Proverbs 31 provides a beautiful depiction of the ideal godly wife. Although the woman in the proverb is fictional, she serves as a timeless model of a wife that pleases God. No woman is perfect, but through following the Proverbs 31 example of fearing God and allowing the Holy Spirit to work within her, all women can grow to become mature, godly women.
In order to understand what it means to be a godly wife, first we must understand what it means to be godly. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit begins working within us to transform us into the new creation God wants us to become. Galatians 5:22–23 describes the work of the Holy Spirit within us as: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ..." God created us in His image and these are all attributes of His character that He is developing within us.
Both men and women can embody the godly characteristics described in Galatians. Proverbs 31, however, demonstrates how these characteristics uniquely manifest themselves through a wife's role in marriage. The first characteristic we see of a godly woman in Proverbs 31 is that she is faithful to her husband (Proverbs 31:11–12). She is someone he can count on to support him. Next, we are told that she is hardworking (Proverbs 31:13–19, 24, 27). She looks after her family and takes responsibility instead of being lazy. In addition, she is resourceful and applies her entrepreneurial skills to start a business. She has a servant heart and cares for others (Proverbs 31:20). She is aware of her needs and takes care of herself so that she can continue to effectively care for others (Proverbs 31:22). Also, she is strong, dignified, confident, wise, and kind (Proverbs 31:25–26). These attributes gain her the respect of her husband and children. Finally, we are told she is a woman who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30).
While all of the characteristics demonstrated in Proverbs 31 are valuable, the most important is that a godly woman fears the Lord. It is important that a woman makes her husband a priority even above her own children. Yet her number one priority should always be God. Marriage is a symbol of the relationship between the Church and Christ (Ephesians 5:31–32); therefore, Paul states, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22). When wives submit to the leadership of their husbands out of respect and trust, they exemplify the posture we should have as believers before Christ. In doing so, they set an example of the faith God desires from His followers for their husbands, children, and everyone around them.
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