Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Look At Her Heart: Godly Womanhood

Well, this week I'm going to talk about the definition of a godly/virtuous woman. I talked about the qualities/characteristics of a godly man a couple weeks ago, and I thought (afterwards, of course) that I probably should have done a study on godly women first, haha. I'm aiming this toward women in the sense that we need to be striving to be godly women. But, I'm also aiming this toward men. Because men need to know what to look for in a girl! Men need to see past that pretty face and actually get to know her. Know who she is. Not in herself, but who she is in Christ. :)
I'm going to talk about the verses (or parts of verses) in Proverbs 31 that really stand out to me, and several other verses and passages that refer to godly women. Keep in mind, no one starts out their newlywed life perfectly as the Proverbs 31 woman. And, most of us will never be able to fully attain that status. But, that's ok, as long as we are striving to follow God's will for our lives. Let's begin, shall we?
  • Proverbs 31:10~ An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.
Now, to be an excellent wife, you must first be a godly woman. So, I'm going to use the phrase "godly woman" in the place of "excellent wife." Just to make it clear what is expected of an excellent wife.
The Hebrew word for excellent, translated, is Chayil. Here it means: Strong, efficient, or able. I believe this is mainly referring to a woman who is strong in her faith and convictions. But, it can also mean physically strong.
Efficient- Able to accomplish a purpose; functioning effectively; Being effective without wasting time or effort or expense. --An excellent woman is a hard worker and doesn't waste time while getting things accomplished.
An excellent wife is more valuable than jewels. In the King James Version, this verse reads: "...For her price is far above rubies." Think about it: Rubies would not be worth very much if you could find them anywhere and everywhere. But, they are very valuable because they are so rare! A godly woman is hard to find, and therefore, very valuable.
  • Proverbs 31:11~ The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
A godly woman is trustworthy. Synonyms of the word "trustworthy" are: True, Honest, Faithful, Reliable, Dependable. Her husband can put his confidence in her!
  • Proverbs 31:12~ She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Her husband's happiness is always the godly woman's concern. She does him good. Not evil! Her love is not dependent on how she is treated by her husband. Her love is consistent.
Let's face it, if we let our attitudes toward other people depend upon the way they treat us, a lot of the time, we would probably really dislike everyone. Our God has an unconditional love for us. And, if we are following Ephesians 5:1-2, we should have an unconditional love for others. That doesn't mean that we won't ever get angry or upset, but that shouldn't change the way we treat people.
Ephesians 4:26~ Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
I really love Proverbs 31:12. Mainly because of this part: "...all the days of her life." Notice that it says *her* life. It doesn't say *his* life. A godly woman should do her husband good all her life. This means doing him good from the day of marriage until death. But, to me, this also means doing him good even before marriage. Be wise about your relationships with other people. Think things through before you act. Make sure that you're not making a life decision that could negatively affect your marriage in years to come.
  • Proverbs 31:17~ She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
The KJV reads: "She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms." The Hebrew word for loins, translated, is Mothen. It means: The hips or abdominal region, and it also means the Heart! A godly woman has an inner strength which energizes her and enables her to accomplish physical tasks which require physical strength. Where does this inner strength come from? There are tons of verses that answer this question, but I'll just list one:
Psalm 28:7~ The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
Women often deal with situations where physical strength is needed. So, taking care of your body, physically (not just spiritually), is also very beneficial. Take care of yourself and glorify God. :)
I Corinthians 6:19-20~ Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
  • Proverbs 31:20~ She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 11~ "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks... For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying. 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'"
  • Proverbs 31:23~ Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
Notice: This verse says nothing about the woman. Interesting, isn't it? But, look at:
Proverbs 12:4~ An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.
A godly woman brings honor and glory to her husband. A crown is a grand piece of jewelry, and a godly woman is such to her husband. A godly woman is not only a reminder to others of *her* character, but also of her husband's character. He must have good character for him to win over such a godly woman. Where would the man in Proverbs 31:23 be without his godly, excellent, faithful, loving wife?
  • Proverbs 31:25~ Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.
Do you see that? Strength and dignity are her clothing... That's an interesting thought, huh? It doesn't say anything about her outward, physical clothing. It's talking about her character! The Hebrew word for strength is translated "Oz." Here it means: Bold, Loud, Mighty, Strong. The Hebrew word for dignity is translated "Hadar." It means: Beauty, Glory, Honor, Majesty.
Strength (boldness) comes from the Lord. Ephesians 3:11-12 says that we have boldness through our faith in Christ. II Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and discipline.
Proverbs 28:1~ The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
A Biblical example of a bold woman is: Esther, queen of Persia. She was certainly an extraordinary woman. She showed boldness to the extreme! She risked her life by going before the king without being summoned (which was punishable by death!), in order to deliver her people! That takes a lot of courage! More courage than most men possess. So, a characteristic of a godly woman is boldness. Most of us today do not come face to face with life or death situations, so I think we can handle the little day to day things that require boldness.
Verse 25 also says "...and she smiles at the future." That is one really awesome verse, but at the same time really convicting. The godly woman looks at the future with confidence. She has no reason to fear or worry. She is sure of her salvation and her eternal future! She may not be sure of her future on earth, but she has no reason to worry about it. The Lord's compassion is new every morning! We have no reason to complain! Rejoice!
Philippians 4:6-7~ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:27~ "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?"
Psalm 118:24~ This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Lamentations 3:22-23~ The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
  • Proverbs 31:26~ She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness in on her tongue.
What is wisdom? An easy definition for wisdom is: Knowledge. Well, where does knowledge come from?
Job 28:28~ "And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil in understanding.'"
