Friday, November 28, 2008

Building Him Up With Your Work: Proverbs 31:23

Laine's Letter
Dear Sisters~

Women love Cinderella stories, don't they? The romance of a poor, beautiful woman hidden away in a mean step mother's home to a life of hard, dirty work. Then a handsome prince calling her his own with the perfect fitting of a glass slipper. Well, I sure could relate with Cinderella on the hard, dirty work. And my husband is very handsome. ~Smile~ But so often I use to think, "My family is sucking me dry and soon I will be dead." And I was nursing at the time! So there was indeed some sucking going on there.

My problem was I had not realized fully that a Handsome King had called me His Own by the shedding of His Blood. I did not know who I was in Christ Jesus. That all started to change five and half years ago. The first morning that I opened His Word and began to believe it for myself. For myself...not someone else. And it has continued to this morning when, again, I opened His Word and sat in awe of Who my King is and just what He has promised me.

As most mornings, I turned to Proverbs 31 after my Bible study to see what I would be doing for the day. No passage inspires me more in my work as a homemaker than this one. For this passage shows me the value of my job. I read it. And I believe it. I believe that through Christ Jesus I can do all things. And the "all" for a homemaker is described quite vividly in this passage. The amazing thing in the passage is where her husband sits, right in the middle of all her work!

"Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land." Proverbs 31:23

He's right there, seemingly quite out of place, on the 13th verse after her vivid 12 verse description; with 8 more verses following again about her. But he's not really out of place. He is actually perfectly placed. For when we believe the Proverbs 31 passage and begin to act on it in faith, we build our husbands up with our work. And as we fall in love more and more with our King, we will gladly lay our glory down that our husbands might be raised up. Just as this husband in Proverbs 31 is raised up in the middle of all her work as an elder sitting in the gate. Her wise use of time, talents, treasures, and tongue glorifies him. And when she glorifies him, she glorifies Him. This, to me, is the essence of submission.

We talk a lot about submission. Some women laugh at the word as though it were some kind of joke. On the other end of the spectrum, some women will not do anything unless it is first okayed by their husband. They are paralyzed by fear that something they might do or might not do could be considered unsubmissive. I think true submission falls in the middle of both extremes. For here in Proverbs 31 we find a woman in total submission to her husband. How do I know? Because everything she does is for his good according to His Word. And that is the essence of submission: the godly doing of good through self-sacrifice and self- discipline for the glory of the other. If Eve had practiced this in the garden so long ago, Adam would have been glorified in her decision before the tree. And ultimately her LORD would have been glorified; for her submission to the Word would have, more than likely, moved Adam also to full obedience.

Yet that is exactly what Jesus perfectly did when He came to this earth in submission to the Father's will, and voluntarily gave up His life that we might live. A laying down of His will that we might be glorified in Him. Hmmm...sounds very familiar when I look at the Proverbs 31 passage, specifically the 23rd verse. She has the opportunity to lay down her life that He might be glorified. He calls her to do that under the headship of her husband. Even when His Bride wasn't paying any attention, He was laying down His life.

Sometimes our husbands are not paying attention at all we do either. Yet, we have His promise about our work for Someone is indeed paying attention:

"But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:30-31

Oh, the riches, the riches of following Jesus Christ our LORD. I will never get over His Word and all that He holds out for His Bride. It is better than the ending of Cinderella!


"I love you, LORD, my strength." Psalm 18:1

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