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Virtuous Woman #12: Is it right to desire praise?

As we come to verses 28-30 of Proverbs 31,  we learn that the virtuous wife or mother is to be praised. Although we all  appreciate praise and admiration; a woman especially needs and appreciates if from her husband and children.  Why does the Scripture make a point of encouraging women with the promise of praise? Is that a worthy desire or goal, or it  sinful?

 

God deserves and desires praise, as Psalm 33:1 and 147:1 along with dozens of other verses teach us. They tell us that praise is good and comely for the upright to offer God.  If praise is a good thing to offer God, we are not satisfying a sinful emotion. Husbands do well to praise their wives. Children do well to praise their mothers. Cards and sweet expressions of praise should be showered on our wives and mothers; not just on Mother’s Day, but throughout the year.

 

Having said that, let me be quick to inform you that there are wrong ways and right ways for a wife and mother to gain attention and praise.

 

The wrong way for women to seek attention and praise.

 

Let’s look, first of all,  at the wrong ways for a woman to  seek attention and  praise. One wrong way for a wife and mother to seek praise is to ignore her God-given responsibilities and live a self-centered life.

 

When you marry, your life no longer centers on you and your preferences and desires. It centers on pleasing and blessing your husband and a godly husband takes time and attention  from his personal concerns to devote himself to his wife.  A pastor can be more selfless and godly by devoting himself to the needs of his wife.  So marriage is not really a hindrance to our devotion to God nor to our effectiveness in serving Him.

 

In the same way, it was not a distraction from Jesus’ devotion to His Father to come down to this earth to seek and purchase a Bride for Himself by shedding His precious blood for our sins.

 

It is not good for man to be alone without a wife, just as it is not good for God to be alone.  If God is love, and He is; then He must have others upon whom He can pour out His love.  We cannot be loving if we are the center of our universe.   Whether married or single, to be the Christians that God intends us to be, we need to have others than ourselves on which to pour our love.

 

If God gives you children, that takes even more of your time and attention  upon which to focus your love.  A godly mother just can’t afford the luxury of living a selfish life just as a man with a wife cannot afford the luxury of living a selfish life, ignoring her needs.

 

So Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman as one who devotes almost 100% of her time and attention and energy on her husband, children and others in her life.    In carrying out these selfless responsibilities, she shows her love for God and she becomes a virtuous, God-centered woman.

 

Another wrong way for a woman to gain the  attention and praise she desires is to flaunt her sexuality.

 

Don’t be ashamed that you are a woman. You are the final, the highest and most beautiful of all of God’s creation.  You have nothing to be ashamed of as a woman.  It is not sinful for you to take time and effort to be and look your best.  Note the attention the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 give to her clothing.  She is not dressed in burlap bags,  nor does she dress like a slob.  Regardless of her financial situation, she is careful to look for bargains and does the best she can with what she has.  She dresses beautifully and at the same time, modestly. She is feminine and proud of it.

 

The Bible warns women to dress in feminine attire and wear her hair in a feminine hair style.  I Corinthians 11:14-15  and Deuteronomy 22:5  warn of the sin of attempting to be masculine in dress and hair style.  God calls such behavior  abominable.  That is,  He hates it.

 

On the other hand, girls and women need to beware of trying to dress and act sexy in public.   Matthew 5:27-28 warns men to avoid the sin of lusting after women. If it’s sinful for a man to lust after a woman, then it’s just as much a sin for a woman to provoke that lust by her dress and actions in the presence of anyone but her husband.

 

Another wrong way for a woman to gain attention  to herself is to flaunt herself in public. For example, a woman ought not try to make a grand entrance when she goes to church.  She ought not try to outdo the others in her appearance.  She is not going to gain respect and praise by being loud and boisterous. Proverbs 9:13  

 

Contentious women are miserable company, Proverbs 21:9 affirms.   She ought not try to flaunt her authority.  I Timothy 2:12    That is, she  will never gain respect and praise by throwing her weight around and showing others that she is boss.   It’s bad enough for men to do that; but it is even more unseemly in a woman.  In fact, it is a shame to her.  It is the very opposite of a meek and quiet spirit that I Peter 3:4 describes as an ornament of great price in a woman.

 

Such attitudes as I have been describing  distort her beauty, hinder the growth of a church, and distract from the glory of God.

 

What is the right way for a woman to gain attention and praise?

 

Be a Proverbs 31 virtuous woman by being devoted to your husband and children. In other words,  be other-centered. Such a woman does not even give a thought to her own desire for praise.  There’s not a selfish bone in her body.

 

She cares for the needs of her family and keeps her home clean.

 

She is personally clean and well dressed,

 

She is thrifty and careful with the family finances.

 

She sees to it that her children are well behaved.

 

Bible reading and her private prayer life are not a substitute for taking care of her personal and household responsibilities.  At the same time, she will find time each day to spend time alone with God in prayer and Bible reading.

 

Note, that her works praise her. She doesn’t need to scheme and connive for praise. Her reverential fear of God will cause her to do right and thus bring her the praise she desires according to Proverbs 31:30.  Her major motivation is that God be glorified and not blasphemed by her life. Titus 2:3-5

 

Who is to bring her praise?  Don’t be too concerned about it, for much praise is deceitful. Proverbs 31:30

 

Get this!  The success of your husband  and children, as well as all the lives you have touched through the years are the results of a selfless life.  Their success is your praise.

On Mother’s Day, it is gratifying and comforting to receive cards, flowers and other  tokens of love and appreciation from your family.  Hopefully, they will remember you with these things.   But remember this. Your family living for the Lord is your continual Mother’s Day card and flowers  365 days a year. Don’t forget this!  Your family growing in spiritual maturity will be your ongoing reward in this life.

 

Not only are you rewarded in this life, but I Corinthians 4:5 teaches us that  faithful wives and mothers are going to be rewarded also at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ when He returns.

 

I encourage you to faithfully be the wife and mother that you ought to be and leave the results and the rewards in God’s hands.

 

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May 13, 2007 - Posted by | Virtuous Woman

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