Proverbs 1:7~ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Fearing the Lord (This does not mean to be literally scared into submission. It means to have a reverential trust in Him. To stand in awe of His power.) is wisdom. Simple as that. Now, where does fearing the Lord come from? I believe that in order to fear the Lord, we must know *why* we fear Him. How do we know why? By reading His word! Reading it, studying it, meditating on it! Colossians 4 is a great reminder of the way that we ought to speak.
Colossians 4:2-6~ Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Ladies, we have to conduct ourselves with wisdom, in order to speak with wisdom! Sometimes we may not feel very wise... But, when we have days like that, all we have to do is go to the Lord in prayer and ask for His wisdom!
James 1:5~ But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Proverbs 10:31~ The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, but the perverted tongue will be cut out. --- OUCH!
Here's another thing to keep in mind:
Matthew 12:34b~ "...For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."
If you have a heart of wisdom and kindness, you will speak words of wisdom and kindness! Always be careful with the way that you speak! Your speech always reflects your heart.
I remember several years ago, I went to a Bible with some girlfriends of mine, and this verse came up. One of my older friends was talking about it and she gave a very clear rule that she has set for herself according to this verse. "If I am not speaking with wisdom or kindness, I don't even need to open my mouth." Wow. Such a hard thing to do... But, who ever said that it would be easy?
Colossians 3:12~ So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...
  • Proverbs 31:27~ She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
The godly woman manages her household well. That is her job, and she takes responsibility for it. I'm probably going to be stepping on toes with this one. I realize that this is the 21st century, and women have equal rights and everything. Personally, I'm all for the civil rights movement. But, just because we are all created equal, that doesn't mean that men and women were not created for different purposes. Men were created to be providers, and women were created to be helpers. This is why I love Titus 2 so much.
Titus 2:4-5~ ...so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Side Note: I'm not one to say that it's wrong for girls to go to college and get jobs and all that jazz. But, I do think that once a girl (or woman) gets married, her #1 priority should be her family. If school or a job gets in the way of her household management, then there's a problem and it needs to be corrected. That's just my personal opinion.
One main way that she manages her house, is by being attentive to her family. She is constantly keeping an eye out for any danger that may harm her family, whether that be bad company, dangers of television or internet, etc. Just keep up with what is going on with each person in your family. Stay in tuned to what they are thinking, doing, where they're going, what they're watching or listening to, who they're hanging out with.
Women (I'm mainly speaking to wives in this section, but it is applicable to all women) have a lot of responsibilities in regards to the home. Godly women look well to the ways of their household! They feed their families, they clothe their families, they take care of their families when they are sick, etc... Women, it is your job to make sure that these tasks are done! God created you as a helper!
  • Proverbs 31:28~ Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
A godly woman is respectable. Her husband praises her and her children rise up and bless her. She obviously does her job as a wife and mother pretty well, haha.
Proverbs 11:16~ A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches.
We can obtain honor and respect by being gracious. Most highly respected women are known by their grace. The definition of gracious is: "marked by kindness and courtesy" and also "merciful, compassionate." I've already covered Proverbs 31:26 and talked about kindness being on the godly woman's tongue. I think this an incredible reminder:
Proverbs 16:24~ Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
  • Proverbs 31:29~ "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all."
Just so everyone knows, this is one of my favorite verses in this chapter! And the reason behind that is, because the woman's husband is praising her. He is showing his absolute love and adoration for her. He compares her to other women, but tells her that she is the best of them all! He recognizes that, of course, she is not the only godly woman out there (although, he knows that according to Proverbs 31:10, they are rare), but to him, she surpasses all others. To him, she is the best gift that God could have given to him, this side of heaven. Praise the Lord for this kind of love. Just as a reminder: If you find a godly man that loves you this way, hold on to him (given that you feel the same way about him.) This kind of love is also very rare.
  • Proverbs 31:30~ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
I said that the last verse was one of my favorite verses in this chapter, but this one absolutely takes the cake. It is my favorite and probably always will be. In this day and age, there is so much pressure put on girls to look a certain way; to fit a certain mold. Being thin and wearing the trendiest, most expensive clothes makes you beautiful, right? And, being beautiful makes you a good person, right? Wrong and wrong. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with wanting to look beautiful, but being beautiful is not what makes you godly. Our main focus should not be our outward appearance.
I Peter 3:3-4~ Your adornment must not be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
This verse doesn't say that our outward beauty is precious in God's eyes. It says our inward beauty! A gentle and quiet spirit is precious in His sight. Bringing attention to ourselves by our outward appearance is not precious. The attention that we draw to ourselves should be through our inward appearance.
There is too much emphasis put on external beauty today. Modesty is so rare, because girls think that they need to put themselves out there and be eye candy in order to get guys to like them. But let me tell you, if guys are only drawn to your outward appearance, there's a problem. That is not the kind of guy that you should want, anyway. Your outward appearance may sometimes be what catches a guy's eye, but he should be more drawn to your inward appearance than anything else about you. External beauty is not long-lasting. You need to remember that. If you date or marry someone because of their looks, you're eventually going to wake up one morning and realize that they're not quite as attractive as they once were. Beauty is fleeting.
I Timothy 2:9-10~ Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
It's simple. If we are claiming to be Christians, we need to show it by the way we dress and the way we act. True beauty only comes through fearing the Lord.
Psalm 90:17~ Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.
The Hebrew word for favor in this verse is translated Noam. It means: Beauty. :)
  • Proverbs 31:31~ Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
A godly and virtuous woman will be rewarded for the way she lives her life. She will be praised for it. Her good works are not in vain!
Hebrews 11:6~ And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
I Corinthians 15:58~ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

