By Pat Ennis
It’s Mother’s Day, and the minister announces the title of his sermon: “The Incredible Search: The Quest for Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God.” Inwardly you groan. Oh, great. I am going to leave today’s service on another guilt trip rather than encouraged and edified. Perhaps I can plan my week’s menus or work on my Bible study while appearing to look interested.
He begins his sermon with Proverbs 31:10-31, introducing a woman whose lifestyle, values, and character align with the Word of God—someone modern Christian women are challenged to emulate. He states that those who believe this passage is irrelevant call into question the unchanging nature of God.
He then suggests the description of the godly woman of Proverbs 31 is not designed to give women an inferiority complex. You think, Easy for you to say. Men don’t have 22 consecutive verses that make them feel inadequate. But then his next words draw you back to his line of reasoning. The passage contains principles for living a life that pleases God.
The Incredible Search Unwrapped
Ten principles describe the woman who seeks to please God. She is virtuous, trustworthy, energetic, strong, unselfish, honorable, lovable, prepared, prudent, and God-fearing. But you’ve heard all this before. And you never seem to measure up. Just as you’re about to disengage, several words from the pulpit catch your attention.
Your minister asks you to take a moment to reflect on the character of the godly woman. She is a person of moral excellence, right actions, and true thinking. She is worthy, just, pure, lovely, of good report, possessing virtue, and praiseworthy (see Philippians 4:8, 9).
The word virtue refers generally to a commendable quality and specifically to moral excellence. It permeates the thoughts, actions, and relationships of the godly woman. When displayed in her life, it brings influence and respect.
A godly woman knows how to keep another’s confidence. Her speech is encouraging, sympathetic, and tactful (Proverbs 25:11). Her love for God is evident (John 14:15). Her dependability is exhibited in her lifestyle (Proverbs 25:23). The character of the godly woman motivates her husband to respond with trust (Proverbs 31:11). Her husband and those under her influence are challenged to reach their full potential (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14).
Proverbs 31:13-16, 19, 24, and 27 suggest that a godly woman is a worker and not a shirker (Proverbs 10:4). Her Christianity is practical (James 1:17). She enjoys her work (John 4:36) and performs it with a positive attitude (Colossians 3:17). She understands her assets and liabilities. She works willingly with her hands. (The word hands is used 10 times in the 22 verses of Proverbs 31:10-31).
Women who want to please God understand their personal limitations and work within them (1 Corinthians 6:19). Words like suitable, proper, and fit describe the worthy woman’s attitude toward the condition of her body. The worthy woman chooses suitable activities to prepare her to fulfill the demands of her life. Proper describes the activities she pursues guided by good judgment. Fit expands the definition to depict the qualifications necessary to meet the challenges of her life.
The Proverbs 31 woman shares her most valuable asset—her time—with others. A godly woman is not so busy with her own affairs that she can’t lend a helping hand to others. Her words bring comfort, hope, cheer, and, when necessary, correction to those who touch her life (Galatians 6:10).
An honorable woman chooses to “stay away from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). She dresses modestly and understands the importance of maintaining her integrity (Proverbs 22:1). Being honorable is synonymous with having integrity and is evidenced by others’ high regard and respect for her.
This woman enjoys relationships that have depth as she seeks to sharpen her friends spiritually and intellectually (Proverbs 27:17). Her husband and children applaud her (Proverbs 31:27-29). She lives a dependable, consistent life as a wife and mother.
She faces unforeseen circumstances with confidence (Philippians 4:13). She makes provision for unknown needs rather than living from crisis to crisis. This worthy woman knows the value of being spiritually prepared. She builds a spiritual reserve for challenging times (Jeremiah 17:7, 8).
The godly woman thinks about consequences. When she speaks, she can be firm, yet kind (Proverbs 27:9). Truthfulness is evident in her relationships with others (Ephesians 4:15) and she realizes that what she meditates upon will emerge in her speech (Psalm 19:14; Luke 6:45).
Her actions and lifestyle show that she stands in awe of her Lord (Proverbs 1:7) and loves him with all her heart (Matthew 22:37).
The godly woman receives her rewards “in the gates” (Proverbs 31:31), referring to the public assembly of people. She is often rewarded in this life and always in the life to come (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 4:1-51; 5:10; Revelation 22:12). She displays a hunger and thirst after God (Psalm 42:1, 2), an attitude of submission to God’s will (James 4:7), and a consistent evaluation of her spiritual status (1 Corinthians 11:31, 32).
The minister then phrases the question, “Would you like some practical suggestions to make these principles a part of your life?” Grabbing your pen and bulletin, you write as rapidly as you can to capture his thoughts.
Build your spiritual stamina daily. Then when turbulent times come, you can approach them with peace and confidence rather than fear and anxiety (Psalm 119:11).
Practice humility and serve others graciously
(1 Peter 5:5, 6).
Give your cares and concerns to your heavenly
Father. He alone is adequate to remedy them (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:8).
Select your words carefully. You will never regret the things you did not say (Proverbs 31:26).
Love others—even when you do not feel like it. Remember that love is never rude (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5).
Be countercultural. Keep focused on the truth that becoming a woman who pleases God is a sign of strength rather than weakness (1 Peter 2:18-25).
Enjoy every day of your life. Women who please God are peaceful, serene, and have an abundant life (John 10:10).
Believe that through the Lord’s strength you can become a woman who pleases God (Philippians 4:13).
He then asks a final question: “Are you willing to begin the quest?” You bow your head and consider the implications of his words.
The sermon is over. The menus and Bible study are forgotten. You leave the church encouraged and edified.
Pat Ennis is a freelance writer in Burleson, Texas.
Heeding God’s Call to Kindness
Throughout Scripture God calls people to be kind to everyone, and particularly those who need it most, like the poor and orphans. In the rosy glow of Mother’s Day it’s easy to forget that this day is downright painful for many people. Find ways to show God’s kindness to these people today.
• People whose mothers have died.
• People who never knew their mother.
• Women who don’t have children.
• Single women.
• Men who’ve lost their wives.
• Women who’ve lost a child.
Keep your eyes open for ways to comfort those who are hurting today.