Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

Do you ever feel intimidated by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31?  I sure have!  She was the model of perfection.

I remember going through a time when I couldn’t seem to do anything right.  I went to cut off a pair of Rachel’s pants to make Capri’s out of them.  I cut the same leg twice!

Another time I got really energetic and was trying to do some in-depth cleaning.  In my haste to get as much accomplished before my energy level dropped, I used the wrong cleaner on a door and ruined the finish.  Shortly thereafter, I ruined our evening meal.

Everything within me was screaming, “YOU ARE A FAILURE!”  I had to stop and tell myself the truth.  While Rachel was not going to have Capri’s from that one pair of pants, she was able to have a pair of shorts.

So maybe the finish on the door was ruined, but that is something which can easily be corrected.  Plus, I looked at all of the other things I accomplished that day.  I wasn’t a failure!  Actually, I was quite productive!

I ruined one meal out of how many?  In other words, that meal was a failure, not me.

Now back to that virtuous woman….She may appear to be the model of perfection.  In reality, she had mastered being perfect as our Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) In this verse, “perfect” means mature.  The virtuous woman learned not to let mistakes master her.  She learned what she could from them, and that is what made her perfect.

Instead of being intimidated by her example, we need to follow her example.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

Housework – The Thankless Job

Housework – the thankless job

We clean and we clean, and nothing ever stays done.  We clean and we clean, and no one ever seems to appreciate it.  It’s easy to cop a bad attitude if you dwell on that fact.

God has placed us in our homes to be homeworkers, and we need to keep our focus in the right direction.  Psalm 16:6 says that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage. (Amp. Bible)  Do you really believe that the lines have fallen in good places for you — even while you are doing housework — the job that seems so “thankless”?

Jesus calls us to be faithful in the small things. Luke 16:10 says that he who is faithful in the very little things is faithful in much.  Sometimes the small things for us may be cleaning the toilet, wiping a runny nose, filling up a sippy cup, or taking out the trash.  You see, those “little things” do matter to God.  God entrusts the little things to our care to teach each of us faithfulness in bigger things.  He also wants you to see how even those little things can have an eternal effect.

Matt. 25:34-36 says “…for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me.” (NIV)
Think of it this way:  When you give your child a bath, you do it for Jesus.
When you scrub the stains that are so often on the clothing of small children, you do it for Jesus.  When you sew a button on hubby’s shirt, you do it for Jesus.  Even speaking a word of encouragement to someone can have an eternal impact.

A word of caution though – Col. 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord, as a reward.  It is the Lord you are serving.”  (NIV)  So, what is your motive and your attitude when you do these “little things”?  If we grumble and complain, or do it to receive the applause of man, we can’t expect a reward.

Let’s look at some of the things which Jesus did.
1.   He helped to settle arguments between people.  (Mk 9:34-35)  Any mothers out there who have done that recently?  🙂
2.   He served a meal to others. (Jn. 6:11)
3.   He even cleaned house, so to speak.  (Jn. 2:15-16)
4.   He washed feet.  (Jn. 13:5)
Do you see it?  Jesus did the SAME LITTLE THINGS which we are doing, and we get the privilege of doing them on a daily basis!

Get this in your spirit, and remember that when you are cleaning the house, you are doing it for Jesus, and He does care that you are doing it, He does see that you are doing it, and He does appreciate that you are doing it, as long as you do it with a joyful heart, and with the right motive.  I had to learn this recently because I was really getting a bad attitude.  It has really changed my way of thinking.  I have a whole new attitude when I approach housework now, and it is absolutely wonderful!

That’s all for this time.  I think I’ll go scrub a toilet!  🙂

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 31 e-book

 

Proverbs 31:30-31

Proverbs 31:30-31

AMP: Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain (because it is not lasting), but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates of the city.

CEV: Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.  Show her respect — praise her in public for what she has done.

MSG: Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  Give her everything she deserves!  Festoon her with praises!

We have studied many verses regarding this dear lady, and we find that only one verse is dedicated to talking to the outer beauty of women.  That is one verse out of twenty two verses.  One dear sister gave me a good way to put this into perspective.  There are 24 hours in a day, so we should only be spending one of those hours in concentrated effort to exercise, shower, do our hair, and our make-up.  This gives us a better perspective regarding the status of outward beauty verses the inward beauty.

Our Proverbs 31 lady has learned the value of having that unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  She knows that her outer beauty will fade.  She knew that she would develop wrinkles, and have added pounds due to bearing many children, not to mention from the transition of going through menopause.  She knew that gray would eventually take over as her primary hair color.  She was wise enough to invest in unfading beauty, rather than the beauty which is fleeting.

This is a woman who is well-balanced.  She has made God her very top priority.  Putting Christ first has enabled her to get all of the other things in life in the right order.  All of the good that is in her is a result of the Christ who dwells in her heart.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Thank you for joining in on this study.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Proverbs 31:28-29

 

 

 

Proverbs 31:28-29

CEV: Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, “There are many good women, but you are the best.”
MSG: Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!”
AMP: Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), and her husband boasts of and praises her, saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well (with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness), but you excel them all.”

