Many standards are offered by the world on how to be the perfect woman. They include television, movies, magazines, books, billboards, even a husband’s desire. Another standard presented is even more difficult than what the world offers. It is found in Proverbs 31 of the Bible. Many women cringe to the standard presented. Read just some of her attributes:
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.”
“Works with eager hands”
“She gets up while it is still dark and provides food for her family”“She sets about her work vigorously, her arms are strong”
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy”
“She is clothed with strength and dignity”
“Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her”
Talk about depressing. Women are dealing with enough guilt already. Why pile it on even more? I think many women would agree that a man must have written this proverb.
When basking in the gloom of not measuring up to a certain standard, I am reminded of the purpose behind such passages. We look in the mirror and see failure in our efforts to meet our own standards, but also the standards placed by others (family, media, etc..). Then, we are confronted by the standard set by God. He desires for us to be perfect. To be perfect is the only way to receive God’s stamp of approval. The message God desires for us to know is that we need to stop trying to measure up to a worldly or a self-imposed standard. God’s standard is tough enough! But, fix our eyes on the only way we can achieve that standard and that is through faith in Christ.
Faith means surrendering our self, confessing that we fall way short of God’s standard and that we need His help. Through our weakness, faith receives the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ dwells in us and we are perfect. How can that be possible? Because this is what Christ did for us on the cross. He became our substitute and through His life in place of ours, we are perfect. The removal of self allows the fruit of the Spirit to pour forth. We become a new creation. We begin to respond to life, to people and to difficult circumstances with peace, patience, joy, gentleness and self-control.
So, to all those woman who groan at the words written in Proverbs 31, I have a encouragement for you. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are perfect. Not because of who you are, or what you are doing, but what Christ has done for you. With this confidence and assurance of God’s promises, we can begin to experience the fruit of a surrendered life.