Thursday, February 16, 2012

Biblical Femininity


After spending 2 days in jury duty, I am finally able to post again.  This post was supposed to immediately follow my post in feminism, but it was unavoidably delayed.  Today I want to talk about Biblical Femininity.  Today's scripture will be in Proverbs 31.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth [is] far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.  Proverbs 31:10-11 NKJV
I am writing this today to dispel any ideas that what I wrote about women was in any way meant to devalue women.  Many men take the idea that women being submissive means that they are doormats who are just supposed to lie down and take abuse.  Some men also believe that women are not just the weaker vessel, but that they are somehow weak.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Women have an invaluable role in our families.  In fact, we see here that her worth is far above rubies.  This is not to say that women have an actual value, this is just to use an illustration to show they are very valuable.  They are not doormats, but a valuable partner in your life.  They are a gift of God meant to be cherished.  They should be cared for above and beyond any earthly possession you can have.  They are God's child, entrusted by God into your care.  If you abuse that trust, you will be held accountable.  Just as women are entrusted to their husbands, so must husbands put their trust in their wives.  God has equipped them to do many things, if you trust in that you will gain. 
She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.  Proverbs 31:12 NKJV
God has just told us how valuable a virtuous wife is, now God is going to tell us what defines a virtuous wife.  For any women struggling with the definition of what femininity is, this is how God defines it.  It would do us all well to heed God's definition.  First of all, a virtuous wife does good for her husband all the days of her life.  This is rather obvious as you would think that someone virtuous would not do bad things to her husband.  This includes all the usual things such as disrespect, adultery, disobedience, abuse, and the like.  Please also note that good is also being strong enough to not join her husband in sin or encourage his sinful behavior should there be any.  While that may seem good in terms of marital harmony, it is never good in God's eyes to join or encourage someone in sin. 
She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.  Proverbs 31:13-15 NKJV
Essentially what this is saying is that a virtuous wife does the shopping and she does it well.  She seeks the wool and flax, she does not just buy the first that she sees.  She brings her food from afar, meaning it may not be the most convenient place to get it from.  She seeks out the best quality at the best price and does a tremendous job in saving money while supplying the needs of her family.  The last part basically says that the wife works hard to prepare meals for the family.  This is rather literal as my wife wakes up with me before the crack of dawn and makes me lunch for the day and coffee for the road.  Do not fail to appreciate the contributions your wife makes by shopping for the family and preparing food.  We sometimes take all she does for granted, but imagine if you did all of that yourself.
She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.  Proverbs 31:16 NKJV
A virtuous woman is also smart.  This example here is of a woman who buys a field for less money than it was worth, sold it for a profit, and invested that profit into a vineyard, which is profit-making property.  She was shrewd with her money, as any virtuous woman is.  I know many men live with wives who grumble at some of the foolish things us men do with money.  Do not ignore her grumbling, she probably knows what you plan is foolish.  God has given her a sense for those sorts of things.  I know that God has made men the leaders, but it would do us wise to use the wisdom God has given our wives in whether or not we are making wise financial decisions. 
She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise [is] good, And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 
She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household [is] clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing [is] fine linen and purple.  Proverbs 31:17-22 NKJV
A virtuous wife is strong.  She may be the weaker vessel, but she is far from weak.  She is still strong in the Lord.  She is confident in her decisions and knows that she has prepared her family to make it through hard times.  Her family is well equipped for good times and bad.  A virtuous wife is generous, having compassion on the poor.  We see here that her mind is intelligent in that she has prepared he family, her heart is compassionate in that she gives to he poor, and her body is strong in that she is able to accomplish all that she does for her family. 
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells [them], And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor [are] her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue [is] the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.  Proverbs 31:23-27 NKJV
Her husband is also well-respected.  A virtuous wife plays a large part in this by managing the home and family well.  She does not embarrass or talk her husband down, but promotes him among others.  She contributes to her household financially as well.  Even women who do not work do things that help the family financially. Some (as this woman does) makes things and sells them.  Some do have jobs outside the home.  Some help their husbands in their businesses.  Some do several of these things.  My own wife works and she helps me in my home business.  She is invaluable in contributing to the home financially.  Her behavior creates her reputation as a virtuous woman.  We read here that strength and honor are her clothing, meaning she is seen for all the good that she does.  When she speaks, she speaks with wisdom and kindness.  A virtuous woman is just as kind as she is wise.  Finally, a virtuous woman watches over her household and is always working to meet the needs of all.  A virtuous woman is not idle, but always working and doing for the family.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband [also], and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."
Charm [is] deceitful and beauty [is] passing, But a woman [who] fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:28-30 NKJV
A virtuous woman is appreciated and loved by her children and her husband praises her.  Husbands, pay particular attention to that last phrase.  That is not a question or even a command, but God states it as fact.  If you are not praising your wife, you are doing something wrong.  A husband must believe and know that his wife is the best wife in the world.  So if everyone believes his wife is the best, then which wife is the best?  The answer is that all virtuous women are the best.  Each is the best for her husband.  Each was specifically equipped to be the wife of the husband that God has joined her to.  This is true for husbands as well.  Your wife is the best wife in the world, believe that, know that, and treat her like that.  And now we see what makes a virtuous woman so valuable:  "But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." A virtuous woman fears the Lord and all else springs from that.  If not for the power of the Holy Spirit inside her and her desire to please the Lord, she probably would not be able to put up with you (or me for that matter). 
Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.   Proverbs 31:31 NKJV
Husbands, pay close attention here.  Do not take credit for what your wife has done.  Praise your wife, openly and publicly.  Appreciate your wife, openly and publicly.  Love your wife, openly and publicly.  Do not hide her good works, but let the world see the amazing contributions she makes to your family.  Let her enjoy the fruit of the work that she does.  In other words, let her buy some nice things for herself.  Do not be greedy and selfish, but let your wife enjoy what she has worked hard to achieve for the family. 

I hope we can all see just how precious a virtuous wife is for our lives.  Try to imagine doing yourself all that she does on top of all that you do and then try to tell me she is not invaluable to your life.  She works so hard to make sure you are fed, clothed, respected, loved, and prepared for all that life throws at you.  She works hard to teach, feed, raise, and take care of the needs of all your children.  Do not ever take what she does for granted and do not think that anything in your life other than Jesus is more valuable than your wife.  She is the other part of you and selected by God before the foundations of the earth to be your help meet.  Love her, cherish her, spoil her, adore her, respect her, promote her, and treat her as her Father would have you treat her.  I will end today where I began because I hope by now you can see just how valuable this Scripture is. 
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth [is] far above rubies.  Proverbs 31:10 NKJV

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