“Who can find a virtuous wife?” asks the writer of Proverbs 3. This eloquent chapter of the Bible is commonly referenced as the standard for the Christian wife. It clearly outlines how to live as a godly wife and is worthy of repeated reading and studying. This high standard for womanhood was penned by King Lemuel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But this chapter does not contain a man’s lofty notions of the “ideal woman”. It instead contains biblical truths that were taught to the king by his mother, a woman who apparently understood about living virtuously (Prov 31:1).
It is important to remember that the truths taught in Proverbs 31 are intended as inspiring goals for a woman. They represent what is possible for a woman and wife to accomplish over a lifetime. No woman could possibly do and be everything outlined in Proverbs 31 all in the same season of her life. But this chapter does help a woman to see what is possible to achieve in her lifetime if she applies diligence, work, prayer, godly wisdom and God’s great grace and help.
Proverbs 31 describes a woman who takes good care of her household, has a right relationship with her husband, can handle business matters, works hard, is physically fit, serves the needy, is wise in her decisions, and more. This can seem like a difficult, even impossible, model for a woman and wife to follow.
But remember: The commandments of the Lord “are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The guidelines of Proverbs 31 are not rigid rules, intended to make a woman feel weighed down with guilt or failure about her inability to perform every task outlined. Instead, the truths of Proverbs 31 teach what is possible for a wife to fulfill when she lives her life in yielded submission to God and obedience to His loving commands. She can live on a path of continual growth as a godly, productive and virtuous woman, “through Christ who strengthens” her (Phil 4:13).
But how does a woman begin on this path to becoming a godly and effective wife? What are the foundational biblical truths she needs to understand before attempting to apply the practical truths of Proverbs 31?
FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE
Every Christian woman should desire to please the Lord and fulfill God’s purpose for her life. However, she may not understand what God’s purpose is for her life. She may even be afraid she has somehow missed what God has for her, wondering whether or not she is properly using her time, energy and gifts.
A faithful disciple of the Lord – man or woman – would never, want to walk in willful disobedience to God’s plans for them. But if a woman does not understand the priorities God has set for her, she may end up going down a wrong path that takes her far away from God’s will for her life.
Thus, it is important for every Christian woman, wife and mother to understand what the Bible teaches about God’s priorities for women.
WOMAN’S CREATED PURPOSE
First of all, it is important to remember that the creation of the female was very much in God’s plan for mankind. This is seen in Genesis 1:27:“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It took the creation of both male and female to adequately reflect the image and glory of God.