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! :)

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