I just have a few more verses to share, I promise! I'm sorry this post is so long already, but I have very strong beliefs on this topic, and I need to get my thoughts out So here we go!
  • A godly woman should have a servant's heart.
First of all, Ephesians 5:1-2 talks about being imitators of God. Jesus Christ was the ultimate in servanthood! We need to strive to become more like Him!
Mark 10:45~ "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Galatians 5:13~ For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Philippians 2:8~ Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Christ came to this earth to lay his life down for us! He came to serve, not to be served. If He could lay His life down so willingly for a bunch of sinners, then why is it so hard for us to lay down our lives and serve other people, daily? No one is asking us to literally die for them, but dying to ourselves is one of the most drastic things that we can do in someone's life. Even giving up a little bit of your time to help someone out with something simple can make a huge impact.
  • A godly woman should be submissive to her authority.
We all, men and women, have some type of authority over us. We are all under God's authority, but women are also always under the authority of men. Most women look at this as being condescending. But, the fact of the matter is, women were created for men. To be helpers. Men need us. But, women, although we have a great ability to help, need authority. Women are easily driven by emotion, rather than logic. Men are (usually) the opposite.
I Corinthians 11:3~ But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
Before a woman marries, her authority is her father. After marriage, that authority transfers to her husband. Wives are to submit to their husbands.
Ephesians 5:22~ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Hebrews 13:17~ Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (This verse is not speaking specifically to wives, but I think it's very fitting.)
*Men, when you're seeking a wife, look at how girls treat their fathers. You want a girl that treats her father with the utmost respect. If she doesn't, why do you think that she'd treat you any differently? Look at her relationship with her father. He was the first man in her life, so watch the way that she treats him. She should love and respect her father. If she does, chances are, she will love and respect you, as well.*
One last point! :)
  • A godly woman should work, serve, and do all things with joy.
Of course, we all slip up sometimes and we're not always going to be joyful. But, we should be striving to do that. We don't always realize it, but our attitudes are a reflection of our faith. Our attitudes can either work for or against our witness.
Philippians 2:14-16~ Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
Colossians 3:23-24~ Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

