Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Woman's Influence

"Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land."

Proverbs 31 is a great challenge and encouragement. The more I read and study, the more convicted I am of my shortcomings. Reading about her husband seems almost a break, like, "hey, pick on HIM for a while." However, that is not the purpose of this verse.

We've seen already how industrious and helpful our woman of impeccable character is; this verse shows us how much of a difference a virtuous woman makes on her household.

my parents and examples
Proverbs 14:1 says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."

In Old Testament times, there was no such thing as a "City Courthouse." Instead, locals went to the gates of the city, where the wise men (the Bible word for elders here means Senators) listened to cases and judged righteously. The Virtuous woman has a very good, honorable husband. Perhaps too, he was so successful because of the woman in his life. It is said of Daniel Webster:

By age 31 he had become known as one of America's most effective speakers. One of  Webster's earlier biographers, Norman Hapgood, assigns much of the great orator's success to the quality of his marriage to a woman, Grace Fletcher, whom he married at the age of 26.  (Of her the writer says)She had the goal of keeping alert to those high principles which her husband held.  Her upright New England faith and sweet loyalty must have been one of the strongest barriers resisting the temptations which lay before the impressionable statesman.When Grace Fletcher Webster died, Daniel remarried a year later.  The biographer said of Carolyn Roy, his second wife:She brought him money and social position and nothing else that could be traced in his life.Two  years into that second marriage it was said of Webster:He steadily declined from a height at which his altering nature could no longer sustain itself.Daniel Webster began overeating and drinking.  His spending habits soared out of control, and his moral life disintegrated.  By the end of his political life, the man once known for his great integrity had become typed as a political compromiser.  Tragedy mounted upon tragedy, and when he died, he was a beaten and bitter man.High Call High Privilege by Gail MacDonald (pages 99-100)

It is incredible that the woman in his life is what seemed to make the difference.

What kind of woman are you?

Do you build up the people (like your dad and or brother figures) in your life? Are you encouraging or incorrigible? Are the men in your life your heros, and do you frequently positively remind them?

What you, as a woman, say to your husband, father, or brother can make him go beyond what he would generally aspire to, or cause him to discard all character and virtue for the easy life.

So go, and speak LIFE! Build up your house so that your man can be as positively influential as possible in his sphere.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Your Clothes Say It For You

Imagine being a page (or runner) for your Senator. Would you wear rip jeans and a t-shirt that says "Vote for Me," or would you wear a classy business suit? Which one would he/she be more apt to trust with an important errand?

Clothing, though only 1/21st of the Proverbs 31 description, is nevertheless a vital part of our testimony as a virtuous woman. For myself, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." ! (Isaiah 61:10) Because I am a born again, redeemed child of God, clothed with the righteousness of Jesus, I want my clothing to reflect my love and gratefulness to Him. I want my outer garments to accent my "inner garment" of righteousness.

What is your life message?

Do your clothes portray that message?

Think about these two questions as we delve further into Proverbs 31:22.
"She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple."

"Coverings of tapestry" refers to a bedspread, but also to the curtain surrounding her bed, as bedrooms were determined by material and not walls.  She took time to make sure she made up her bed, keeping it a clean, relaxing, stress-free zone.

Is your bed made?

Is your room clean? relaxing? stress free?

Secondly, "her clothing is silk and purple." Purple was the name of an expensive material in a specific dye. Usually, this material was reserved for God's temple, royalty, or a very wealthy person. Now, we know that the Virtuous woman was thrifty and careful with her dollar from other verses. Why then, would she wear the most expensive garment?

In studying several different commentaries, I have found a few explanatory guesses; but the main idea being, that, it's okay to have nice things. In fact, people tend to respect a person who is well dressed better than one who is careless about their looks, especially if one who is well dressed will also get "down and dirty" when duty requires it. (Remember our hypothetical situation at the beginning of this post?) Also, the word purple could be referring to a position in Christ, claiming royalty through Him.

Are you able both to dress nicely whenever possible, and to get "down and dirty" when the situation requires it?

Do you know your identity in Christ?

Do you realize your identity in Christ is reflected in the clothes you wear?

Don't take a passive stance on clothing, thinking: "So long as I'm covered, who cares?".  Quite the contrary. Understand, as the Virtuous woman so wisely did...

Your clothes say it for you.