothing”, this verse is referring to the figurative clothes of a woman’s personality and spirit. “Strength” can indicate boldness, majesty, and power, when read in the original Hebrew, and “honor” means magnificence, beauty, and comeliness.
What does it mean to have boldness, majesty, and power? These words almost seem to contradict the image of the meek and quiet spirit that we read a woman is to have in I Peter 3.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this gives permission to be a woman who speaks her mind freely without discretion and with a mindset of “I don’t really care what people think!” The boldness, majesty and power that we read about need to be coupled with the magnificence, beauty, and comeliness in the same verse.
A woman of God needs to speak up on issues. She needs to speak up by voting at election time. She needs to speak up when she overhears someone being torn apart by gossip (by stopping it, not by joining it). She needs to speak up when she observes her children going down the wrong pathway of life. She needs to speak up when her friend shares with her that she is about to make a very unwise decision.
A woman has power. This can be seen way back in the beginning of time with the story of Adam and Eve. The theme continues throughout the rest of Scripture as we read of women such as Jezebel and Esther, Rahab and Deborah, Bathsheba and Ruth. Power is not something women have to look for. It seems to be something they possess and can wield without even looking for it.
Speaking up and having power need to be balanced out with a beautiful and comely spirit. When speaking up, the words must be spoken with love and compassion. Oftentimes, speaking up is for the purpose of expressing our opinion and being heard, and for no other reason. To speak up with the right spirit is to speak up for the purpose of bringing about the hearer’s best interest.
An example of this would be when speaking up to your children because you observe them making unwise choices. When you see your teen daughter dressing in ways that are inappropriate, do you speak up because you are concerned about how her appearance reflects on you, or because you are aware that the way she is dressing will bring about unwanted attention from men and rude opinions from other females?
When speaking up to your husband because you see him about to make, what you consider, a bad financial move, are you speaking up out of anger and a need to correct him? Or are you speaking up because you want what is best for your family and for him down the road.
We as women need to constantly check our motives for why we are speaking what we are speaking. Our speech needs to be tempered with the mindset that “but for the grace of God go I”, as well as an acute awareness of our own shortcomings and faults. Love must always accompany what we say. Not self-love, but true love — true love that desires the best for others.
Our power also needs to be paired up with this “magnificent beauty”. It’s not a question of do we have the power, it’s a question of how do we use that power? Use your power as a woman to influence your children for good and to encourage your husband to be the best man he can be. Use your power for good to impact your community in a positive way and to leave a lasting impression on other young women as they grow up to be women of God.
Allow your power to yield beautiful and magnificent results.
Verse 26 indicates a woman who loves life. How many of us can say that we love life? That we laugh and play on a regular basis? Most of us are so bowed down by daily to-do lists, rigorous schedules, and the cares of the world that we usually wear a frown on our face instead of a smile.
Joy starts on the inside of a woman and radiates outward to her appearance. I once heard that there is no beautifier like a joyful heart. Even the plainest of woman can be made beautiful by a joyful spirit. The Proverbs 31 woman is not only a hard worker, she also has learned how to enjoy life.
Don’t get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent and miss the dew drops on the roses petals, the rainbow that appears just as the rain fades away, and a water fight with your children. Ride the carousel the next time you come across one, make snow angels with your kids, and dance in the downpour with your husband.
Go ahead. Laugh, and laugh loud!
Rejoice in the life God has given you. A woman can rejoice in times to come because she is confident in who God is and the truth that He is working everything out for her good and His glory.
The woman that models the Proverbs 31 life will leave a lasting impression on her husband and children. They will, at some point in their lives, recall her hard work at taking care of them, her labor of love, her words of kindness and wisdom, and the inner beauty that was so brilliant it shone into her face, transforming her countenance.
This woman, though she loves beautiful things and, as all humans do, appreciates the approval of people, does not put her focus on these things. She takes care with her appearance but she is not consumed with becoming like the air brushed models depicted in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. She is sensitive to other people’s wishes but she is not an approval junkie, denying who God made her to be and what He has called her to do, in an effort to gain approval.
This woman understands that her time with God each day must exceed the time spent in front of the mirror. She grasps the truth that ultimately it is about what God says about her at the end of the day, not what man says.
A Proverbs 31 woman points others to God. They look at her life and they know there is something different about her. Something that they desire. Something that they cannot achieve apart from God’s presence in their life.
The Proverbs 31 woman is living as the person God created her to be in the life He intended her to have. That was doable in Bible times and it is still possible in today’s world as well.