“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)
“I don’t like reading Proverbs 31 because no woman can live up to that.” I hear this often from women. I can see their point because the day isn’t long enough to accomplish everything that’s mentioned in those verses! Has anyone else wondered how on earth we even start aspiring to be this woman? And why should we even try? Even the author of this chapter says, "An excellent wife, who can find?" Yeah, where is she? We are constantly being told by the media and the people around us that we are not good enough, and most women today are desperately in need of refreshment and encouragement, not another list of things to do or be. Was Proverbs 31 written to be yet another list for us to measure up to?
Yes, and no. There is no denying that God has a set of standards and expectations He has placed for us. As children of God, we are to be living Christ like lives. As women, we are to be reflecting God's character by being virtuous women. Proverbs 31 may be seen as the outward results of a heart that is being transformed into Christlikeness, the observable image of a woman after God's own heart. The Proverbs 31 woman is not perfect, not would she claim to be. Humility is one thing that sets a godly woman apart. Just as Paul speaks of the fact that he has not attained perfection and is still pressing on towards the goal" in Philippians 3:12-14, we also are to be striving to be the woman that God intends us to be. This does not mean that we have to accomplish it all in one day. It does not mean that God expects us to be perfect. It means that we are living with a focus on becoming that woman, wife, and mother that God desires us to be and to be consistently growing towards that. a
A wise woman once said, "Who we are today is who we will become tomorrow." This shows the fluidity of the growing process. An excellent wife is not born on her wedding day. She becomes excellent step by step, year by year, by walking in the direction of excellence with the guidance of the Lord. This kind of worth does not simply fall upon you, it is cultivated over time. Trying to change into the person we want to be in five years in an overwhelming thought, but what about just being a little more like the person you want to be today? Just today. When we look at the situations we face today and consider how that woman we want to become would handle theses situations, that gives us not only a better idea of how to become the woman we know that God desires us to be, but is a task that seems a little more manageable.
It is also important to realize that attempting to be this woman apart from nourishing, sustaining, life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ is only going to lead to burnout and resentment. The story of Martha and Mary shows us that if we are not taking time to sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him speak to us personally, then we are missing the most important thing, the thing that gives us strength for the tasks of the day, enables us to maintain and nurture the relationships in our lives, and to play the roles that we are daily required to play.
Mary was not being lazy when she spent time with Jesus. She was most likely taking time from her busy day of responsibilities to do what was foundational for everything else she did. She was soaking in the love of Christ. The heart of a Proverbs 31 woman is the type of heart that Jesus had, and wants to develop in us as well.
Let him do work in your life and listen for him to give you guidance throughout the day. Let him lavish you with his love so that you are full, healthy and able to give the same care to your husband and children that He desires to give to you.
Now that we see that the idea is to be on a journey of allowing God to work in your life in a way that transforms you into his image, and that gaining the strength for that journey comes from and intimate and nourishing relationship with our Lord and Savior
In the end, to be an excellent wife, is impossible without 2 things: fear of the Lord and a husband*. To fear the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), and it is also the only thing that would motivate someone to work that hard to be a blessing to their spouse. Her reward? Blessings money could never buy and no shopping trip could compare with. The ability to smile at the future. Children who rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28). And the praise of her husband:
Many daughters have done nobly,
"But you excel them all". — Proverbs 31:29
Any Christian woman that has a heart to obey God can become an excellent wife.
"Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14