Tag Archives: Church Body

The Problem with Proverbs 31



The following blog was posted this week on Lift Up Your Day and is included in its entirety below. For more encouragement, check out the other posts on LUYD.


The Woman

If you’ve been a believer for a while, you’ve probably heard about Proverbs 31. Depending on your Bible translation, you may know this as the chapter describing the “virtuous woman” or the “excellent wife.” (See verse 10.) I used to think of this fictitious person as the Perfect Woman—Mother Theresa, Martha Stewart, and Ivanka Trump rolled into one modern day Super Hero.

Sounds cool, right? Sure, until you read the details.

This woman

  • does good things for her husband every day of her life (with no exception);
  • makes beautiful clothes and linen for her family using exotic raw materials she’s sourced in the marketplace;
  • finds time to make additional items, which she sells through her own clothing line;
  • is also a successful farmer and vine dresser;
  • never sleeps, rests, or is idle (and probably doesn’t blink for that matter);
  • still has the energy to mentor others;
  • is strong, wise, and dignified; and
  • apparently doesn’t have a negative bone in her body. (God bless her heart!)


The Frustration

Is it just me, or does this woman give us over-worked, over-stressed, under-paid girls a bad name? Don’t you just hate her? Can we agree to ignore this chapter all together?

Okay, so I was a little mad at the Proverbs 31 woman for a while. I was also frustrated at the preachers and teachers who lifted her up as the standard against which all women are measured. I was doing good to get out of bed on Sunday morning, so this comparison to the Proverbs 31 woman was becoming a stumbling block for me. I began to feel guilt and self-condemnation because I couldn’t measure up. My solution was to ignore that entire chapter as best I could.


The Truth

Fortunately, the Lord didn’t let me off that easy. Over a period of years, He kept bringing me back to Proverbs 31. Eventually, I discovered something amazing: this isn’t a to-do list of all the things we have to accomplish daily for God to love us and use us. Instead, this chapter is like a map of our spiritual journey as seen from a 20,000-foot vantage point.

For example, the woman buys a field, plants a garden, sells the produce, and then buys a vineyard with the earnings. Later, she helps the poor and needy. (See Proverbs 31:16-20.) We all recognize that we can’t reap what we don’t sow, and we can’t bless others if we have nothing to give. Even from a spiritual standpoint, we can’t offer the gifts of knowledge and wisdom until we’ve received them ourselves. Proverbs 31 contains many such natural laws, which helps us understand our spiritual journeys and track our progress.

I also realized that Proverbs 31 applies to both men and women. There are numerous Scriptures depicting God as a bridegroom courting His bride, which is the Church. (See Matthew 9:15 and Revelation 21:9-10.) So, when we read figurative Scriptures referring to the marriage relationship, we can usually put ourselves in the wife’s role and Jesus in the husband’s role. Applying this to Proverbs 31 has given me a new outlook on how we, the Church, interact with Jesus.


The Encouragement

Over time, I came to see that the problem with Proverbs 31 wasn’t with the Scripture at all—it was with my own misunderstanding of the Word. I encourage you to read this important chapter again with fresh eyes. Notice how the woman grows over time, from faithful servant to wise teacher. Then read the verses again as if the woman is the Church body and the husband is Jesus.

Instead of running from this chapter—like I wanted to—lean into it. Seek God’s guidance and understanding. Let go of the guilt of not being a Super Hero and pursue the greater role of an obedient child of God. May this bless you and encourage you on your journey.

“A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NAS).

The book I’ve been writing, Girls with Gusto, delves into these topics of perfection and Proverbs 31. As I pull these sections together, I’ll share them here with you. Please give me feedback—what you like or don’t like, what you find encouraging, and what’s difficult for you to live out in your daily life. Thank you!

No Competition



You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a blog in a few weeks. That’s because I’ve been preparing to attend the Florida Christian Writers Conference later this month. It was this same conference that jump-started my writing efforts last year, and I’m really excited to go back and learn more.


The Opportunity

This time, however, I won’t just be a conferee – I’ll be a co-facilitator of a workshop on blogging!

I met nearly 200 writers last year, and I’ve had the opportunity to develop friendships with several of them, including Kristen Hogrefe, a writer of young adult Christian fiction and blogger at ThinkTrueThoughts.com. You may recognize her as a guest blogger on this site.

When Kristen asked me to co-host a one hour workshop with her on blogging, I jumped at the opportunity. Kristen has been a great mentor to me on this subject, and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with other writers.


A slide from my upcoming blogging workshop with Kristen.


The Example

I’m telling you this because it’s a great example of what we should be doing in the Church body. Too often, we put a wall around our niche area, our skills and talents, our position within the church, or even our role at work or at home, and we fight off others who infringe on our territory. If that means stepping on toes – even Christian toes – we tell ourselves that’s OK, as long as we’re pursuing God’s purpose for our lives.

But that’s all wrong.

The truth is that God called us to Himself and to each other. We’re to love God and our brethren. We’re to bless God and bless others. (See Matthew 22:36-40.)

That means that we should seek opportunities to help others, even if there’s a chance they could take the spotlight from us.


The Perspective

The difference here is perspective. We should remember that God has no limits; His storehouse never runs bare. He can give me every blessing imaginable and still have enough to do the same for you – even if we’re operating in the same field, ministry, occupation, etc. (See Deuteronomy 28:12-13 and Malachi 3:10-11.)

In other words, we aren’t in competition with each other.

When we fully realize this, we can stop being afraid that we’ll lack resources, attention, or blessings. We can even start mentoring others by sharing our knowledge and experience.

I’m so glad the people I met at the writers conference last year understood this. When they felt confident enough to share their thoughts and ideas with me, it encouraged me to do the same. Those honest one-off conversations proved as valuable to me as the classroom material.

I’m especially grateful that Kristen is giving me the opportunity to stretch my teaching muscles later this month. Please be in prayer for us, that our class goes well and that we are a source of encouragement for our students. Please also pray that we find favor with publishers and agents as we pitch them our manuscripts. (More on that topic next time!)