Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Virtuous Woman

Written for my girls' group, January 2014

Dear ladies,

I want to tell you something.  I believe the Lord gave this to me.  And I hope, through me, He might give you something from it as well.

Before I get into it though, I first want to urge you to read the book of Proverbs, and pray for wisdom.  Throughout Proverbs we are given pictures of wisdom and folly as two women, each crying in the streets to whoever will listen to them.  One cries, “I know what you need, and if you listen to me, you will be blessed!”  And the other cries, “I know what you want, and I can give it to you. Just come and take it. Listen to me!”  Proverbs teaches you which voice to heed, and by its wisdom, teaches you how to know the two voices for what they are.  One is a voice that will lead you to your best life (wisdom) - and the other is a voice that will destroy your life (folly).  Choose wisely, ladies.  You will always be listening to one of these voices; please make sure it is the right one.

I would beg you, for your own good, as the woman called wisdom in the book of Proverbs does - To desire wisdom and search for it.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.“

So ladies, ask Him.  He will give it to you if you ask for it.  And don’t ever cease to remember, it is sourced in God, it is not a one-time, I-know-everything-now-forever kind of gift.  Wisdom comes from the Lord, and if you cease looking to Him, you will cease to find wisdom.  So seek, and you will find.  Ask, and it will be given to you.  And be persistent - This is a good gift you should ask for every day for the rest of your life.

That said, on to my thoughts on being a virtuous woman…

A little while ago, I was sitting down to read, write, and listen to the Lord.  And as went to sit down, the opening words of Proverbs 31 played through my mind:

Proverbs 31:10 - “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (KJV)

I had not been thinking on this prior… In fact, I think I was planning to read in the book of Acts that night, not in Proverbs.  Yet, there the words were in my head, out of the blue; and because they were there, I began to ponder them.
“A virtuous woman…”  Virtue.  What is virtue?  Again, another piece of Scripture played through my mind:
Galations 5:22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (ESV)
These are virtues, and by reading Proverbs 31, they are virtues this woman seems to have.  And here we learn, they are obtained through the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives.
I continued, again, on the same words…
Proverbs 31:10 - “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (KJV)

Every girl wants to believe that she is valuable.  Precious.  A jewel.  A ruby.  And every girl is.  We have all been made who we are, how we are, by a master Creator.  We know that God loves us; the Bible is full of passages to affirm that.  We are created by Him and loved by Him, which shows its depth in the death of Jesus in our place. If this doesn’t show you that you are valuable, nothing will.  Your value is great, not because you earned it or ever could.  Your value is great because He gave you value at the cross of Christ.  He decided that you were valuable enough to pay the ultimate price - the most costly thing imaginable - In order to save you.  God loved you enough to buy you back from sin and death with the blood of His perfect Son.

So, yes, in His eyes, you are a jewel.  A ruby.  Worth it.  Wanted.  Loved. 

And yet, here we read, this woman of virtue… She has something more.  “Her price is far above rubies,” or, as the ESV says, “She is far more precious than jewels.”

What does she have that makes her so special?  Well, when we read the whole chapter, we learn that she is a woman who fears the Lord.  He lives inside of her, and because of Him, virtue is manifest in her life.  Not because she is more valuable than any other “Jewel” (any other woman) in and of herself, but because she has something FAR more valuable living inside of her and adorning her person. 

As you continue to read about this woman of virtue in Proverbs 31, you learn a bit of how she lives her life, how she puts others before herself, and how she is a blessing to all who know her.  We can learn a lot from her, from her example, from this description of the blessing she is.  Yet, while we can admire and learn from her qualities, let us not forget where they are sourced.  Take note of the opening and closing verses of this chapter: She is a woman of virtue, and she fears the Lord.  And THAT is far more precious than jewels.  

Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (KJV)

In light of this, I would like to encourage you - The next time you read Proverbs 31, rather than taking notes on all of the things that she DOES, and trying to act more like her… Take note of the reason that she does all of those things.  She is the woman that she is because she fears the Lord.  

Love the Lord your God, ladies.  Ask for wisdom.  Learn of HIM.  And as He lives in you, I think you will find… There is something inside of you that is far more precious than jewels.

Proverbs 31:30-31Favour 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.”  (KJV)
Let the reason that people praise you not be that you “Do all the right things,” but that you “Serve a great God.”  Let the reason you shine as a bright and precious gem not just be because “You’re a jewel” but because “You have virtue, which comes from the Lord.”  

Let the reason you are praised be because God is worthy of all glory, and the good inside of you, being far more precious than jewels, is His great work being manifest in your life.  

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