"That was an honorable thing to do"
Have you ever heard those words? Or maybe even said them?
I can remember a time when I witnessed a young boy, about 5 years old, find a dollar on the ground in his Sunday School classroom. One of the other teachers in the room told him it was his lucky day because he just made a whole dollar. However, he made the decision to bring the dollar bill to me because he knew it wasn't his so he knew he shouldn't keep it. It didn't matter that he was the only child left in the class and the other teacher and I were on our way out as soon as he was collected by his parents. He knew that dollar wasn't his to keep. I told him, as I took the dollar, that he was doing a very honorable thing.
What made that young man, in that moment, worthy to be called "honorable"? What about his decision in that moment stood out? And how does that apply to our lives as women striving to live out the principles found in Proverbs 31? Let's dive in and see.
"Honorable" can be described as the quality of displaying a high regard or giving of great respect. The idea of integrity comes to mind when I think about this definition. Acting from what is within the heart rather than what is on the surface is what determines our level of integrity. This means that when acting from what is within your heart your true motivations are shown. To be an honorable woman our motivation needs to come from the Lord and not from whatever perceived glory we may receive.
Being Honorable in our Appearance
Proverbs 31:25 says:
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.
I have often heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Generally, that first impression is made without ever having a single word spoken. People make a snap decision about a person the minute their eyes meet the visual picture that is presented. The style of dress and the way a person carries themselves is usually the first impression that is made.
So what is it that motivates our clothing choices. If you talk to any person who is worth their salt in the fashion world you will learn that clothing is designed to draw the eye to various places. Prints, patterns, lines, and shapes are all used to draw the attention to any number of body parts. I remember a time when I was watching a popular television show and one of the main characters was being criticized for his over the top belt buckles. He (the main character) insisted that he wore them because they made him happy. The person criticizing countered that it made him happy because it caused individuals (especially women) to look in a region of his body that was less than appropriate.
I watched that scene in that show probably close to 10 years ago and it still stands out to me today. Why? Because it reminds me that the clothing I choose to wear matters. If I make a choice to wear a t-shirt that is a bit to low cut I am all but inviting men to stare at an area of my body that should only be reserved for my husband's view. I am also communicating that all I have to offer the world is my physical appearance. Psalm 119:105 reminds us that we are to allow God's words and principles to light our path. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 calls us to abstain from all appearances of evil. By passing our dressing decisions, the world's first
Reflecting Honor for Our Husband's Sake
The woman in Proverbs 31 not only acts in a way that brings her personal honor but we see that she is also able to bring honor to her husband. In the principle of trustworthy we talked about how this woman's husband's trust in her was so complete it was a reflex reaction. She worked hard to not put his name in the dirt. She used her influence in the community to bring him good as we will see when we get further on in our study. She embraced the principles found in Genesis 2:18. Here we see that God has a design and an intended purpose for the man and the woman. This particular woman, our example, embraced her role as a helpmeet coming along side him excitedly to work with him and not as a competitor against him. She was his partner in all things.
Excellence as a Craftswoman
God created us to be creative. We all have gifts to share and use with the world. Often times we (and by 'we' I really mean I) have bought into the idea that if I am going to produce something it has to be perfect. In our world of Pinterest and Instagram it seems that if we can't produce perfection then we can't contribute to the world. The truth of the matter is, that's just not true. See, what God wants is excellence, not perfection.
God wants us to give our all when using the gifts and talents he has given us. He wants us to excel but that doesn't mean that our products won't ever be without flaw. But what it does mean is that we present good quality. This doesn't have to be in the market place either. It can be in the things you make, do and prepare just in your home for your own family. In order to practice the principle of being honorable when referring to excelling as a craftswoman four characteristics are required:
- Humility: knowing we can't excell on our own but only through God's strentgh
- Unselfishness: sharing what we have and can do with others.
- Gentleness: teaching and training in a kind manner
- Patience: bearing with others as they continue to learn and grow while you focus on teaching.
If these four characteristics are put into practice then becoming a woman of honor we can put our pride away and be able to develop relationships that will last long into the future.
A Final Thought
All of these thought can be boiled down to how we have control of our bodies. Our bodies, according to Romans 12:1-2, are to be presented as a living sacrifice to the Lord. This means that we are not to conform to the ways of the world and we are not to use our bodies as instrument of sin. When we make the decision to present ourselves as living sacrifices we are acknowledging that our bodies are the dwelling place of the Lord and that He has the control of what it is we are to be doing. When we filter our thought, actions, and motives through this context living a life of being honorable is within our reach each and every day.