If you are involved in women’s ministries, you will hear countless seminars on the Proverbs 31 woman. Thinking that this was what I needed to be like, I made a list of all the qualities that she had. Gradually I checked them all off. Now I was the Proverbs 31 woman.
Yes, you heard me correctly. What good did that do? It just made me prideful and arrogant. Working down any list, and doing those things, didn’t make me pleasing to God.
Do you realize this list was written by a woman? Yes, Lemuel’s mother was brainstorming a list of things to look for in a queen, that would indicate that the woman had substance rather than just good looks.
The list from Proverbs 31 is not a description of an actual person, even though some actual women fulfill that description. She was rich and had many, many servants doing all the grunt work for her. She only did what she was good at, which was mostly management. So this woman was a businesswoman and an administrator who apparently didn’t get very much sleep. The description is one of a workaholic. She works in the wee hours in the morning, and then her lamp doesn’t go out at night either. If you burn the candle at both ends like this, you will not be pleasing to God. You will be grumpy from your lack of sleep, and you won’t be able to function properly.
Not to discount being hard-working. People who are lazy aren’t pleasing to God either.
Also keep in mind that this list is what a woman would have done over the course of her entire lifetime. Women in their 20’s expect to already have done all of it, but they haven’t lived long enough to “consider a field and buy it,” for example. For most women, if they bought a field, it would be disobedience to God and to their husbands. This list is not meant to be held up as the be-all and end-all of life.
So don’t pursue the list. I’m tired of “older women” holding this passage up to the younger women and criticizing each other for their lack of measuring up. To cause other women to feel like a failure is not pleasing to God. We have taken our eyes off Jesus.
Being yoked to the Holy Spirit is what this life is all about, and if the enemy can cause us to focus on an entirely different subject, he rejoices. Focusing on checking off a list is a form of self-righteousness that is not pleasing to God.
There are many other issues involved in emulating the Proverbs 31 woman, but the most important thing is this: if you are trying to be like her, you are no longer yielding to the Spirit and resting in Christ, guided daily by His Spirit. It is possible to achieve this list, but it is pointless. I’ve done it. There’s nothing here. Nothing of value. The sin of arrogance and self-righteousness maybe. But nothing good. Drop it. Ask God how to live, and follow His Spirit’s leading in your life.Tweet