Back in the day, young women went to charm school to learn all the social graces—how to sit, stand, and walk properly, how to dine in a formal setting, how to address people in every situation.
One skill that wasn’t taught was deception. Sadly, we learned how to do that all by ourselves, with a little help from the father of lies.
But our story isn’t finished. While we’re living and breathing, there’s still time for the Father of Truth to change us into His kind of honest-speaking, holy-living woman. Watch.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive,… Proverbs 31:30
Charm sounds like a good thing. The Hebrew word chanan means “favor, grace, elegance.” But when charm is used for the wrong reasons, those “pleasing ways lie” (NLV).
That old saying, “Flattery will get you everywhere”? That’s the charm we’re talking about, the kind used to “fool” (EXB) people, for our own benefit.
A telemarketer called our home, selling a long-distance service. She pressed on with a cheery, sing-song rendition of the obvious script before her, until Bill finally said, “Ma’am, I’m afraid I don’t have time for this conversation.”
Her charming tone turned to steel. “We are not having a conversation, Mr. Higgs. I am telling you about my product.”
Okay, then. Let’s not go there.
…and beauty is fleeting;… Proverbs 31:30
Faith Baldwin said, “Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.” Oh baby. We know that’s right.
Beauty as the world defines it doesn’t hang around very long. The firm muscle tone and wrinkle-free skin of youth “fades away” (CEV) with each passing year, until it finally “disappears” (GNT), despite all the age-defying (or is it age-denying?) products on the market.
In Hebrew, hebel shows us why beauty “evaporates” (GW). The word literally means “vapor, breath.” Poof. Gone. In the end, attractiveness “comes to nothing” (NLV) and will “vanish” (CJB) without a trace.
Am I saying an older woman isn’t beautiful? Absolutely not! That silvery hair, those permanent smile lines, the glow of wisdom in her eyes? All stunning.
But the media would have us believe otherwise. Their message is, “Looking good means looking young.” When an older woman is trotted out? She’s inevitably described as “youthful, for her age.” Sigh.
That’s why the Proverbs 31 woman looks in a different direction.
…but a woman who fears the Lord… Proverbs 31:30
When Dianne chose this verse as her favorite, she said, “In our society, we are always pushed to focus on our appearance. I want to be a woman who fears the Lord!”
We do too, sister. We want to be the kind of woman who lives “reverently and worshipfully” (AMP), who “honors the Lord” (CEV), and shows Him the deepest “respect” (NIRV).
Fear is the right word for it, considering His limitless power.
Fear God, and there’s no need to fear anyone or anything else.
Taricia believes, “Knowing God is a woman’s true beauty.” We’ve seen how gorgeous God’s woman can be. Her eyes shine with His love, her mouth smiles with His joy, her hands move at His bidding, her feet follow where He leads. She exudes His peace, she offers His hope, she knows His Word, she speaks His truth, she embraces His people, she glorifies His Name.
She’s the woman we all want to be when we grow up.
God alone makes that possible. It isn’t a matter of trying harder or doing more. It’s putting God at the very center of our lives and placing each minute in His more-than-able hands.
…is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Hmm. Praised by people? I wouldn’t count on it. People withhold praise for lots of reasons—jealousy and envy among them. Paul reminds us, “ If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Yet, this verse assures us a godly woman “deserves to be praised” (CEV) and, in fact, “will be greatly praised” (NLT). By whom? Maybe hubby and the kids, if she has them: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).
So, how’s this going at your house? Right. Mine too.
How about at work? Among friends? The truth is, trying to please people—even people we love—might never earn us applause. That’s okay. They are not our Audience.
Annie Chapman wisely says, “The balanced woman is not out to please some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time. Her strategy for living is to be simply, purely, passionately devoted to the Lord.”
There’s our answer: God is the One who will praise us.
The Hebrew word for praise here is halal, which means “shine.” So beautiful. God turns the warmth of His light on us, He shines His attention on us, He bathes us in the glow of His approval—not because we’re good, but because we belong to Him and He is good.
Job remembered “the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head” (Job 29:2-3). Those days returned for Job, and they can become a reality for us. Not by polishing our personalities or buffing up our appearance, but by loving, serving, honoring, and worshiping the One who is worthy of our praise.
Heavenly Father, I’ve spent too many years trying to be charming, so others would like me. Too much effort trying to be pretty, so others would look at me. Help me turn to You with holy fear and humble trust. If applause comes my way, let it be from You. If You shine Your favor on me, let it be for Your glory alone.
Now it’s your turn
- How can you live out this familiar verse, starting today?
Bless you for clicking Post a Comment below to share your heart with us.
A happy reminder: each time you post a comment now through December 31, 2014, you’ll be entered to win a fab prize that features Our #1 Favorite Proverb of the year. One comment per post, just to be fair, but feel free to comment every week.
Minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, I’ll chose 10 winners at random and give away 5 silvery necklaces and 5 colorful prints. What a fun way to ring in 2015!
Just two weeks remain in our year-long study. It’s been a blast to meet with you every Wednesday (or the occasional Monday or…uh, Friday). Wait until you see what God has in store for us next year!
Your grateful sister, Liz