By guest writer, Katie Pearson
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” - Proverbs 31:10-31
To be completely honest, when I first read this passage of Scripture, I was a young woman pursuing a relationship with Jesus after a painful divorce. Reading this portrait of a woman of God left me deflated, and anxious that I could never measure up to his ideal. But here’s the truth: in my spiritual immaturity, I only saw her success as defined by earthly things like a successful job, popularity, and appearance. I completely missed the point of the passage, which is the importance of virtue and character.
What is defining you in this season of your life? What do you believe makes you important? Even holy? Honestly, it’s not what you do, even in ministry. God is far more concerned with your heart and relationship with him. The influence you have on others, for good or bad—even better or best—is a direct result of your connection to the One who defines you. His standards aren’t based on your skill set, gifting, personality, or performance.
Instead, these are the words that define the identity of every believer and should shape and mold us into men and women who reflect Christ wherever we set foot: beloved, chosen, called, redeemed, restored, forgiven, free... what else?
When we see ourselves as God does, then and only then can we live in reverence, or “fear of the Lord” (v. 30). Everything shifts and we begin to live on purpose and lead with love, not an agenda. The Proverbs 31 woman inherently owns her true identity in Christ first, then freely enjoys the tasks at hand because they don’t define her. They are just opportunities to participate with God’s Spirit in serving others.
The Proverbs 31 example isn’t just for wives, or even women for that matter; it’s for all of us who want to become disciples who reflect Christ wherever we are called to set foot. It’s about where we place value, and how we are transformed as a result.
Where is God calling you to serve today? How can you show up as his son or daughter above all other titles or definitions? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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