-given by God's inspiration
-the very words of God
-all we need to know God
-a perfect guide for life
-not to be take from or added to
-the standard by which all teaching is to be tested
-to be obeyed
-sweet like honey
-a lamp to guide our life
-food for our soul
-a fire that purifies and a hammer that breaks us
-a seed for salvation planted in us
-milk that nourished us
Here is what I immediately thought of: Proverbs 31:10-31.
Have you ever been in one of those groups of women-- when they sit around and talk about how unrealistic that part of the Bible is. By the end of the conversation, it is concluded that it is a nice thought but not applicable to our culture.
Has this ever happened to you?
It happens to me often-- women my age are generally newly married, working, and/or in school.
When we arrive at verse 13, about wool and flax, we throw a fit. WHO has time for that?!
I do have to say that the conclusion always sounds nice-- we are in Christ. We don't have to worry about that. We are not condemned for our lack of housekeeping skills. Christ has completed us, therefore we can brush the verses aside.
The enemy is the ultimate deceiver. He mixes truth with lies in hopes of blinding and bonding us.
Truth: You are in Christ.
Truth: You are not condemned for being less than crafty and Betty Crocker-ish.
Truth: Christ more than completes us, as women.
Truth: I certainly do not have time to spin my own wool.
LIE: The "Proverbs 31 Woman" is irrelevant.
LIE: You can just brush these verses aside, and call them a "nice thought."
"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
Th heart of her husband trust her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises white it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go our at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings 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; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blesses; her husband also, and he praises her:
'Many women have don excellently, but you surpass them all.'
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."
pure. true. trustworthy. for everyone. perfect. effective. powerful. sweet like honey. a lamp to guide our life. milk that nourishes us. the very words of God.
Does my life reflect this? Not really.
Should I strive to be the woman God created me to be? Always.
Am I saved by attaining these things (which I never could!)? Absolutely not.
"All our righteous acts are like filthy rags..." Isaiah 64:6
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
Hear me say this:
First, I am not promoting a works-based, religious, salvation earning mindset.
I am not anti-gospel.
In fact, I would argue that the women that I have mentioned, the women who put aside the wisdom that is provided for us in the Word of God, are not living in line with the gospel.
The Gospel is the power of God to save and transform lives.
How are our lives being transformed if we refuse to accept the wisdom provided for us God's Word? Are we really allowing God is make us into the people he has created us to be? OR are we allowing his to change us on our terms?
Second, I understand that different women have different lives.
I do not at all believe that our lives, as Christian women, should look exactly like the Proverbs 31 woman. She lived in a different time and culture. But I do believe that we have an enormous amount to learn from her. Proverbs 31 is certainly applicable to our lives and should NOT be avoided due to inconvenience.
What we can take away from Proverbs 31:10-31 is more than anything an attitude.
more thoughts on this to come...