Last week I started sharing about my new perspective on the Proverbs 31 woman passage. It is so easy to just see this beautiful poem as nothing more than a laundry list of tasks that I will never be able to live up to. However, the more I am able to dig in and study the more I realize that is just not the case.
Today we are going to dive into the first of the twelve principles that are found weaved into the verses and lines of these 21 verses.
The first of the principles is VIRTUOUS, and it's focus verse is Proverbs 31:10
To begin looking at the principle of virtuous first we have to know what the word means. The Miriam-Webster website defines virtuous as:
I really like that, but it's still a bit broad. To me, being virtuous means:
A character trait of value found in individuals that displays an attitude of moral excellence as well as right thinking and action on a consistent basis.
Being a virtuous woman is a standard of living. Really, it's a lifestyle choice. Not an action that we decide one moment to possess and the next moment forget all about. This type of living lends itself to a growing respect from those you come into contact with. It goes deeper than just being liked. To live off the hope of being liked by all it is too easy for beliefs and standards to waver. What may seem like a bad idea will be over-looked or sacrificed on the alter of 'being liked'. However, living a life of virtue means you will stand on your convictions, firmly rooted in the word of God, and won't waver. While it may mean at times you are not liked, and perhaps even despised, others will be watching and they will find a respect for you. Ultimately, being respected is worth far more than being liked in the long run.
An Example of a Virtuous Woman in the Bible
When I think of a woman who holds the characteristics of a virtuous woman in the pages of Scripture, the first woman that comes to my mind is Ruth. Ruth's story is one of the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family as well as God's providence in the face of tragedy. Ruth found herself as a widow as a young woman. With no children to her name and only her sister-in-law and mother-in-law left to call family she had any number of options for how to live out the rest of her days. However, instead of thinking of herself and the tragic state she was in, it was her mother-in-law that she was concerned about.
This woman, Naomi, the mother of Ruth's late husband, was not from the land where they were living and it only made sense once her husband and son's had died for her to make the long journey back to her home land. The logical thing for Ruth to do would have been to return to her father's house and seek a new marriage. Surly, her father would have been able to find a suitable man for her to marry and finally have the family she couldn't get before. But that was not in Ruth's desire. Instead, she remained faithful to Naomi and to the ways of her husband's family.
Ruth's love and devotion for her mother-in-law is a picture of respect that everyone can learn from. You see, no matter what you are doing, someone is always watching. This was true even for Ruth. Before Boaz, the man she would eventually marry, even spoke one word to her he was watching her from afar, learning her character and knowing who she really is.
Questions to Ask Ourselves
Is living out the principle of being virtuous something that can be achieved in today's world? Some would say no, but I believe that with some guidance from the Holy Spirit and some intentional decision making living a life as a virtuous woman can easily be accomplished. Here are a few questions to ask yourself on your journey of becoming a virtuous woman:
1) What is my behavior when no one is watching?
2) What is my moral constitution? What biblical standards do I embrace that constitute my moral constitution?
3) What self-discipline do I have?
4) How can I move my reputation into my character?
Proverbs 12:4 says that capable wife is a crown on her husband's head. This should be the desire and goal for every woman who strives to live a life as a virtuous woman. Proverbs 31:10 asks who can find a capable wife. The answer should come easy when people look in on your life.