Posts Tagged ‘Proverbs 31 woman’

Proverbs 31 Woman Debunked

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

If you are involved in women’s ministries, you will hear countless seminars on the Proverbs 31 woman. Thinking that this was what I needed to be like, I made a list of all the qualities that she had. Gradually I checked them all off. Now I was the Proverbs 31 woman.

Yes, you heard me correctly. What good did that do? It just made me prideful and arrogant. Working down any list, and doing those things, didn’t make me pleasing to God.

Do you realize this list was written by a woman? Yes, Lemuel’s mother was brainstorming a list of things to look for in a queen, that would indicate that the woman had substance rather than just good looks.

The list from Proverbs 31 is not a description of an actual person, even though some actual women fulfill that description. She was rich and had many, many servants doing all the grunt work for her. She only did what she was good at, which was mostly management. So this woman was a businesswoman and an administrator who apparently didn’t get very much sleep. The description is one of a workaholic. She works in the wee hours in the morning, and then her lamp doesn’t go out at night either. If you burn the candle at both ends like this, you will not be pleasing to God. You will be grumpy from your lack of sleep, and you won’t be able to function properly.

Not to discount being hard-working. People who are lazy aren’t pleasing to God either.

Also keep in mind that this list is what a woman would have done over the course of her entire lifetime. Women in their 20’s expect to already have done all of it, but they haven’t lived long enough to “consider a field and buy it,” for example. For most women, if they bought a field, it would be disobedience to God and to their husbands. This list is not meant to be held up as the be-all and end-all of life.

So don’t pursue the list. I’m tired of “older women” holding this passage up to the younger women and criticizing each other for their lack of measuring up. To cause other women to feel like a failure is not pleasing to God. We have taken our eyes off Jesus.

Being yoked to the Holy Spirit is what this life is all about, and if the enemy can cause us to focus on an entirely different subject, he rejoices. Focusing on checking off a list is a form of self-righteousness that is not pleasing to God.

There are many other issues involved in emulating the Proverbs 31 woman, but the most important thing is this: if you are trying to be like her, you are no longer yielding to the Spirit and resting in Christ, guided daily by His Spirit. It is possible to achieve this list, but it is pointless. I’ve done it. There’s nothing here. Nothing of value. The sin of arrogance and self-righteousness maybe. But nothing good. Drop it. Ask God how to live, and follow His Spirit’s leading in your life.

Jesus Rebukes the Proverbs 31 Woman

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Jesus rebukes a Proverbs 31 woman who is busy doing God’s work. Is being busy for God what Jesus requires from your life, or have we been duped by the enemy to utter exhaustion by doing things that don’t matter?

In the Bible where Mary and Martha are mentioned, Martha is portrayed as the ideal Proverbs 31 woman. She is diligent and hard-working. She trusted God and served Him wholeheartedly. When her brother Lazarus died, Martha showed her trust in God by telling Jesus that her brother would not have died if He had been there. Martha was a godly woman, constantly responsible for her household.

Meanwhile Mary lazily sat at the feet of Jesus, having fun by soaking up all that Jesus had to say. She knew that she was being mean to her sister Martha. Her sister couldn’t possibly get everything done for dinner with all these guests without her help. But Mary loved Jesus so much, she couldn’t help herself. She found an irresistible urge to rest in His presence, even though she felt a bit guilty staying in a room full of men instead of being in the kitchen helping her sister.

Martha knew she was missing out on all the fun and also wanted desperately to be with Jesus. But she did the responsible thing and was rebuked for it. (Actually, she was rebuked for her anger and envy, both of which were caused by her desire to be with Christ.)

Dinner almost got burnt because of what Mary did. But apparently Jesus didn’t care about burnt food. Being obsessed about service to God might actually take your eyes off God and onto the service. And then suddenly you become weary and realize that you’ve exchanged intimacy with God for clocking in hard work for His service. Not to discount His service. You need to obey God’s call on your life. And doing things for God is not sin. However, we must prioritize and continually ask God what we should be doing with our time. Because resting in the presence of God is the “better part” of this life, and if we are not connected to God by yielding to His Spirit, our work will end up being worthless.