by Barbara Latta
Do you groan every time you read the 31st chapter of Proverbs?
Does that out-of-reach pinnacle persecute your self-esteem?
We read about this woman who appears to have no faults. She works night and day and never makes a mistake. She makes money, she is kind, and she is praised.
The comparison demon tells us we don’t measure up so why try.
But is the Proverbs 31 woman perfect?
Several qualities are listed in this chapter, and this is how I see myself up next to her perceived perfection.
She prepares for times of lack. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. (v. 21)
Me: Mine was clothed with Wal-Mart.
She provides for her household and the poor. She also rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants…She extends her hands to the poor (Proverbs 31:15, 20 NKJV)
Me: Sometimes I sleep too late, and we eat Cheerios. Maid servant, are you kidding? But I do remember the poor.
Her: She profits from her work. She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. (v. 16)
Me: My home-based business fell into the red and my plants died.
She fears the Lord. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. (v.30)
Me: Hallelujah, I do fear the Lord!
And this is the key—to fear the Lord.
The Bible tells us we have all sinned, so we know this woman was not perfect. Only our Lord is perfect (Romans 3:23). Her good qualities are focused on, but her faults are not exposed.
I would think there were times she got tired from all this work. Opportunities for anger and lack of patience would have faced her because dealing with people exposes differing personalities. Some days maybe she didn’t praise the Lord like she should have. Profits may have been slim on business transactions when she dealt with a cheat.
She was as human as you and I.
The Proverbs 31 woman is credited with all these amazing qualities because she fears the Lord. And we as Titus 2 women and daughters of God, whether single or married, have the righteousness of Christ in us.
This is how the Father sees us as His daughters. The Lord your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)
When we fail, sin, act out of tiredness or impatience, we do exhibit wrong behaviors; but our Father sees the Christ in us, not our failures. This puts us in the same category as this icon of virtue.
We have times when we perform the same activities the Proverbs 31 woman does, but with various methods.
- We prepare for lack when we look to the future. We save money, stockpile food (even if it’s Cheerios), or prepare clothes and homes for the coming winter or spring.
- We may rise early for Bible study, to prepare meals, get kids off to school, and drive to our own places of employment; or if we are stay-at-home moms, we work as caretakers of our own homes (the hardest job of all).
- We profit from the work we do when we receive a salary. But we also profit from work through satisfaction of a job well done. A clean house, an organized closet, or a child we corrected who finally got it.
- We do receive praise and accolades from our husbands, children, and friends at times.
Honoring God is why those positive qualities shine in the Proverbs 31 woman's life and the reason her mistakes are not laid out for us to see.
In our Father’s eyes, we are all the Proverbs 31 woman. Even when we fail, we are still His daughters, and He rejoices over us with singing.
We are not called to compare ourselves to others. We are called to live according to the Savior’s standards.
During Women’s History Month, we can see ourselves as history makers. Because everything we do and say leaves an imprint on someone.
Our legacy may not be perfect, but it will be positive when we walk under the control of the Holy Spirit.
What would you like to share? Join the conversation.