In my devotions today I read the passage of scripture in Proverbs that referred to the virtuous woman. (Proverbs 31) In reading and studying this passage, which I am sure was God led, He has a way of always know what we need, after all, He IS God, I got to thinking…..Am I a virtuous woman in God’s eyes, in my husband’s, in my children’s. I think I am always striving in ways to improve the way I live my life, reading everything I can get my hands on. ( I highly recommend the book The Submissive Wife). After reading this mornings passage, for the first time I saw a new light on what the word virtue meant.
First the “definition”. Virtue comes from the Latin word virtues, meaning strength, worth, and manliness. From dictionary.com, 1. Having or showing virtue, especially moral excellence; 2. Possessing or characterized by chastity; pure.
The virtuous woman was obviously VERY capable in her own right, and yet that is not the primary addition made on her life. She moved in the public arena to a certain extent, and yet that is not her highest praise. When the virtues of her life are praised, several stand out above all others. Her priorities are very apparent. These priorities are very revealing, and should always be our model much more than any of the particulars of her day to day life. They are, not surprisingly, her relationship with the Lord, her husband, and her children. The Fear of the Lord is listed in verse 30 as the guiding principle of her life. More than personal charm and beauty, more than wit, wealth, education, pleasure; more than her own name or position; more even than the love of her family, was that she valued the honor and approval of God. That is what compelled her to serve, to give, to minister, and to place the needs of others before her own. That is what calmed her tongue and filled her with strength and what kept her going in rough times, which I am sure she had her share. She is strong because God renews her strength, kind because His mercy has forgiven her, wise because His Word dwells within her, hard at work because her Father works through her. She knows she is already valued and so she has no need to fight for “her place in the sun”. Her needs being met, she is content, and would be so even if widowed or childless, famous or forgotten by man. Pleasing the Lord is her chief delight, and she lives her life unto Him, knowing He sees her always.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her, verse 11 says, so that he doesn’t feel lacking or needy. She does him good, never evil, and he knows and is secure in that. She is valuable to him and somehow makes him more successful, and well respected than he would be without her. He loves her, honors her, publicly praises her, and even more so at the end of their life together than in the beginning. He feels that his life has been good and that she has been the best part of it for him. Her story begins and ends with him and he is twined all the way through her daily life. She can only accomplish this by putting God first in her life. She is secure and strong in the Lord that she can extend to her husband the acceptance, forgiveness, and security that she has found, even in times when he may not deserve it. If she were depending upon her husband for the love, joy, peace, and acceptance that can only come from the Lord, she would be robbing, not giving to, the relationship.
Thus, a virtuous woman, though certainly not masculine, is also not the old social stereotype of weak and helpless. She is someone who is content and comfortable with her God-given womanhood, truly feminine, and a strong helpmate.The virtuous woman cannot depend upon society or even on the church for her identity. For that matter her husband cannot even define her identity. I think society and the church have shifted their views again and again on marriage, family life, manhood, womanhood, parenting, and the value of what a human being is. We must be anchored in the unchanging standard of the Word of God, His strength, His power, His goodness and excellence for Him.
The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 was a busy woman, hardworking; but it was not just what she did which defined her. Rather, it was who she was: a woman who feared the Lord. How she thought; her inner disciplines and maturity; her priorities; her human relationships — all derived from her walk with God. Her husband praised her as a wonderful wife and her children blessed her with grateful hearts. She had faithfully put things first in her life.
My daily prayer: Lord please be with me each and everyday as I rise in the morning and strive to do Your Will daily. I pray that I can be a good and virtuous wife and mother. Please provide me with the tools to continue to strive to do Your Will. I pray that You will give me understanding and guidance to show others how to walk in YourLight and make my home and heart a refuge and a safe place for those I love to rest their weary heads. Amen.