I’m a woman and the words “Proverbs 31 woman” make me cringe. Every Mother’s Day when the male pastors dust off their sermons about the Proverbs 31 woman, I check out. I wonder if they really understand what they are talking about. I roll my eyes at the thought of getting up everyday while it’s still dark outside and everyone is still sleeping to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for my household (Prov. 31:15). The thought of planting and maintaining a garden to feed my family on top of making everyone’s clothes makes my head spin. (Prov. 31:16-22). I suck my teeth at the thought of my husband sitting around doing nothing with his buddies who slyly slap him on the back for having a woman who does all the work (Prov. 31:28). This is 2015! I have a 9 to 5 outside of the house! And what about the single woman who doesn’t have children or a husband? I don’t see any mention of her. I think the Proverbs 31 standard is impossible to reach. I definitely don’t feel I reach it; I’m not even close. But I know God and I know He doesn’t direct us to do anything that we are unable to do. So, recently as I forced myself to read Proverbs 31 (I was doing a Proverbs 31-Day challenge), I asked God to help me. I asked for a revelation because something was wrong. This is what God revealed me.
A Proverbs 31 woman is a woman who knows God, has a relationship with Him and knows who she is in Him; she has a heart for God (v. 30). And because she does, she goes for God’s gold standard, excellence, at all times. She gladly gives – her time and her resources (v. 13-15, 20). She doesn’t squander the resources God gives her. She takes care of all God provides to her. She thinks and makes decisions wisely (v. 16-19, 21-22). She is a person others admire and not a source of gossip (v.10). She encourages others (v. 26). She knows her strength and confidence come from God. She knows she has a God-given purpose and is not ashamed to pursue it with gusto! People enjoy being around her and say complimentary things to others about her. People compliment her family members on what an awesome person she is and how lucky they are to have her in their life (v. 29-31).
Ahhhhh…. what a revelation! My reading of Proverbs 31:10-31 was too literal. My natural self had been reading it instead of my spiritual self and, of course, as the Word says, the scripture was foolishness to me (1 Corinthians 2:14). Now I know that Proverbs 31:10-31 is about a woman’s character. When a woman, whether married or single, spends time with God and in His Word, she develops a heart for God. When she develops a heart for God, she puts God first in her life. God, in turn, changes her from the inside out and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) become a genuine part of her nature (Galatians 5:22-23). With the fruit of the Spirit in operation, a woman becomes a Proverbs 31 woman.
Thank you Lord! Now I know I, and every other Christian woman, can be a Proverbs 31 woman. We each need to put God first (Matthew 6:31-33). How? By taking time to read and study His Word, to talk with Him regularly through prayer, and to take a moment before reacting to situations and put the fruit of the Spirit in play. We each need to rest in Him (Isaiah 30:15). How? By trusting God because He doesn’t lie (Numbers 23:19). He knew all about our situations and problems before they happened and has already worked them out in our favor (Romans 8:28). He even has perfect vengeance already in place for our enemies (Romans 12:14-21)! Be still and you will see it. We each need to allow Him to complete His work in us (Philippians 1:6). How? By accepting that we mess up from time to time but He freely forgives us each time, and by always moving to become a better person in Christ (Psalm 103:11-12; Isaiah 43:25; Philippians 3:12-14; 1 John 1:9). By doing what He says to do no matter how strange it might be to us. Most importantly, we each must know that God already sees each of us as a Proverbs 31 woman (Isaiah 46:10)!