We’re walking through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ Bible study on being a true woman of God. I thought we all would benefit from her wisdom.
Does being a true woman mean you’re perfect? Hardly! A true woman is simply different from most, but it’s those differences that are the secret of her great influence.
It’s more important that you model humility than that you model perfection.
As you allow yourself to be made and molded into the image of God’s kind of woman, you will function at peace and at rest-not without problems-but with joy.
Do you want your husband to be a man of virtue, a noble man, a man of spiritual strength and character? Then set out not to change him, but to be the kind of woman with the kind of character that you want him to have.
Does being a virtuous woman mean you have to be perfect?
You know, it’s more important in your home and in your marriage that you model humility than that you model perfection. Your husband and your children already know you’re not perfect. They’re just looking for you to admit it, to acknowledge it when you do blow it.
Do you ever read Proverbs 31 and feel like giving up? The description of a virtuous woman we read there can seem intimidating, but there’s good news. Even if Proverbs 31 doesn’t describe you currently, it still could, thanks to God’s forgiveness.
Matthew Henry, said that the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 is a looking-glass for ladies that we should desire to look into and to dress ourselves by it. We’ve been reminding each other that, even though this lengthy, detailed description can seem overwhelming and intimidating to those of us who still have feet of clay and are not yet glorified, yet we ought to be encouraged because we know that as women of God, if we’re allowing God to work in our lives, He is sanctifying us.
He is molding us. He’s shaping us. He’s pruning us. He’s making us into this kind of woman who reflects the beauty and the image of the Lord Jesus, for indeed it really is His portrait that we’re looking at here. We’re seeing His heart, His character, His beauty in this picture.
We pick up at verse ten, and we read that very familiar verse, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” “Who can find a virtuous wife?” Some of your translations say, “an excellent wife.” Some of them say, “a wife of noble character.”
That word virtuous or excellent is a difficult word to translate from the original Hebrew language. The word has to do with strength. It’s often translated “army” or “wealth.” It’s talking about a woman of moral strength, a woman whose character is strong.
A woman who has godly character is a strong woman. The world would have us think that a godly woman is a weak woman who just gets run over, and she never has any opinions, never has any thoughts, never says anything. This is how the world would caricature the godly woman.
The world has it all wrong. The godly woman is a strong woman. She’s able. She’s valiant. She’s a woman of valor.
Now the New King James Version that I just read says this is a virtuous wife, but the word translated wife there, in some of your translations reads “woman,” and that’s also an acceptable translation.
We’re reading here about a woman who happens to be a wife (it becomes obvious as we see her described), but the word translated wife or woman here is just a word for female. I want to point that out because this passage is not just for married women, although as we’ll see, this woman is, in fact, obviously married. But whether married or single, you and I can be excellent, virtuous women.
If you are married, let me point out that this woman is a wife before she is a mother. The children come later, not only in order, but also in order of priority. Her most important human relationship is with her husband. Here is a woman who delights to be a wife.
Now she does have her own personality, her own gifts, and her own strengths, but she is inseparably bound as one to her husband. She’s not ashamed of that. She’s not embarrassed to be his wife. She’s not embarrassed to have her achievements stated in those terms.
Now as we read through this passage over the next days and weeks, we’re going to see that this woman has a strength of character that produces certain other strengths in her life. Her abilities, her habits, her lifestyle—flow out of this strength of character, this virtue, this excellence that characterizes this woman.
Remember that this passage is the words of King Lemuel recalling the words that his mother taught him when he was a young prince. His mother taught him, “Son, this is what to look for in a wife. When it’s time to get married, make sure that these qualities are in place. Look for strength of character and heart and walk with God.”
You’ll notice in Proverbs 31, what’s absent from this description largely, and that is physical traits. Now we’ll talk later in the series about why that may be absent, but we don’t know that she was a woman of wealth. We don’t know what kind of background she came from. We’re seeing the priority here in selecting a mate—and you need to be teaching this to your sons—is to look for a woman who has a heart for God.
Now there’s no sin in her being physically beautiful, but if that’s the primary thing that attracts him to his wife-to-be, this passage is going to tell us that beauty will not last. It won’t last till old age, and it may not last till then. What will you have then in your wife? Will you have a woman of character, the kind of character that endures.
There’s a present, ongoing sense that we are becoming this kind of woman. It’s progressive. It’s the outworking and the development of what God has already put in our hearts if we are children of God—cultivating who and what we are in Christ.
~It is a work in progress~
That’s why when you fall, when you blow it, when you get discouraged about your seeming lack of progress, you can pick yourself up and go on by God’s grace, knowing that this is a process. There’s growth involved here, and that’s okay. That’s true of every woman. You look at the most godly woman you know, and she considers herself still very much in process. She’s still growing, still developing.
Then there’s that hope, and aren’t you glad for that hope that one day I will look like the picture in this looking glass? You will, too. If we’re allowing God to have His way in our lives today, this is not a standard that we will never be able to match. It’s a standard that God is committing to conforming us to. He will perfect that which concerns us. “He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (KJV). He will bring it to completion.
As you read this passage, don’t get despondent. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Say, “Yes! I’m in process. This is what I’m becoming. This is what God is making me.” Look forward.
The Scripture says, “The righteous man falls down seven times” (Proverbs 24:16). Sometimes I think that may be a day or even an hour. He falls down seven times, and what does he do? He gets up again each time.
You say, “I’ve blown it. I just haven’t had that servant’s heart. I haven’t been that kind of devoted wife. I haven’t been committed to my home and family as I ought to have been and the qualities we’re going to see in this woman.”
Well, get up. Repent. Get new grace and go on. Let God continue to take you in that process of molding and making you like His Son, Jesus.
FOR TODAY: Let’s take Nancy’s advice and become humble before our God, putting aside the pride of the world and yearning after the humility of a Godly women.
“Father, help us to not get discouraged on our journey to becoming like your son Jesus Christ, but to come before you, realizing we are but dust and that you can create a spiritual change within us. We know that through your Holy Spirit we can become like you in all things. We thank you for your promises that You can do all things through Jesus Christ. Amen”