Making peace with Proverbs 31

The Proverbs 31 woman is slightly daunting for the modern woman. A woman who gets up early only to have her entire life revolve around sewing, cooking, cleaning, and bearing children? To be honest, it doesn’t sound very appealing. And, how am I supposed to be a Proverbs 31 woman if I don’t even have a family yet??

Not unlike the world’s false standards of “beauty” that we fall short of, God seems to have provided for us yet another impossible standard that we could never measure up to. Why even bother to try??

We find ourselves picking only the verses we like, and leaving out the rest. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.” Hmm. I see this quoted a lot. Who doesn’t want to be clothed with strength and dignity? This girl seems fashionable and fun! Why not be that girl and leave the rest?

Because God’s word is not a menu for us to pick and choose from. It is all or nothing.

Let’s see what this woman is really all about…

Who can find a virtuous woman?

What does that even mean? The word for “virtuous” here actually means, “strength, might, valor, and power.” It is the same word used to describe David when God had chosen Him to be king. This Proverbs 31 woman is to have the heroic strength that led David to kill lions and bears, and lead armies into the battles of the Lord to destroy the Lord’s enemies. She is to let nothing stand in the way of God’s purposes in her life. She possesses the strength of God in all she does, and claims His victory over the world.

“God made me a girl. And He did that on purpose. But He asks me to become the kind of girl who is actually useful to His kingdom purposes. I need to become the sort of girl who is unafraid to poke my head into the battle of the ages and cry out, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who is blaspheming the armies of the living God?” God wants me to wrestle. God wants to stick grit in my girliness. He wants me to be prepared to tangle, to interlock my soul in this eternal combat—- not with other girls, not with sweaty boys, but with Him, and with the otherworldly powers of darkness. He wants me to wrestle in prayer, to grab ahold of His great and precious promises and fight to see them unfurled in living reality on this Earth.” -Leslie Ludy

So the Proverbs 31 woman does more than cook dinner on time and keep a spotless house? She is busy serving the Lord. She does her work with her hands unto the Lord, and not unto men. She serves the Lord to the best of her ability in every capacity that she is called. She has compassion on others, seeks to help others, and is kind in all she does. Others are proud to know her and honored by her friendship.

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry, and her clothing is silk and purple.

This girl takes care of herself, and presents herself with grace and dignity for her Lord. She does not neglect her appearance in the name of “spirituality,” nor does she draw attention to herself with her body. She possesses the set-apart femininity that God has cultivated inside of her, and dresses accordingly to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. We can literally get up, get dressed, put our makeup on to the glory of the Lord, and to present ourselves with grace and dignity to others in His name.

Strength and honor are her clothing.

There is that word again, STRENGTH. As women, we often feel as though we are supposed to be quiet and controlled by everyone around us. We feel constantly “Shhh’d.” The Bible says we are supposed to be of a “meek and quiet spirit.”

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4

That does not mean that we are to have NO personality, and we are supposed keep our heads down and not speak to people. That would be the opposite of honoring to God. It simply means that we are to adorn ourselves on the inside and place value on that above all else. We are to have a graceful, selfless attitude so that we do not draw vain attention to ourselves so that others will constantly see the beauty of Jesus Christ in our lives, and speech, and actions. It is possible to have a friendly, outgoing personality AND the gentle, selfless spirit that God considers of great price.

“When He [God] talks of their losing their selves, He means only abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.” -C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

She will rejoice in time to come.

God has given us so many promises to take care of those who walk uprightly and seek to please Him in all that they do. When we are looking to Him to fulfill His promises we can walk in His peace and His strength. The strength that the Proverbs 31 woman exudes is not in and of herself. It is from the mighty hands of God. Because of our trust in His strength and not our own, we can attempt to live lives that other women would not even attempt. So often, we expect far too little of our great and mighty God.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phillipians 4:13

Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

When people think of this woman, they think of Jesus. She is praised not because of her own beauty, but because she is clothed with HIS beauty and HIS strength and HIS honor. When God is given His rightful place in our lives, then He can transform our personalities and everything He made in us to reflect His beauty and grace.

We are not called to live holy lives on our own. We could never do it. We are called to live in His strength though so that the world can look at us and say, “There is no way that she is doing all that in her own strength.” When we show the world His strength instead of trying to measure up on our own, we can draw attention to Him through our lives.

Her price is far above rubies.

The Proverbs 31 woman remembers the price that was paid for her- a price far above the most costly vanities of earth. Jesus Christ bought and paid for her with His precious blood. He did not pay this price only for her salvation. He bought her very soul. She belongs to God, and through this transaction, she is enabled to live a valiant, virtuous life through the strength of Jesus. When she is completely abandoned to her Savior, she can showcase not her own, but HIS strength, and beauty, and grace.

It is time that we stop shying away from things that seem too hard or too big to measure up to. It is time we embrace the strength of our Savior so that we may can be marked with the valor of Proverbs 31. It is time that we as women embrace the example of Proverbs 31, and live a life in the strength and dignity of our Savior for His glory.

**
 

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

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16 comments

  1. “… that when they are wholly His, they will be more themselves than ever.”

    Probably one of my favorite lines from The Screwtape Letters! It is so true. As Christians, we are never more true to ourselves than when we are living like Christ 🙂

    Great post!

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  2. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

    This verse carries an interesting thought for me. Spoils are the victor’s wages after a successful battle. This woman’s husband can be gone for a lengthy military campaign, and when it is time to return home, he doesn’t feel the need to collect his share of the spoils. Rather than fear, like some of his compatriots might, that there is nothing left to return home to, he knows his wealth is secure under the wise watch of his wife.

    Lauren, thank you for sharing your thoughts and revealed truths with others. They’re a pleasure to read.

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  3. Hello Lauren,
    I read this with total resonance. I had a huge problem with Proverbs 31 years earlier because of the exact reasons you stated above. I mistook the chapter to be able being the “perfect housewife”. The last year I read it and realised that it was actually about the woman who loves God, who loves her neighbours, who is strong, compassionate, clever, wise, loving and utterly lovable. Totally the kind of woman I wish to become. Now it is a huge inspiration to me.

    I’m glad we feel the same way. 🙂

    Regards,
    Kathleen

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  4. Beautiful article. I am a girl from England reading this and have at the moment been surrounded by the pressure of having a true love and lack of purity. The grace of a women is important and I truly believe that grace of a women of god is powerful. This article has made me realise not to strive for what the guy I fancy likes but for what god wants.
    Thank you very much. X

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    • Thanks for writing, Megan! I’m so glad it was a help to you! You’ve got it exactly right! We need to please our heavenly Prince most of all. X

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  5. That is fantastic, Lauren! I guess Richard must be your husband? He posted a link to this on Twitter. Such a lot of great content here that I’m book marking and asking my 12 year old to read it. (By the way, THANK YOU for posting about bikini wearing!) I’m also going to put your link on my Facebook page and Twitter because so many will be edified and encouraged by your writing. Thank you for using the gifts and influence the Lord has given you!

    Many Blessings!
    Dawn Morris

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  6. I am loving every bit of this. Proverbs 31 is beginning to make more sense to me. I use to be afraid of these verses before. Thank God for you dear. May God continue to rekindle the fire in you in Jesus Name. Amen

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  7. Thank you very much for your very clear explanation of Proverbs 31. Woah. I pray that someday, I’ll become like that very impressive, strong, Godly woman who reflects the beauty of God. 🙂

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  8. Love it! Read this at just the right moment. This life brings so many challenges, changes, & options that even if your earnestly seeking God you can still feel overwhelmed. But this is a beautiful reminder to hold on to God because that is where our true identity is.

    Like

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