One of the things that keep striking me as I consider Proverbs 31 is that though the mother speaking these words is instructing her son to look for a woman like this – obviously he will be looking for a young woman but this mother is painting a picture of an older woman, a woman who has had time to develop skills, find success in business, have children and then her husband sits at the gate – older men sit at the gate. There is conflicting information here.
On the one hand she is encouraging her son to find a woman like this and yet the very woman she is describing is an older woman.
I believe that she is painting a picture of the heart of the woman – a young woman that has a heart for these things, a young woman who is able, who is willing, who has the inclinations towards these things. This type of woman will follow her heart (learn to do these things) and she will end up being a blessing in her husband’s life.
So are these things on your heart?
- Do you want to provide for your family physically – food and clothing?
- Do you want to provide for your family emotionally and spiritually?
- Do you want to have the trust of your husband?
- Do you want to use your money wisely?
- Do you want to be strong and able bodied?
- Do you want to work with your hands, to work long and hard?
- Do you want to have surplus produce, the work of your hands, to sell to others
- Do you want to care for the poor and needy (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually)
- Do you want to present yourself well to the community (to dress well)
- Do you want to have a good reputation in the community (strength and honour are her clothing)
- Do you want to have wisdom on your tongue?
Have you ever had an older woman in your life that you aspired to be like? This is the type of relationship we should have with Proverbs 31 woman. I know that the women that I aspire to be like would say one thing to me – “You should have seen me as a young bride!”
The skills they have that I want to emulate didn’t come to them over night – they did one thing at a time. I cannot believe that it was any different in Old Testament times.
One thing! Is there one thing that you know you need to improve on? Ha! You say, “There’s more than one!!!” Well, pray about it and ask God to simplify it for you, to tell you which one thing to focus on. And then do something about it.
- Pray for God’s guidance and grace to change, pray for his strength to break old habits
- Look for a role model – someone who has that one area of life under control – talk to them, ask them for instruction, tips, encouragement – possibly even ask them to disciple you, to teach you and hold you accountable over a period of time so you can learn that one discipline in life. (You may not find a role model in real life – these days books and the internet often have to suffice – but real life is best).
- Search for understanding and wisdom. Understanding is knowing about stuff, wisdom is knowing how God wants you to apply it. Research your topic, read about it, talk it over with your husband, mentor and friends. Pray about it – to know how God wants you to apply your new knowledge to your life.
- Practice it – get up and get going, put this new knowledge into practice.
- Expect failures – breaking an old habit and establishing new ones is hard work, we will slip, we will lose motivation, we may even give up but we must keep our eyes on Jesus , In Him there is no condemnation. He believes in you! (Romans 8:1,2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.)
By the way, we will not be praised for all the good stuff we do for our family or in business – we will be praised because we fear the Lord (Prov 31 vs 30). Out of a fear of the Lord this woman produces fruit of her hands which can be seen by all. So though we need to care for our family, and for others, it will truly come out of our fear of the Lord – out of a worshipful awe of who He is and what He has done for us. This puts striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman in a whole new perspective. First comes our love of God.