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“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”

What a beautiful image from  Proverbs 31:25  (NASB). When you read the entire passage, Solomon shows us the ideal lifestyle of a good woman.

But is it really? You might argue, “How can any woman smile at the future? Look  at the news. All the problems. Russia against Ukraine. Hamas against Israel. The Fulani against Nigerian Christians. Haitian gangs against their own citizens. The world groans under the weight of violence, and hatred flourishes around the globe.”


Even in America, what we had once called “the land of the free and the home of the brave” is swamped by discord. Progressives versus conservatives. Republicans versus Democrats. Evangelical Christians versus mainline denominations.

credit to Principium Unitatis: July 2009

Oooh, that last one. Be careful.

All branches in the above diagram love Jesus. Some ache to help a hurting, lost world through social justice. “Jesus ministered to the poor and to the refugee. So should we.”  

But they don’t address sin.

The others fall to their knees in prayer, seeking God’s guidance in providing hope to that same hurting world. They share scripture and God’s promises of love.

But where is the practical help?

All of them are right. And all of them are wrong.

Jesus made it clear in John 8:11 that we don’t offer a free pass to those who sin, in this case, adultery. He saved the woman’s life, but He confronted her saying, “Go and sin no more.”

Nor can we share God’s love with a lost soul if we fail to feed him. (James 2:20)

So, What CAN we do?

First, what we can’t do.  We can’t save the whole world. And God doesn’t expect us to. We’re puny individuals who possess no superpowers.

GOD saves the world. But He tells us to go into the world, our little corner of it, and do the right thing. The right thing being, “Tell everyone you meet about Jesus—who He is, what He did for the world, and He’s coming back. (Matthew 28:19-20)

There are a zillion ways we can do that!

The stay-at-home mom teaches her kids about Jesus. The person in HR shows kindness to everyone she meets and is known as the person who says she’ll pray for you, and you know she will. An eighty-five-year-old lady in The Villages invites her friends to a Bible study.

In a recent newsletter by Angie Baughman, she shares a time when visiting a resort with her youth group, and a toilet had overflowed. They called the owner. Baughman says, “I witnessed how he calmly fixed the problem, then gently wiped down the toilet and the floor around it, leaving the entire room far better than he had found it. It wasn’t a lifelong commitment or an expenditure of great resources, but it made a world of difference to a few junior high girls and their inexperienced leader.”

God has given every person some kind of ability that can be used to share the Good News.

Let’s break down guidelines found in Proverbs 31:10-32, a passage nicknamed the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” To be clear, this is believed to be a list to draw from. One woman can’t do all of them at the same time, but she can practice more than one of these skills in an average week.

Take a look at the list. Which traits do you have or do you desire to cultivate?

A woman of God is:

  1. Trustworthy—in her marriage (if she’s married) and in all relationships (v. 10-12).
  2. Diligent in her work—whether she works outside the home or runs her own household. And diligent to serve in her church in some capacity. (v. 13-14, 18-19, 27)
  3. Generous—with her money OR her time OR her love toward others. (v. 20)
  4. Supportive—of her husband and/or her friends and family, which helps improve the lives of others. (v. 23)
  5. Respected—because she has fulfilled God’s purposes in herself. (See numbers one through four above!) (v. 22, 25, 28, 31)
  6. Wise—in words and actions. (v. 26)
  7. Kind—and she teaches others how to be kind. (v. 26)

A woman of God MAY be:

  1. Organized and prepared—which helps out with her diligence. (v. 15-16, 21, 27)
  2. Business Savvy—she can run a business in or out of her home, which allows her to build on her generosity. (v. 16, 24)
  3. Physically fit—a healthy body is always helpful for any endeavor. (v. 17)
  4. Praised—she fears the Lord and doesn’t depend on fake charm or physical beauty. (v. 30)

What are the results of these spiritual exercises?

A strong, dignified woman. (v. 25).

What does such a woman look like?

The first image that comes to my mind is the picture of a queen wearing a royal gown and magnificent jewels. But many a queen has been shown to be a hateful shrew, so maybe not the best picture.

The next image I think of must be far more pleasing to God—Mother Teresa. Truly a Proverbs 31 woman. In her simple nun’s habit, she ministered to the untouchables in the slums of Calcutta. Her physical clothing wasn’t much to write home about, but as people watched her, strength and dignity radiated from her soul. 

She smiles at the future.

I first studied Proverbs 31 when I was a new mother and a young Christian,  I prayed to be dignified and poised like this biblical paragon of virtue. I even wrote down some goals to aim for while I practiced the traits she displayed.

Now, I’m a grandmother many times over, and I can look back through the years and see how God grew me. Glorious seasons. Arrogant seasons. Humbled seasons. Loving seasons. Ambitious seasons. Depressing seasons. Seasons of contentment.

For forty-five years, the Lord has been answering my prayer. I won’t reach perfection until I pass through the gates of heaven, but I see the work He has done in me, and I can smile at the future. God is in control of every circumstance, yesterday, today, and forever, and He has proved to be trustworthy.

What about you?

Have you taken a good look at Proverbs 31:10-32?

Can you see God’s work in you as time passes?

If your answer is yes, rejoice! God is faithful, and you’ll continue to see good changes, and you’ll see how He’s using you for the good in situations where you live.

If you answered no, then I’m asking you to make this a matter of prayer. And write to me, asking for my prayers in addition to yours.

I promise you—if you take a deep dive into Proverbs 31, and if you incorporate those words into your life circumstances, you also will discover you can smile at the future.

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