There are sooo many other verses that I could use to describe a godly woman, but all of these are the ones that stood out to me the most. I learned so much through working on this study and I was convicted of so many things. I do not measure up to the godly, Proverbs 31 woman in even 1/4 of the ways that I should. I have many issues that I need to work out, and seek the Lord's help with! But, I praise the Lord for showing me these issues now, before it's too late! Thank you so much for reading this extremely long post! Please share your thoughts with me! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well, I should've written up a post yesterday... But unfortunately (Not really unfortunate. Just unfortunate for my blog!), I have a lot going on right now, and I don't have a lot of time for anything more than my daily reading. I'll fill you in on what's going on. I'm working on 2-3 different projects.
  1. I'm reading through a book titled "Great Love for Girls." I am going to be teaching a purity/abstinence class for teenage girls at a local church on February 11th. I just received my book on the 12th of this month, and I am trying my best to read through the whole thing and take good notes! I'm also going to have to come up with some verses and things to talk about for myself. It is going to be an all-day event. From 8 a.m.-about 4 p.m. We'll have 3 breaks in between each 1 1/2 hour long session. It's going to be a long, nerve-wracking day. I say nerve-wracking, because I am a terrible public speaker! And, this will be my first time ever teaching a class. But, it will definitely be worth it! :)
  2. I am crocheting baby blankets to sell. I have 4 orders for the next four months, I think. I have to have 2 by the beginning of February! And, I'm not even close to being done!

I said I have 2-3 projects... I'm combining that in there with #2, haha. Those blankets count as like 4 projects, though! So, needless to say, I'm busy right now, but I'm slowly working on a study, ok? I hope to have it written up and posted by next week. So, look forward to: Look at Her Heart: Godly Womanhood. It's going to be exciting, Lord willing! I'm enjoying the study when I have extra time for it! :) Thanks for your patience! I hope you all (whoever is actually reading this) have a great week!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Look At His Heart

We have all of these ideas about what a godly wife should be. Proverbs 31:10-31 is dedicated solely to defining a godly woman. And this is really great for men, if they are seeking a wife, and for women, as they prepare to fill that role. But my question is this: What does a godly man look like? And, I guess another question is: Is he husband material?

It seems as though this question is sometimes overlooked. Girls tend to rationalize when it comes to guys. We see a pretty/handsome face and think "Wow, I'm gonna marry him!" (Hopefully my family isn't the only one that does that!) But, my challenge for all of you girls out there (and guys, too. But, I'm aiming this more towards girls.) is: Look past his face and try to see his heart.

I was convicted of this during church last week. The sermon was about repentance, and to make a long story short, the preacher said this about how we are to change the way we see people:
"As Christians, we should look past all the exterior and see each person for who they truly are: Created in the image of God. No one is in any place to judge someone for who we think they are."

I thought this was great, because I've always loved the end of I Samuel 16:7~ "...for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

So, if God looks at the heart rather than the outward appearance, what does that mean I should do? An answer from Scripture is:

Ephesians 5:1-2~ Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

We are to imitate God as children. Isn't that a sweet comparison? You know how little girls play with baby dolls and treat them so special, as if they are real? Or how little boys will play with toy tool sets or walk around wearing Daddy's shoes? Children look up to their parents. They imitate them. As Christians, we are to look up to our Heavenly Father and imitate Him. It also says to walk in love. According to I John, God is love. Yet another reminder to imitate God. :)

So, that is my challenge. Look past the face. Now we can go into what a godly man actually looks like. Now, just as a reminder, all of the things that I ever write are my thoughts and beliefs that I have gathered from Scripture, myself. You may have different thoughts, and I encourage you to explore them and draw your own conclusions. I'd even love for you to share what you find with me! :)

  • First of all, a godly man should love the Lord with all his heart.
That is a command in Matthew 22:37. I, personally, believe that this is the most important standard that EVERY girl should have. If he doesn't love God, he CANNOT truly love you. Why do I say this? Because, like I said earlier, I John says over and over again that God is love. God is true love. Always. He demonstrated that love for us by sending His only Son to die for us (Romans 5:8.) It also says in I John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us." A man has to accept God's love first, and only then can he love others.
  • A godly man should be strong and growing in his faith.
There are several examples of godly men in the Bible, but I'll just talk about one: Abraham. Abraham was a godly man that followed the Lord completely by faith.
Romans 4:19-21~ Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with repect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

Abraham is a good example of a man who was strong in his faith. I believe he is a great example for all men to follow.

