I had the chance to attend a ladies’ retreat last weekend with about 80 women from several different churches. The guest speaker used Proverbs 31 as her text, and I have to admit that my first thought was, “Oh, great – I’m in for two days of hearing about all my faults as a mother and ex-wife.” If you’ve ever read “The Wife of Noble Character” passage, then you know what I’m talking about.
The Proverbs 31 chick is perfect, and many sermons I’ve heard about that passage focused on some aspect or another about this implausibly flawless woman and left me feeling like a complete failure. To my surprise, that’s exactly what the speaker said: it’s pointless to try to compare ourselves to the Proverbs 31 woman, because none of us are Betty Crocker, Oprah Winfrey, and Mother Theresa combined! Instead, she explained that rather than line ourselves up (with all of our failures and baggage) against this perfected image, perhaps we’re looking at it from the wrong angle. Maybe this depiction of the ideal woman is actually how God sees us, through the lens of Christ.
For example, the woman in Proverbs 31 came from a well-to-do family and ran in high society circles (Proverbs 31:21-23). Not many of us would consider ourselves upper class, but when it comes to our status through Christ, we are royalty! (1 Peter 2:9)
In God’s eyes, we are worth far more than jewels (Proverbs 31:10). He sees the work we do – often behind the scenes and seldom acknowledged – at home, at work, in the church, and in our communities. It may seem like no one notices or appreciates our efforts, but God does!
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t measure up to the heroes of the Bible or people like the Proverbs 31 woman (or her husband, for that matter, whose accolades are touted among the city leaders), then I encourage you to spend some time reading about folks like David, Moses, Rahab, Martha, or Peter. They were all flawed people who allowed God to use them, anyway. They made mistakes in life (some were real doozies), but those issues didn’t define who they became; God did.