Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
What exactly is virtue? How do we get it? How do we know when we have it?
Our team of bloggers have shared some of their thoughts on what it means to be a virtuous woman and how they are so important in the world we live in.
Why rubies? That thought has run through my mind several times as I read over this chapter. In our culture, especially, there seems to be a desire for diamonds more so than other precious stones. Diamond necklaces, diamond rings, and diamond studded everything has become so popular that the diamond is now a symbol of status. Surely if diamonds would be a more fitting comparison, why then would a virtuous woman be likened to a ruby?
When I started studying the differences between the two stones I understood why. Although the diamond ranks slightly higher than the ruby on the Mohs hardness scale, this is where the diamond’s superiority ends. The ruby is more vibrant in color, it is rarer and it is more valuable than a diamond of the same size.
What this small study taught me was that the virtuous woman doesn’t strive to be the toughest or have the hardest heart, but she is still incredibly durable. This allows her to compassionately navigate life’s challenges without being shattered even though she may acquire scars. Her uniquely colored “light” attracts more attention than someone who stays neutral and conforms to the “colors” surrounding them. Because she is so rare, her appearance and overall presentation leave a lasting impact on all she comes in contact with.
This just scratches the surface of why in a world full of diamonds, I'd rather be a ruby.
What type of woman is exalted and honored in today’s society? If our culture were to rewrite Proverbs 31:10 today, what would it read like? It might read, “Who can find a beautiful, popular, wealthy and stylish woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
Too often we rearrange the order of important qualities and characteristics to match the ideals of the world. I’m not saying that we should wear potato sacks, have no friends and be poor. In fact, Proverbs 31:22 says she is clothed in silk and fine purple. Proverbs 31:20 shows us that she is friendly to those in need. Proverbs 31:24 tells us she is an entrepreneur. I encourage having those qualities of Virtue. But why are some of the other qualities of Virtue, such as, commitment, trustworthiness, productivity, wisdom, faith and integrity often overlooked and forgotten? Maybe it’s because they aren’t celebrated like they should be? So to all the mommas raising their children to love Jesus, to all the wives staying faithful and committed to your husbands, to all the single ladies living a pure and sanctified life - you are amazing! You are needed! You are celebrated!
No one may ever see everything you do behind the scenes, but God does. He is proud of you.
Don’t let culture dictate your importance.
Counter culture and be every part of the virtuous women God designed you to be.
To really understand what the Bible defines Virtue as, I started by looking at what it means in the original Hebrew language it was written in. The word used in Proverbs 31:10 is chayil, which means “force” or “strength”. That same wording is used in the story of the woman with an issue of blood in the New Testament (which is one of my favorite miracles, by the way). There she was in the middle of what felt like a countless number of people…can you imagine with me for a second?
Everybody had just witnessed Jarius, a religious leader of some esteem, beg Jesus to visit his dying daughter. And just as He directed His attention to this need, Jesus was interrupted in the strangest of ways.
As the folks were shuffling around, there was a small clearing in the crowd and our lady saw this as her chance. “It’s now or never,” she must have thought, as she reached forward to clutch the edge of His clothes. And the Savior stopped! “Who touched me? Who touched me? … I perceive that virtue has gone out of me.” His choice of wording recorded in the Koine Greek has the same meaning found in Proverbs 31. Jesus was saying that a force of power had left Him. And a beautiful thing happened when our girl stepped up, raised a trembling hand and said, “It was me...I’m guilty...but when you know what happened when I touched you, you’ll understand why I had to.”
I like to imagine that this lady’s entire persona changed the moment she encountered Jesus and His virtue was transferred onto her. I mean, her whole outlook on life had to shift! No longer was she an outcast to society who was dealing with a very intimate problem that left her handicapped in a lot of ways. No longer was she going from waiting room to waiting room to hear another doctor tell her that there just wasn’t any hope for her. The moment she touched Him, her faith and everything she believed about Jesus was validated as His virtue became hers.
And that, I think, is what defines a virtuous woman. She is someone who has experienced the deepest and truest love of Christ and her entire life has been changed because of it. Her words, her actions, her being are all saturated in the power of Jesus and everyone around her knows it.
She is a world-changer and she’s an essential part of the Christian church. And you know what? She is who I want to be.
The day I invited Christ into my heart started a new pursuit. A pursuit to be virtuous--holy, godly, set apart--in my Savior’s eyes.
On this journey, I’ve often looked to examples around me. There’s the pastor’s wife who leads with a gentle, yet strong and steady spirit, and the anointed choir director whose song ushers the congregation into the very presence of an Almighty God. Perhaps you know a quiet, yet faithful teacher with open ears and heart, prepared to touch the next generation, or a wife and mother on her knees, beseeching God for her family.
They may contrast the “norm.” They may be the “faithful few,” and yet, they are vessels the Holy Ghost chooses to dwell in. These women are virtuous.
So what’s their secret? I believe it can be found in Mary’s example. Mary--a young, jewish girl chosen by God to carry the Savior of our fallen world. God saw something especially virtuous in Mary. What was the root of her virtue?
Well, she wasn’t perfect--and we all know that’s relief. When faced with God’s plan, Mary had fear. Mary even had questions! She knew the world would have a lot criticism. She knew her family may wonder how she failed. She knew her betrothed would find fault in her. After her fears and questions were laid before God’s messenger, she realized that above it all, God had a plan for her. This was her moment to trust in an all-knowing God, rather than her society.
With that knowledge, at the end of her discourse with Gabriel, we find her secret revealed. She answered, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).
I believe Mary was chosen in God’s plan because she was willing to shut out the words of the world to follow the word spoken by the messenger of God. In my pursuit of virtue, I choose to follow Mary’s example. How will I ever make this journey? How can I be prepared for the work God calls me to?
Herein lies the secret: A virtuous woman will choose the follow the Word, not the world.
When something good happens to a person, there’s an old adage that goes like this... “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time!” I’m sure there are times in each of our lives that we wish the process of ‘becoming virtuous’ was just that easy - a stroke of good luck, and BAM - there she glows - “the virtuous woman!” Unfortunately the journey to virtue isn’t quite that smooth and uncomplicated. It isn’t laced with shamrocks and leprechauns taunting a black pot of shiny gold at the end of our lucky streak!
Proverbs takes a deep look into the life of a virtuous woman.
To the contrary, it isn’t a phase of good luck that has brought her to the detailed, amazing list of her excellence, but it is obvious that she is living a life full of DISCIPLINE and INTENT.
Frankly, just reading about her and all she’s busy with, makes me need to take a very long nap!!! Looking at her strength that is obvious in all that she does, intimidates me a little and reminds me of how short I fall in my discipline. But she stands strong as the perfect example of what I’m striving for!
I LOVE ole Mr. Webster’s definition of discipline: ‘training that molds, corrects, or perfects moral character.’ So there we have it...it’s a journey to virtue...beginning as a training camp in learning what God’s word has to say about righteous living - then progressing to eventual moral excellence. If we follow the directions given in the scriptures, it leads us to the place of virtuous living.. ”Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”Proverbs 7:2-3 ”Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.” Proverbs 6:21-22.
In the end, wouldn’t it be great for it to be said of us, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all?” If that’s to be the case, it won’t be because we got lucky. We were intentional in getting there!! This journey is not for the faint of heart. Virtue MUST be pursued!!