I Corinthians 16:13~ Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

This verse talks about standing firm in faith and being strong. :) You know what's interesting? The very next verse says "Let all that you do be done in love." Showing love to people is also a sign of strength.

Now, for a person to be growing in their faith, they must be in the Word daily. We are not meant to just pick up our Bibles on Sunday for church and then put it back on the shelf at home until the next week. We are not meant to just take our preacher's word for it when he preaches a sermon on any topic. We are supposed to read/study the Word daily for ourselves. We need to completely satiate ourselves with the Word.

Acts 17:11~ Now these were more nobleminded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Colossians 3:16~ Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in you hearts to God.

II Timothy 3:16-17~ All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
I like that last verse. All Scripture is profitable, so that we may be adequate and equipped for every good work. It is sooo important to be in the Word, for this very reason!

Ephesians 6:10~ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

If you go on through Ephesians 6:11-17, it explains exactly how to be strong in the Lord. It is all by, basically, staying in the Word! Amazing. :)

One last passage for this section:

Colossians 2:5-7~ For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

  • A godly man should be committed to the Lord. He will do the right thing, even when it's not convenient or easy.
I Thessalonians 2:1-2~ For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

II Timothy 3:12~ Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

These are examples of Paul being so committed that he would go through persecution and he still chooses to share the Word, preaching and teaching. An example that we should all follow. :)

  • A godly man should be a man of integrity. The definition of integrity is: honesty/truthfulness. He should be a man of his word. (To me, being honest also means being the same person no matter what crowd you're in. Being yourself no matter what.)
James 5:12~ But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

Psalm 25:21~ Let intregrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.

Proverbs 2:7-8~ He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones.

Proverbs 11:3~ The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will desrtoy them.

Job was an example of a man with integrity. Job 2:3~ The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." Job stayed true to the Lord even after he lost everything!

  • A godly man should be devoted to prayer. He must be devoted to prayer, but also believe "For nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37.)
I Thessalonians 5:17-18~ ...pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:5-6~ But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

Philippians 4:6~ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God.

  • A godly man must be a hard worker. In whatever the Lord may have you doing, work hard at it. Whether it's school, work, hobbies, or whatever... Work hard.
Colossians 3:23-24~ Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the ingeritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Ecclesiastes 9:10~ Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might....

Proverbs 14:23~ In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Ok, that was my very basic checklist of what a godly man should be. Those are the top characteristics on my list. But, I have several more verses to share that are also very important characteristics that I look at. These verses have a lot in them, and no one will ever be able to follow them all perfectly. But these are the things that all Christians should be striving for.

I Timothy 4:12~ Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Titus 2:6-8~ Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyong reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Colossians 3:12-14~ So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Romans 12:9-21~ Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That's about all of the verses I'm going to use there.... I think. I want to touch on my idea of "husband material" for just a minute. Or two... Or more. These are just some things that you need to know before you marry someone. I believe that the most important things to know (after you know what a godly man is) are that:

  • Husbands MUST love their wives.
Ephesians 5:25~ Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her...

Ephesians 5:28-30~ So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

  • Husbands should be able to "wash their wives in the Word." I believe this to mean that they should make sure that their wives are in the Word daily, they should constantly encourage their wives with Scripture, they should challenge their wives, and stimulate their minds to think about Scripture, in different ways.
Ephesians 5:26-27~ ...so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
  • Husbands should be able to lead, but not lord over their wives.
Ephesians 5:22-24~ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

I Peter 3:7~ You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Husbands should accept their role as the head of the family, only under Christ. And, they should not take advantage of this role by abusing their authority. Husbands should lead their family under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26.) They should lead, alongside their wives, but also be able to make final decisions for their families.

  • Husbands MUST be able to provide for their families.
I Timothy 5:8~ But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

That's a pretty intense verse, right there!

  • Husbands should want to have and raise a godly family, walking in the Truth.
III John 4~ I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
  • And, last but certainly not least, husbands should know that when they get married (given that they marry a godly woman,) they are receiving a good thing.
Proverbs 18:22~ He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14~ House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 31:10~ An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

Girls, you are priceless. You deserve a man that knows a good thing when he has it, and that treats you as such. No excuses. You are worth it. A man like this is worth waiting for.