This woman has gained the respect of those who matter most — her husband and her children. Her words and her actions, which were godly in nature, have earned her that respect. (Prov. 11:16)

How many times have you seen a woman who has worked hard, trying to earn the praise of men, while neglecting her husband and her children? Some have fallen into the trap of wanting to ‘have it all’ — the nice house, fancy car, designer clothes, fine jewels, only to find that they ‘lose it all.’ Her husband is disgusted with her selfish pursuits and her constant nagging for more ‘things.’ The children are so unruly that mom has no control over them. She gets no respect from them because she has failed to be busy at home, carefully managing the household. She hasn’t kept her lamp filled with fresh oil, enabling her to have something worthwhile to speak to her family. Nor has she allowed herself the blessedness that comes from trying to do her husband good, and not harm. She’s worked vigorously, but for all of the wrong things. While her trading may have seemed profitable for a very short season, she now finds herself disillusioned and feeling empty. She may receive many compliments and praises from others regarding her beautiful home, fancy car, nice clothing, etc., only to discover that her husband and children have aren’t singing her praises. In fact, they hardly talk to her because she has failed to make them a priority in her life. Because of her selfish pursuits, she has missed out on hearing praise coming from those who should matter the most — her husband and her children.

Whose applause do you desire?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

Proverbs 31:27

Proverbs 31:27

AMP: She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat. 

CEV: She takes good care of her family and is never lazy.

MSG: She keeps an eye on everyone in her household and keeps them all busy and productive.

In looking at Titus 2:5, I see that we are to be self-controlled and pure.  Part of being self-controlled is learning to be busy at home, as opposed to being a busybody.  I don’t know about you, but I have a very hard time being self-controlled in many areas.  What about the call to be pure?  That isn’t possible to achieve without God’s help. Once again, we learn from this lady that it is imperative to spend time with the Lord.

I think many of us could admit to having some difficulty in learning to discern the difference between being idle and relaxing, and the  difference between being productive and being busy.  Afraid of being idle, we tend to run in high gear all the time.  Busy, busy, busy.  Yet, much of what we accomplished during that time could have, or should have, been left undone to pursue more relaxed activity.  That is why it’s so important for us to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit, letting Him help us to stay on top of the things which really do matter.  How many times do we find ourselves with a huge pile of ‘stuff,’ only to realize that it doesn’t amount to anything when measured against the eternal value of it all?

We can’t possibly be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, managing the home, and keeping an eye on everyone in the home without God’s help!  Let’s take a look at some of the many ‘hats’ we are called to wear:

Arbitrator, arrow polisher, Ambassador for the King, bookkeeper, construction worker (we are building a godly generation), counselor, chauffeur, children’s pastor, coach, cheerleader, dietitian, Director or Home Affairs, entertainer, educator, First Lady of the Home, fashion consultant, investigator, janitor, judge, librarian, movie critic, nurse, nutritionist, psychologist, personnel manager, referee, switchboard operator, security guard, shepherd (shepherding you own flock), time management expert, and warrior (fighting spiritual battles in prayer).

Seeing the above list makes me tired, just thinking about it!  Yet, this Proverbs 31 woman was a woman, just like us.  The secret to her ability and success in taking good care of her family and managing her household was learning to be dependent upon the Lord.

Are you dependent upon Him?  Or are you dependent upon yourself?

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

Proverbs 31:26

Proverbs 31:26

AMP: She opens her mouth in skillful and godly wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness (giving counsel and instruction).

MSG: When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.

CEV: Her words are sensible, and her advice is thoughtful.

The Message Version reminds me of a saying I often heard my mother telling us when we were young. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Another thing I noticed is that it says ‘when she speaks,’ indicating that she didn’t always have to be blabbing, letting her opinion be known on every issue.  Nor did she find it necessary to always have the last word.

Some of us have a hard time letting go of an issue when we know that we are right.  We just can’t let the issue go!  What we find happening here is that in our desire to prove that we were right all along, we become wrong — wrong in our attitude, our speech, our thoughts, our motives, and our character.  Is it really so important for us to be proven right that we are willing to sacrifice these other things?  The Proverbs woman didn’t think so.  That’s why the words she spoke were kind, thoughtful, and sensible.  She knew her words were a gift — to be used to give counsel and instruction.  She had learned that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. (Ecc. 3:7) She knew the wisdom of being quick to hear and slow to speak. (Jas. 1:19) She has made the choice to let her words be a fountain of life. (Pr. 10:11)

Jesus told us that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.  We can see here that she has taken the time to invest in her spiritual life, keeping the oil in her lamp full, allowing God to help her speak words that will grace the ears of those who hear.

Would you rather be right or righteous?

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

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