Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Thoughts Regarding the Proverbs 31 Movement

Several friends of mine have brought to my attention the Proverbs 31 Movement.  Perhaps you may have seen the logo on Pinterest of Facebook.  Anyhow a wonderful blogger I follow, named Preston, stirred things up a bit as he very humbly and biblically corrected the movement.  You can see one out of the three posts he published here.

 (While you're there I recommend following his blog and checking out some of the other posts--great stuff!)

Anyhow, I have studied Proverbs 31 on my own lately and this is what the Word tells me.

First of all, Proverbs 25-31 were written specifically as advice for leaders.  Proverbs 31 is wisdom King Lemuel has learned from his mother.  The first 9 verses have very good points such as:

  • Watch out for adulterous women
  • Don't get drunk on wine
  • Defend the poor and weak
The next verses (10-31) are the infamous "Proverbs 31 Woman" that we all have come to love or hate.  Something I learned while studying this chapter appealed to me as very interesting.  Verses 10-31 are an acrostic, meaning each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  We use acrostics for all sorts of cutsie little things now.  I'm not totally sure if the acrostic was used for the same types of things back then or not, but an example can be found in the picture to the right.

While the common misconception is that the Proverbs 31 Woman is an example we are all supposed to follow word for word, this is false.  As Preston stated, there are many other noble women in the bible worth following who don't meet the P31W standards.  (I'm pretty sure that just affirms their human citizenship.)

Some theologians even suspect the passage is a picture of womanhood altogether, not just one single woman.  This makes sense because how many women do you know who are a manufacturer, farmer, seamstress, merchant, wife, and mother, who never sleep?  If you answered yes, this woman might be a robot.

Anyhow, as with every point ever made in the Bible, we can always draw it back to our two main commandments as Christians.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind first.  Then, love your neighbor as yourself.  (Matthew 22:37-40)

As verse 30 touches on, what makes this woman beautiful is not her talents, careers, and style, but her deeply fearing heart for the Lord.  Our overall goal as Christians is not to maintain a superb standard, or to outserve everyone else.  Our goal is not to imitate the P31W,  nor Ester, nor Sarah, nor any other woman in the bible.  

No, our goal as Christian women is to imitate Christ and let him mold us and shape us into the life-long sanctification process of becoming women of God, who love the Lord with gladness and strive to give him glory, honor, and praise everyday of our lives because our hearts are so broken before him.  Our goal is to live and love in true humility that comes from knowing and receiving the gospel of Christ which we did not even deserve in the first place.  
(Ephesians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Romans 6:18) 

This is what the P31W is pointing us to, a life lived in reverence to Christ.  If you try to do all that she does in your own strength you will fail.  Not only that, but you will be running around like a chicken with your head cut off, ignoring all the real important things in life because you are busy worrying about your next sale or investment.  This is not at all how Jesus calls us to live. 
(Ephesians 5:2, Luke 10:38-42, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 28:7)

So my goal for you today is this: seek to imitate Christ above all else.  Love him with every part of your heart, even the parts you don't want anyone else to see.  Love him until it hurts.