The last passage that I'm going to share is out of I Corinthians 13. I'm going to share the definition of love. This is something that everyone needs to know, so that they will be able to recognize it.

I Corinthians 13:4-8~ Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.....

Thanks for reading all the way through this! I know it's long, and it took me forever to work on... And, I probably should have done a study on what a godly woman is first, but this came to my mind during the middle of the week, and I wanted to get it all down before I forgot! So, it is what it is. Please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts. I would appreciate your encouragement or [constructive] criticism. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saved By Grace, Not By Works

Ok! It's time for my first Bible study post! :) This is a topic that has been on my mind since early December and I'm sooo happy to finally have it all written down! I would really appreciate any feedback/insight that any of you may have regarding this subject. Please feel free to comment and to pour some wisdom into my post! :)

Ephesians 2:8-9~ For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
According to this passage, we are saved only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are not saved by works. Romans 3:28 states, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." Romans 4 uses Abraham as an example of this.
Romans 4:1-3~ What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (That was first written in Genesis 15:6.)
Abraham was justified by faith, not by his works. I have also had James 2:14-26 pointed out to me. The main verses that have been applied were verses 21-26 that talk about Abraham and his faith/works.
James 2:21-22~ Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.
Abraham had faith, he acted on his faith (works,) and his faith was perfected by his works. Clearly explained. You have to have faith first. You act on your faith, showing your faith/salvation. Your faith is perfected. That's the process. It's simple. The book of James is addressed to believers. It isn't talking about how to be saved, but it is talking about how to live our lives as Christians. Living out our faith is what is being discussed in chapter 2. It isn't telling us that to be saved we must do good works, it is telling us that we should show our faith by our works. If we aren't living it out, we may need to ask ourselves if we are truly saved. I'll address that a little later on with a verse from II Corinthians 5.
Romans 4:4-5~ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness...
Our works are not credited as a favor, but as what is due. We owe it to God to do good works, but those works are not what saves us. Our belief in Him justifies us.
This next passage is one that has just recently come to my attention. Well... Actually, I've read it over and over and over again, but you know how sometimes you just have a revelation about a passage and the Lord reveals something new to you through it? Well, that happened to me with this passage:
John 6:26-29~ Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
The work of God: That you believe in Him whom He has sent. WOW. That is ALL it takes!!! Is that not amazing? It is so simple! It is our sinful pride, as humans, that causes us to think that we have to earn our salvation. We think that we MUST do something for ourselves. But, the truth is, we can't do anything. We can never be good enough to earn salvation. We cannot work hard enough.
Now, I'm not saying that good works are completely unnecessary, but they do not save you.
Ephesians 2:10~ For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
According to this verse, we were created for good works. Good works should be a result of our salvation. Good works mean nothing without faith in Jesus Christ. Good works are very necessary, especially in the fact that they can be/are the way we show our salvation. Once we accept the gift of salvation, if we are truly saved, we will be a new creature.
II Corinthians 5:7~ Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
We should have a completely different mindset and be living our lives according to God''s word, if we have truly accepted Christ. Some people believe that repentance and prayer could be considered "works" of salvation. I see them as a part of faith or trusting Christ. You cannot truly accept Christ as your Saviour unless you see that you are a human with a sinful nature that *NEEDS* a Saviour. You must be able to repent, in order to accept Christ.
Romans 10:9-10, 13~ that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation... for "whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
**Side note**
Another point that people try to make is that it is possible to lose your salvation. I don't believe that way. Our salvation in Christ is not temporary, but eternal. There is nothing that you can do to remove yourself from Christ's hand, once you are saved.
John 10:28-30~ "...and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
We will make mistakes, but we're human. We will never be perfect and we will never be able to live a sinless life. But, no matter how badly we mess up sometimes, God will never let us go. That doesn't mean that we should just continue in sin, because we are under grace. Paul warns about this in the whole chapter of Romans 6.
Romans 6:14-18~ For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
I believe that once you're saved, you're always saved. Good works do not lead to salvation, but they should be a result of salvation.
I'd like to close with these passages:
Romans 14:22-23~ The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
Hebrews 3:13~ But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
We all believe differently, and I love being able to express my opinions and beliefs and being able to hear about the beliefs of others. I'm not the judge of who is right or wrong. But, I think these are definitely the kinds of topics that we, as believers, should be discussing. Not to bring each other down with our disagreements, but in order to build each other up, challenge each other, and encourage each other in Christ.