LESSONS FROM PROVERBS 31

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Proverbs 31 is a much talked about chapter of the Bible yet I never actually bothered to study it until recently. I felt like I already knew what it was about since it is so often talked about. When I was planning to start up my business, I needed Biblical inspiration and motivation, I had read blogs and listened to sermons that vehemently dissuaded women from working- except domestic work of course.

To cut the long story short, I found all the motivation and inspiration I needed from Proverbs 31. I decided to read it and truly discover what the Proverbs 31 woman was all about. I learnt things about ‘her’ that I never even knew despite all the blogs i had read about the Proverbs 31 woman.

Note that the Proverbs 31 is not a set of rules of commandments but since everything in the Bible is written for our benefit, we must to some extent try to imbibe the qualities she possesses- for our own good of course. The first two verses of the chapter show that a mother is advising her son. Apply the guidelines to your life and watch things change.

Also, i advice that you have your Bible by your side as you read because I have only indicated verse numbers, I have not written out the verses.

Here are the lessons I derived from Proverbs 31 (mainly from verse 10-31):

  1. In every sense of it, the woman described in this chapter is an industrious, business woman and at the same time a homemaker.
  2. She is hardworking. Verse 13 explains this, she is willing to work and does not find reasons to be lazy. she works joyfully and wholeheartedly. she is resourceful and goes after opportunities that are of benefit to her and her family.
  3. Her husband trusts her. Verse 11 explains this. Her husband trusts her work (or hustle), he has nothing to worry about because she is a God-fearing woman. The home does not suffer because of her work, she is a business woman and a homemaker.
  4. She is creative. Verse 14 helps us understand this. She goes for the best irrespective of what other women are doing.
  5. She is an investor. Beautifully captured in verse 16. She makes money and reinvests. She works hard and makes profit. From the money she makes, she is able to purchase fields and yield more from the fields. She makes smart business decisions and is perceptive to good business opportunities.
  6. She is perceptive. As explained in verse 18-19. She can discern and make smart business decisions. she knows a good investment and she knows what is profitable, she is confident in her work because she knows God will reward her diligence. She makes use of her God given talent , she is industrious.
  7. She helps those in need. Verse 20 means that she does not gather for her family alone. She is a blessing to others.
  8. Her appearance glorifies God. Silk and purple referred to in verse 22 could mean royalty. Her family looks like royalty because of her, her appearance is good and glorifying, her dressing depicts the fear of God.
  9. She turns her skills into a business. Verse 24 reiterates that she is a business woman, her skills and talents profit the family.
  10. She is confident and unafraid. she does not fear the future, she does not worry about tomorrow because she knows God is already there, everyday is a good day and even on bad days, she can find reasons to rejoice in the Lord.
  11. She is a homemaker. In verse 27, she does what needs to be done to make the home appealing. Doing business or working does not mean she neglects the home. Whatever her hands find to do, she knows that the home is the first priority.
  12. Her family praises her. Verse 28 shows that because she is resourceful, industrious and diligent, her husband and children are proud of her and sing her praises.
  13. Beauty is vain. I love verse 30 so much because it makes it clear that what really matters is the fear of the Lord. Beauty is vain and not once is she praised because she is pretty or gorgeous rather the works of her hands do the talking. Her beauty and looks are not mentioned because they are vanity.
  14. Her reputation speaks for her. In verse 31 we see that she does not need to brag or blow her own trumpet, her hard work and handwork speaks for her. Her reputation shines because of how resourceful she is.

Every time you feel like quitting your business or whenever you feel stuck, remember that God already gave you guidelines on how to manage and navigate the tough world of business.

To the envious mom…

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 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:26)

 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying (Romans 13:13)

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones (Proverbs 14:30)

Envy is the desire of something that belongs to someone else, this desire often causes resentment and discontentment. Harold Coffin said envy is when we count our neighbour’s blessings instead of our own. I find that to be pretty accurate. Envy is typically a negative emotion and all the biblical references of envy or envious emotions point towards negativity.

Becoming a mom got me thinking seriously about envy as a sin I have often overlooked. The thing is, I have often found myself in situations like what I described in the previous paragraph. Wanting what the children of other people have etc as opposed to realising that my life is different and my children have their own needs which may not necessarily be the same as other people’s needs. In this age of social media, it is even more common and easier to get stuck on the lives of others while forgetting that we have our own lives to focus on.

Envy is one of those sins that begets several other sins such as covetousness and strife(which God specifically warned against). Unaddressed envy can ruin lives, marriages and even our relationship with God- I know this for certain because I have been there, It is really hard to focus on God when you are too busy daydreaming about having the life you think someone else has and detesting them for having a ‘good life’. Many people have gone as far as finding ways to outshine the other person or wishing ill towards the person they envy (1 Corinthians 3:3, Colossians 3:5, Exodus 20:17, Mark 7:21-23)

Envy is a sin!!! (Galatians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:1, )

Thankfully, we have a remedy for sin.

Repent!!! (1 John 1:9, Romans 12:21)

Talk to God about this demonic spirit (James 3:14-16).

Envy would make you aspire to be like someone else so much that you struggle to measure up. So many people are ‘competing’ with people who really have no idea about them. I guess in a way, this can be idolatry because someone else has become the standard. Remember the first commandment? (Exodus 20:3, Ephesians 5:5).

Many times, the people we envy are unbelievers and the word of God has strictly warned against that. (Proverbs 23:17, 24:19).

If you want your marriage to work, envying another person’s marriage does not help.

If you want obedient and responsible children, envying another person’s seemingly well adjusted children is definitely not the answer.

I have heard several people say envy can be a good thing or a good motivataor, unfortunately the Bible does not say so. Time and time again, believers have been warned against any form of envy.

Her children call her blessed – Proverbs 31:28

I know people talk about Proverbs 31 a lot however, the first part of verse 28 caught my attention a few days ago. 

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Proverbs 31:28 KJV 

My children do not call me blessed. Well, they are 3 years old, 2 years old and 2 months old. When I lived with my parents, I never called my mum blessed despite the fact that she is a good mother. Maybe I was too stuck up or too stupid but as an adult I can proudly say my mother is a blessed woman. 

The truth is, as mothers, a lot of the stuff we do may go unnoticed but you know something? A day will come when they will look back and understand everything you have done. They will call you blessed. 

Do not give up!!! Even when you feel discouraged. Cast your burdens upon the Lord, Jesus is the affirmation you need.
PRAYER GUIDE:

Thank You Lord for my family, help me to serve them with love and joy. In my weakness, be my strength. Comfort me when I feel discouraged. Help me to appreciate good days and to remember such days when I feel overwhelmed In Jesus Name. Amen.