I’m sure many of us are familiar with Proverbs 31, even if you’ve never studied this chapter in-depth before. Perhaps you’ve heard people talking about being a “Proverbs 31 woman” or have seen someone’s social media username as “prov31girl.” Maybe around Mother’s Day, you’ve noticed greeting cards that include a portion of this Scripture passage, extolling the virtue and beauty of a woman, mother, wife, daughter as she lives in a way that this chapter seems to describe.
But what if you’re not a wife or mother? Or maybe you are, but it’s been a while since you’ve had someone praise you or rise up and call you blessed.
I’d like us to consider for a moment that there is more behind this passage than recognizing a woman for her relationship status, daily activities, life accomplishments, or stage of life.
You might be a young woman still in high school, years away from finding yourself in the role of wife or mother, and still have this passage have relevance to the stage of life you are in today.
Or you could be a woman who finds herself single at an age she never thought she’d be single or feeling the sting of not having children to hold in your arms. Maybe your season of life right now does not afford you the opportunity or income to start business ventures or maybe you have no idea how to sew a button on a shirt.
I’m sure you can see my point that God did not intend for us to read through this chapter as a literal checklist for what validates a person and sets them apart as having a noble character.
When we read this chapter, God is giving us imagery we can dig into and discover that what noble character looks like is more about our heart’s posture than it is about life milestones or actions. Because it’s a matter of the heart, we can be women of noble character at any stage or season of life.
A woman who fears the Lord. This is where we begin. Out of learning what it looks like to fear the Lord, we find wisdom begins to take shape in our lives.
Fearing the Lord begins in our hearts. It is having reverence and awe for God that impacts and leads the way we live out every part of our life. It’s what it looks like when we respect and honor God, we obey His Word, live according to His ways, and worship Him with our lives.
When we understand who God is, when we spend time in His Word and grow in relationship with Him, it develops a reverential desire within us that naturally wants to please Him. It gives us understanding and insight that His ways are higher than ours, His ways are perfect, His ways bring life and lead us in righteousness. This fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom, discernment, knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).
We listen for His Spirit to guide us in decisions. We learn how to navigate relationships with our loved ones. We are wise with our time and resources. We speak words that bring life and kindness and grace. Our lives begin to take shape with a noble character that stands out and causes the world to take notice. It’s what makes others around us begin to say, “there’s something different about her,” something beautiful and attractive that goes beyond surface beauty or external accomplishments.
Fearing the Lord permeates through every part of our lives, both our spiritual walk and through the outflow of our practical day-to-day lives in beautiful ways.
This is the Beautifully Surrendered life: living with fear of the Lord in such a way that the people closest to us and those who observe from afar are impacted by our lives and our love, and can’t help but say, “Many daughters have done valiantly, but you have surpassed them all!” (Proverbs 31:29).
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