Monday, August 23, 2010

Becoming the Worthy Wife of Proverbs 31

(The blog hosting the weekly Far Above Rubies series about the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 has been taking a break these past few weeks, so I thought I would take this opportunity to post a related article that I wrote a while back. I was honored when my husband asked me to write this article to pair with an article he was writing about being worthy of the worthy wife. Here's the article I wrote from the perspective of a young woman learning how to become the worthy wife of Proverbs 31.)

Christian women often study, and rightly so, Proverbs 31:10-31 as an example of how we ought to live our lives. We read and study the characteristics of this woman who is described as rare and valuable, but how can we put these characteristics in practice? How do we become the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31? Principally, to become a virtuous wife a woman must fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:30). In Proverbs 1:7 Solomon writes: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” When we fear the Lord, we give Him honor, and we obey the commands found in His Word. When our lives are founded upon serving the Lord, we ought to be able to lead lives like that of the worthy woman.

The qualities of the virtuous wife described throughout Proverbs 31:10-31 originate from her desire to serve the Lord. She puts others first, taking care of their needs (Proverbs 31:15, 20, 27). She works very hard, inside her household and outside her household (Proverbs 31:13-22; 24; 27); and because she works hard, she does not have to worry about not providing the things her family needs (Proverbs 31:21). As young women, we should have hands that are busy with work that profits our husband and children as well others around us; we should not be lazy. We should demonstrate the work ethic described in Colossians 3:23-24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

The virtuous wife is trustworthy: an asset, not a burden, to her husband (Proverbs 31:11-12). Although trust should be a foundation in a marriage, a young wife must build up her husband’s trust by doing him good and not evil, putting others first, and working hard (1 Peter 3:1-6, Philippians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Ecclesiastes 9:10). The virtuous wife is also careful and kind in her speech (Proverbs 31:26). We must learn to use wisdom in our words as described in Proverbs 15:1-2: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” We must gain control of our tongue and speak with goodness as illustrated in Proverbs 16:23-24: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Becoming the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is not a simple, quick, or easy task. If being the virtuous wife was a simple task, she would not be considered as rare and valuable as rubies (Proverbs 31:10). It is something that we must constantly be working towards in our lives. As younger women we should look to the older women for guidance, as Paul instructs the older women to teach the younger women in these areas (Titus 2:3-5).We should also continually look to God’s Word for guidance, seeking to do His commands all the days of our lives (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). When we seek to do His commands we will exhibit the characteristics of the rare woman described in Proverbs 31. The virtuous wife’s worth is based on the fact that she fears the Lord, and the way she lives her life because she fears the Lord.

(If you'd like to read my posts so far in the Far Above Rubies series, click here!)