No Decrease in Increase

June 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm (Godly Living, Marriage, Meditations on Proverbs 31) (, , , , , , , )

virtue is valuable

Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.”

The heart (inner man/mind/will) of her husband (lord) trusts (has confidence) in her.

This is a secure trust because she is reliable and he knows it. He can entrust the management of his home and money and children to her because he is confident in her ability to care for these things and see that in each area there is an increase. She not only maintains their home and possessions, she beautifies them, improves upon them. She not only refrains from spending money carelessly, she makes a good return on it by using it wisely and even investing it so that it increases. She not only cares for the basic needs of her children, but she trains them to be a blessing to their father. This woman is not a minimalist when it comes to her responsibilities. She is what we might call an over-achiever. What her husband entrusts to her she will not only be careful to preserve, but will also improve upon it!

This concept is expressed again in the second half of this verse: “And he will have no lack of gain.”

The Hebrew word for gain here refers to spoil, goods taken in victory. Basically, she makes him successful. He has no decrease in increase. Because of her careful management, he is not limited in growth potential, but is actually set free to succeed beyond his current sphere. He may have limitations on his time because of the work that he does, but his wife makes sure that she has no part in slowing him down. He is able to dedicate more time to God’s word because she has taken care of the physical, practical needs of their home. He has more time to invest in his children because he does not have to baby-sit his wife. He has more opportunities to serve and to lead because he can safely trust that his wife has taken care of what he has entrusted to her. He should even have more time and motivation to dote on his wife, deepening their relationship, because she is such a blessing to him. And more than just sparing him time and energy, this godly woman allows her husband to move forward in confidence because he is not at all worried about things at home—she creates a worry-free environment for him by managing her responsibilities well. He may have to deal with undependable people all day at work, but when he comes home he is at ease because of the faithful, fruitful labor of his wife. Being in her presence is a great comfort to him.

I think that this verse pretty well sums up the rest of the passage (aside from the statement at the end that she “fears the LORD”). We see the virtuous woman’s character and hard work and over-arching goal presented in this verse in very general terms. As we move on from here, we will see how this specifically works itself out in her day-to-day living.

It’s hard for me to let this sink in. This kind of idealism isn’t popular today—we don’t like to think about such a woman because her example reveals that we need to change! And what an example this woman is for us—what an example she is for me! May God prune me, taking away my selfishness so that I can serve and thrive like this godly woman. I must seek to be all that God has called me to be so that I can prop my husband up and help him to be all that God has called him to be! Oh, do I ever need help with this! May God grant us grace that we all would grow in our service to Him—from the inside out.

laurens-sig1

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Wasted Emotion

November 24, 2008 at 7:43 am (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Christmas was fast approaching as my friend, Lauryn, and I soaked in the hot tub and dived into one of our typical sort-it-out conversations—this time about emotions. Because we are both very definitely women, and we both very definitely have them. By the time our skin had wrinkled like a soggy walrus we’d concluded that God created us with emotions—in order to worship and enjoy Him. A few days ago, we sat on my bed discussing this nagging issue once again—this time focusing in especially on anxiety, an emotion we find plaguing us both. Because every season in life carries uncertainty. Tomorrow has worries. Over the past several months the Lord has been working in my heart and understanding to reveal to me how anxious I am and how dishonoring to Him my anxiety is.

“Be careful how you walk,” Paul told the Ephesian believers. “Make the most of your time. Don’t get drunk, that’s wasteful.” (Check out Ephesians 5:15-21) Recognizing the wastefulness of getting drunk—or wasted—isn’t particularly foreign or counter-culture. But the point of Paul’s message is so much more than the cry of a teetotaler. “Don’t be wasteful,” he warns us. I find myself glibly pointing out wasted money, wasted time and wasted energy, the whole time spilling out emotional energy that was meant to be poured at the feet of Jesus. My emotions are a stewardship I find much more daunting. The Lord has blessed me with an abundance of emotional energy. What am I supposed to do with it? Paul offers the solution. “Don’t be wasteful, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Solomon speaks in Ecclesiastes of a time for everything: for sorrow, for joy, for death, for life, for love, for hate. My heart flooded with truth when I discovered that there is a time for anxiety. David was anxious because of his sin. When we are at enmity with God, cut off from His mercy, lost to His grace, we ought to be anxious. We ought to worry. We ought to be terrified and afraid. But perfect love casts out fear, and when we have such evidence of love as Christ’s death for us, we find the cure for anxiety in the words of Jesus Himself. “Don’t be anxious about your life…all these things the pagans chase after…You seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.” He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also along with Him, graciously give us all things? In Jesus we have everything pertaining to life and godliness.

Jesus redirects us to pursue God’s kingdom. Paul redirects us to gratitude. “Sing! Rejoice! Give thanks!” Look at what the Lord has done for us! He saved us, not on the basis of works we’ve done. We needn’t be anxious about our works! He provides for the birds of the air. He died for us! Won’t He supply all our needs? We needn’t be anxious about our needs. He chose us from before the foundation of the world, that we might walk in Him. He is the beginning and the end. We needn’t worry about the future! Who can bring a charge against us? Jesus is the judge who justifies! We needn’t worry about our salvation. We are secure in Christ. Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. We have the Spirit. We needn’t waste any more energy on anxiety. God is in control. And we are blessed to be His stewards.

do-not-be-anxious

“What do you do when you’re anxious?” Lauryn and I asked each other. When our hearts start pounding, our thoughts start racing and the emotions seem beyond our control, we’re learning to guide them back to the truth, by the Spirit. We sing. We thank. We pray. We rehearse God’s works. We remember His grace. We cling to His promises. Sometimes we weep. Always we grow.

And always the Lord proves faithful. Always He is in control. Always, through His mercy and peace we survive. We more than survive–we overwhelmingly conquer.

Listen to Lauryn’s original song, “Do Not Be Anxious”. Enjoy!

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