Today is Mother’s Day! For many of us, we have enjoyed spending quality time with our moms, aunts, and grandmothers. Whether we do good or bad, it is nice to know that these women love us and want the best for our life.
One day, a little girl noticed a few strands of grey hair on top of her mother’s head. She asked her mom, “Why are some of your hairs grey, Mom?” The little girl’s mother responded, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me upset, one of my hairs turns grey.” The little girl thought to herself for a moment and then asked, “Mom, how come all of grandma’s hairs are grey?”
I’m sure that we have all put some grey hairs on our parent’s head from time to time. As a matter of fact, no one is perfect, not even our mothers. Yet, the Bible teaches that being a virtuous woman is of great value. Since this weekend is Mother’s Day, let us reflect upon the characteristics of a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.
"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" (Prov. 31:10-31 ESV).
In verses 10-31, Solomon teaches his young son that an excellent woman strives to please and honor the Lord in all areas of her life. According to Solomon, there are five key areas in which a virtuous woman strives to please and honor the Lord.
1. In Her Marriage (vs. 10-12)
In verses 10-12, our author describes the marriage of a virtuous woman. The author is not shy about asking the rhetorical question, who can find an excellent or virtuous wife (vs. 10)? The author is not saying that it is impossible to find a virtuous woman. However, finding a godly woman that pleases and honors the Lord in all areas of life is not easy.
In her marriage, a godly woman strives to keep her husband’s best interest at heart (vs. 11-12). Her husband trusts her and is not worried what she is doing while he is away on business. The virtuous woman seeks to do her husband good and not harm.
2. In Her Behavior (vs. 13-24)
In verses 13-24, our author describes the behavior of a virtuous woman. A godly woman is a hard worker that takes care of those within her home as well as outside her home. During biblical times, women were known for working with their hands. Before modern day sewing machines, women spent many hours sewing and making clothes. A woman’s faithfulness to her work was a mark of feminine virtue.
3. In Her Character (vs. 25-27)
In verses 25-27, the author describes the character of a godly woman. First, a virtuous woman knows when it is time to be serious and when it is time to laugh (vs. 25). There have been times when many of us should have taken a certain situation more seriously. Other times, we should have laughed and been more free-spirited. If a woman is growing in wisdom, then she will be able to discern the right attitude for the right situation.
Second, a virtuous woman is selective with her words (vs. 26). The Bible teaches that a person should listen first and then speak (Ja. 1:19). When we speak, it’s like squeezing out toothpaste on a toothbrush. Once words leave our mouth, there is no way we can take them back. Therefore, we all need to learn to be more selective with our speech.
Finally, a virtuous woman looks after her household (vs. 27). An excellent wife takes care of her household and uses her time wisely. A virtuous woman does not waste time. She has her day organized and makes the right decisions regarding her time.
4. In Her Family Life (vs. 28-29)
In verses 28-29, we see the family life of an excellent woman. For the one who rises early in order to take care of others, now becomes the central concern for those who are close to her. A virtuous woman is blessed by her children (vs. 28a). She is honored by those who know her best. Her children bless her by reinforcing the fact that she is living her life as the Creator intended her to live.
Also, a virtuous woman is praised by her husband (vs. 28b). Knowing her weaknesses, she is praised by her husband. A husband has the best understanding of his wife’s family life. He sees everything that she does in the home. This does not mean that a godly woman must be perfect. Knowing her imperfections, this woman’s husband still says, “Honey, you are the best woman in the whole wide world!”
5. In Her Spiritual Life (vs. 30-31)
In verses 30-31, the author describes the spiritual life of an excellent woman. For men, your priority is to find a woman who fears the Lord (vs. 30). The Bible teaches that believers should not marry unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). Therefore, if you are Christian, then you must search for a godly person to marry.
Personality and looks are not unimportant, but they can be deceitful and vain. While beauty may fade, a woman’s love for her Lord will not fade. Instead, a genuine woman of the Lord will be growing in her spiritual life. If she fears the Lord, it means that she will live according to the wisdom that is found in the book of Proverbs. And it is a woman, who fears of the Lord, that is to be praised and sought after.
For women, your priority is to fear the Lord and work hard (vs. 31). A hard-working attitude is overflows from a heart that fears the Lord. If your passion is to please your Creator, then you will be characterized by hard work and fruitful labor. Jesus mentioned, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). An excellent woman’s hard work pays off with the praise of her works and the praise of those around her.
If you read Proverbs 31 and realize that it is impossible to be a virtuous woman, then you are correct. Yet, this passage is not speaking about a specific woman. Rather, Proverbs 31 describes the ideal woman of God. If you are struggling to know what it looks like to be a godly Christian woman, then Proverbs 31 is a great place to start.
Also, it is impossible for any woman outside of Christ to live a godly and virtuous life. Therefore, in order to be a “Proverbs 31 Woman” you must first have a relationship with Jesus. If you want a relationship with Jesus, all you have to do is simply confess your sins, repent, and trust in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Having Jesus in your life is the first step to becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.
To all of the women that I helped give “grey hair,” - my mom, aunts, grandmothers, and teachers - I would like to say thank you for teaching me to love the Lord. I also want to thank everyone for teaching me to be responsible.
Finally, I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful wife! She is a living example of being a Proverbs 31 woman. My wife is a hard worker that loves the Lord and her family. I would not be where I am today if it was not for the Lord and my wife. I’m successful only because she is successful. I am so thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be together for fourteen blissful years. May God bless each and every woman this Mother’s Day weekend!
1. Regarding your marriage, ask your husband in what ways do you make him feel good. Also, ask your husband in what 3 areas need improvement. Focus on improving one key area of your marriage over the next 30 days.
2. Regarding your behavior, would your family describe you as a cheerful worker? Or do you resent having to take care of your family? This week memorize Colossians 3:23-24. When you find yourself upset, you will be able to battle Satan with God’s Word.
3. Regarding your character, are you able to discern the right attitude for the right situation? Are you able to discern with wisdom the right words to say at the right time? Do you spend more time in front of the mirror, phone, or television rather than in front of God’s Word? This week spend 5 minutes less of your time in front of the mirror, phone, or television and spend 5 minutes more in front of God’s Word.
4. Regarding your family life, ask your children or husband: “What three things do you wish I did more of?” Then pick one of the three wishes and work on improving in that area over the next 30 days.
5. Regarding your spiritual life, are you a woman that fears the Lord? What area of your spiritual life needs work (prayer, reading your Bible, evangelism, hospitality, character, attitudes, etc.)? Commit to working on one key area of your spiritual life for the next 30 days.