Countless Bible studies teach women to live up to Proverbs 31, marketing it as the gold-standard for woman, and the prized-bride for men to catch.
But does she even exist?
At the same time, feminists mock Christian women who strive to serve their husbands, calling them everything from “handmaids” to “archaic slaves.”
Women are bombarded with messages telling them to “dress sexy” to attract the man of their dreams, or the opposite to “focus on your career” in order to avoid being “trapped” in marriage.
Caught in the middle of this culture war is your everyday Christian woman who seeks to live a good honest life and serve Jesus.
So what’s a gal to do?
To start, let’s take a look at what Proverbs 31 actually says:
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Some misconstrue Christian women to be weak and passive.
But one reading of this passage shatters the myth that women are weak. A true Proverbs 31 woman is strong and confident in who she is in Christ. She doesn’t sit home all-day watching Netflix or trashy soap operas. She is not bored and idle. Instead, a Proverbs 31 woman is busy taking care of her household, making sure everyone is well cared for, while bringing honor to her husband.
And while she is not passive, she is not a prideful showboat either. She exercises wisdom and does not associate herself with fruitless arguments or petty gossip. And as she ages, her virtue only grows stronger.
You see, a Proverbs 31 woman knows her identity comes from Christ, and she focuses her eyes on Jesus at all times, following His steps. And yes, women are called to submit to their husbands, and a true Proverbs 31 is entrusted to live out her calling as a woman, as a complementary role to her husband. She has no problem letting her husband be the spiritual leader and rejoices in sitting under his protective covering.
But it isn’t as if the husband takes the wife for granted! A husband has trust and faith in his wife to maintain the order at home. While she respects him, he loves her.
But sadly, our culture is attacking the very notion of a Proverbs 31 woman. The media bombards young girls with promiscuous propaganda and teenagers everywhere are often left with a shaken identity.
In fact, one of the biggest threats which damages the ability for young girls to grow into a godly woman is the attack on their purity. After all, satan hates the family unit and does everything he can to destroy families and attack the purity of a female, one of her greatest attributes.
Now more than ever, our young girls need positive female role models who can show them how to become who God has called them to be.
So mothers, teach your daughters the virtue of purity. Lead by example in how you dress and speak. Remember, girls look up to their mothers and are watching their every move. If you dress in tight clothing and curse up a storm, just what message are you sending to your daughter?
And fathers, love your wife well! You better believe your little girl is watching how you treat her mother. If you belittle your wife and talk down to her, your daughter will grow up thinking that is how men should treat her too.
And ladies, if you are not yet a mother, be a godly example to the women in your life. Be mindful of what you post on social media sites and conscious of how you interact with the females in your life, whether small-group sisters, nieces, or neighbors.
Young girls are hungry for strong women to look up to and you can show them by your example that a strong woman gains her strength from Christ. And your lifestyle can teach them strength doesn’t mean sacrificing femininity or exuding a kind and gentle spirit!
The world has enough crude, loud, and vulgar women. Let’s work together to teach the women and young girls in our life to be confident in Christ alone, which will not lead them to act out to gain attention from the world.
This doesn’t mean women are to forgo appearance completely and walk around with dirty clothes and a disheveled appearance.
Women are images of Christ and as women we are called to be good stewards of our body, representing Christ well in how we conduct ourselves, including our appearance.
But true beauty and virtue is created as Christ molds his daughters into the perfect bride.
And nothing is more beautiful than a woman who is confident in who she is, in Christ. This woman will radiate with the glowing light of Christ, and shine bright in a decaying world.
Finally, to the young men not yet married, protect the purity of the women in your life. Avoid traps like pornography which degrade women down to sexual objects. And don’t partake in “locker room” sexual jokes with your buddies. When dating or courting a woman, be sure to protect her purity and don’t place her in compromising or tempting situations (like staying the night).
A Proverbs 31 woman is something every Christian woman is called to be. So ladies, rest assured you can truly “laugh at the days to come”, because your identity is in Christ, and He’s got you! And guys, to those of you who have found and married a Proverbs 31, honor and cherish her always, and love her like Christ loves the church.
Men, what are some ways you can protect the purity of women, and encourage the women in your life to keep on the right track?
Ladies, what is your greatest challenge about living up to the Proverbs 31 standard?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!