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Measuring Up to Perfection

Proverbs 31
AProverbs31woman.Forthoseofuswhohavebeeninchurchforanyamount oftime,wefindthatthiswomanissetasthestandardofperfectionforfemales. AreadthroughofthelastchapterinProverbsisenoughtotireanddiscourage anywomanotherthanSuperwoman!Howmanyofusfeeluptothetaskofbe ingthatwomanwhenwewakeupinthemorning?CertainlynotI. WhathavebeenyourthoughtsandfeelingswhenreadingProverbs31?

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. Proverbs 31:10

EventheauthorofthischaptersaysAnexcellentwife,whocanfind?Yeah whereisshe? Weareconstantlybeingtoldbythemediaandthepeoplearoundusthatwe arenotgoodenough,andmostwomentodayaredesperatelyinneedofre freshmentandencouragement,notanotherlistofthingstodoorbe.WasProv erbs31writtentobeyetanotherlistforustomeasureupto? Yesandno.ThereisnodenyingthatGodhasasetofstandardsandexpecta tionsHehasplacedforus.AschildrenofGodwearetobelivingChristlike lives.Aswomen,wearetobereflectingGodscharacterbybeingvirtuous women.Proverbs31maybeseenastheoutwardresultsofaheartthatisbeing transformedintoChristlikeness,theobservableimageofawomanafterGods ownheart.However,itisimportanttonotethatavirtuouswomanmaynotdo anyofthethingslistedinProverbs31andyetstillbeavirtuouswoman. Thatalsoleadsmetothinkofthewomeninmylifewhoexhibitcharacteristics ofavirtue. Isthereawomanyouknowwhohassetanexampletoyouofbeingagodly woman?

Thesewomenarenotperfect,norwouldtheyclaimtobe.Infact,humilityanda realisticperspectiveofoneselfisonethingthatsetsagodlywomanapart. JustasPaulspeaksofthefactthathehasnotattainedperfectionandisstill pressingontowardthegoalinPhilippians3:1214,we,also,aretobestriving tobethewomanthatGodintendsustobe.Thisdoesnotmeanthatwehaveto accomplishitallinoneday.ItdoesnotmeanthatGodexpectsustobeperfect. ItmeansthatwearetobelivingwithafocusonbecomingthatwomanthatGod desiresustobeandtobeconsistentlygrowingtowardthat. Oneofthewisewomeninmyownlifesays,Whowearetodayiswhowewill becometomorrow.Thisshowsthefluidityofthegrowingprocess.Tryingto changeintothepersonwewanttobeinfiveyearsisanoverwhelmingthought, butwhataboutjustbeingalittlemorelikethepersonyouwanttobetoday? Justtoday.Whenwelookatthesituationswefacetodayandconsiderhowthat womanwewanttobecomewouldhandlethesesituations,thatgivesusnot onlyabetterideaofhowtobecomethewomanweknowthatGoddesiresusto

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

be,butisataskthatseemsalittlemoremanageable. Whatkindofwomandoyouwanttobefiveyearsfromnow?

Howcanyoulivetodayinawaythatwilltakeyoutothatpointinthefuture?

Itisalsoimportanttorealizethatattemptingtobethiswomanapartfroma nourishing,sustaining,lifegivingrelationshipwithChrist,isonlygoingtoleadto burnoutandresentment.TheNewTestamentstoryofMaryandMarthashows usthatifwearenottakingtimetositatthefeetofJesusandletHimspeakto uspersonally,thenwearemissingthemostimportantthing,thethingthatgives usstrengthforthetasksoftheday,enablesustomaintainandnurturethevari ousrelationshipsinourlives,andtoplaytherolesthatwearedailyrequiredto play. MarywasnotbeinglazywhenshespenttimewithJesus.Shewasmostlikely takingtimefromherbusydayofresponsibilitiestodowhatwasfoundationalfor everythingelseshedid.Shewassoakinginthemindset,priorities,andloveof Christ.TheheartofaProverbs31womanisthetypeofheartthatJesushad, andwantstodevelopinus,aswell. LetHimdoworkinyourlifeandlistenforHimtogiveyouguidancethroughout theday.LetHimlavishyouwithHislovesothatyouarefull,healthy,andable togivethesamecaretoothersthatHedesirestogivetoyou. NowthatweseethattheideaistobeonajourneyofallowingGodtoworkin yourlifeinawaythattransformsyouintoHisimage,andthatgainingthe strengthforthatjourneycomesfromanintimateandnourishingrelationship withChrist,wecometothequestionofwhatheartcharacteristicsarebehind theactionsoftheProverbs31womanthatGoddesirestodevelopinus,as well. Agoodexampleiskeyinunderstandinganyconcept.Notonlydowehave otherwomeninourownlivesthatsetexamplesforus,butwehavebeengiven anumberofexamplesinscriptureofgodlywomenwholiveoutthedifferent characteristicsoftheProverbs31woman.Thisserieswilltakealookatsome oftheheartcharacteristicsofaProverbs31woman,thewomeninscripture whoexhibitthesecharacteristics,andhowwecanallowGodtobegindevelop ingthesethingsinourlives,aswell. Whatdoyouneedtodoinresponsetothislesson?

By Shannon Kinzie

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