Written by Michael Bunker at the request of one of his readers. http://michaelbunker.com/journal.html I found this to be an excellant post and wanted my readers to read it as well. Thanks Michael.
Of course, the default “blueprint” of the virtuous woman is found in Proverbs the 31st chapter. I would not doubt that this exposition of a virtuous woman would make most modern women shrink away into a closet. The 31st of Proverbs is actual “typological” and is designed to represent the Church, and not particularly any one woman, although the representation made (the type) is evidently of those graces (gifts) that would be evident in a virtuous woman at the time this was written. But it is important for ALL of us to recognize, that this listing of virtues is principally designed to define the Body of Christ, and we all ought to be diligent about applying the lessons herein to ourselves.
But today we are talking about feminine Christian graces, so it does serve our purposes to peruse this section and mine it for valuable material, since God felt it necessary to use the virtuous woman as an example to the Church.
First, let’s define Feminine Christian Graces:
Feminine: 1. Pertaining to a woman, or to women, or to females; as the female sex. 2. soft; tender; delicate. Her heavenly form angelic, but more soft and feminine. 3. Effeminate; destitute of manly qualities.
Christian: A real disciple of Christ; one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion, and studies to follow the example, and obey the precepts, of Christ; a believer in Christ who is characterized by real piety. One who is saved by Christ, born-again, and separated unto God for His purposes.
Graces: Gifts, favors, evidences of God’s work wrought in the believer, excellencies of character, tendencies and proclivities that evidence regeneration and conversion.
In short, Feminine Christian Graces are gifts of God that evidence or expose a woman as a true Christian (and not a fake or a fraud); as having been the subject of the new birth, and of having a new heart and renovation of life. Feminine Christian Graces are symbols of God’s miraculous and overwhelming work in the life of a woman.
It is often helpful to know what something ISN’T, in order to better identify what it IS
These are not Feminine Christian Graces:
Drawing attention to ones self, ones figure, or any (or all) physical attribute; nor is the false enhancement or amplification of any physical attribute.
False friendliness masking jealousy and envy.
Domination, Manipulation, or Manipulation by false or insincere submission.
Weakness, subterfuge, or trickery.
Emotion, Pride, Anger, Contrariness, Willfullness
Complaining, Whining, Griping, Nagging
I think you get the picture.
The problem is that modern society has portrayed an image of “femininity” which is not feminine at all. It is weak, tired, fake, manipulative, and whorish. Just picture in your mind the modern Charismatic woman, standing on Sunday morning in front of a mirror, plucking her eyebrows and teasing her hair, before squeezing into a tight skirt and putting on high-heels so she can go “worship Christ”; first in her singles class. She drops her children from her first marriage off and slinks into her class in the same way she used to slink into the bar or the night club. During the service she closes the eyes on her heavily made-up face (remember, “all clowns are liars”) and sways to the music… and then she’ll gush about how “the Holy Spirit really moved”, etc. Remember, she is at the night club, not the true Church of Jesus Christ. THIS is what the world sells as Christian femininity. Like I said, sometimes we can find out what something is (or get a better feel for it), by seeing what it is not. Go to just about any street-corner “church” in America today. Write down how the women look, how they act, and examine how they work. When you are done, you should have a good idea of what Feminine Christian Graces ARE NOT.
Ok, so what are the Feminine Christian Graces?
Let us take a look at Chapter 31 of Proverbs. We’ll start near the end, since in it we find a great distillation of what we should be looking for in our study: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). Isn’t that interesting? You see, what most women consider to be the most important (or one of the most important) things in life, the Bible calls “deceitful” – it evidences that the woman is not a Child of God, but is deceived about her condition. When a woman says “I want to do better, but I can’t stop wearing makeup!”, or “I just don’t think covering my head makes me more spiritual”, what she is really saying is, “You are trying to take from me the one thing I have that I value! I have no spiritual graces, so I cannot give up any physical ones!”. When a woman says, “I want to wear pants or jeans because they are more comfortable!”, she is saying, “My comfort comes before your honor, and I care not for how the Church of Jesus Christ is portrayed by me”.
Unhappily, what I say is a fact, even if the woman wants to deny it.
In verse 11 of Chapter 31 of Proverbs we find that a virtuous woman is trustworthy, but not only that. She provides for the needs of her husband:
a) because it is her duty to do so, and
b) because if she does not, her husband is likely to look elsewhere
Unhappily, according to my experiences in counciling, many women are too ignorant to figure out what this means, but I won’t spend any time explaining it. It’s pretty obvious. In short, it is a woman’s job to keep her husband home and happy. With 90%+ of the women who contact me complaining about their husbands (or their ex-husbands), I can trace their troubles to somewhere in this vicinity. To be really clear in Agrarian terms: If you do not provide feed for your cattle – do not be surprised or shocked to learn that they are in the neighbors pasture. And it IS your fault (1 Cor. 7:2-5).
Verse 12 exposes many professing “christian” women. A Godly woman’s energies and her heart are to do her husband good and not evil; to make his life easier and not more difficult; to smooth his path and not disturb it. Her time ought to be spent thinking of ways to please her husband, and to make his life better. She will do Him good and not evil, all the days of his life.
Verses 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24 and 27 all point out that a virtuous woman is industrious, creative, thrifty, hard-working, intelligent, strong (and not like these weak modern women), tough, gritty, etc. Read these over and over, because there is a reason God mentioned these qualities so many times in such a short section.
Verse 20 commends a virtuous woman for being charitable. This means that she has care and love for others in her community, and that (rather than exhibiting vanity, vapidity, jealousy, and competition) she extends her heart and care towards those who have a need.
Verses 22 and 23 show that she is concerned for the reputation of her family, and for her husband. Hers is not a life of decorating just because she is vain and stupid. Hers is a life of outward work. She considers how her home looks, not because she is in love with spending her family’s money on quilts, doilies, and aprons, but because she desires for her family to be considered clean and orderly. She dresses her family properly, not because she is in a competition with the neighbors, or because she can’t stay out of the shops, but because the reputation of her husband is her care.
In Verse 23 we see that the woman works diligently in the home and on the farm so that her husband can serve others. When he is “at the gates”, he is serving as an Elder or a counselor. She works doubly hard inside to give him the ability to work outward evangelically. Every minute that her husband is spared for this valuable duty, is a credit to his wife.
Verse 25 – She is strong, and not just outwardly. She is strong in mind and faith. She stengthens herself in the inner man so that she is automatically rewarded for her endeavors by a knowledge that she is glorifying Christ. She knows she serves Christ, and does not doubt it one bit. If doubt creeps in, then she will seek herself, her comfort, her vanity, her silly pride – so she guards against that by reminding herself that she seeks to serve Christ and His Kingdom. She is honorable because she is the “type” that God has used to represent His Bride, and she knows that the picture the world gains of the true Church is directly related to the picture she portrays of a Godly woman. In short, if the woman is dressed like a whore, uncovered, vain, fatuous, competitive, and manipulative – then it is no wonder that the Church is seen in the same light.
In Verse 26 we see that the mouth and the tongue of the virtuous woman are guarded by wisdom and prudence. When she opens her mouth, it is in wisdom, not because there are vanities and vacuous thoughts that need to spill out of a diseased mind. Her tongue is used for kindness, not vitriol, and not manipulation. She is not fake or false. If she says it, she means it.
These understandings paint a picture of a virtuous and beautiful Christian woman. While the carnal person might say, “These are all works!”, it is not true at all, and that thought exposes the wicked heart that cares not for Christ’s glory. These are works, sure, but they are the RESULT of a spiritual work being done in the heart of the elect of God. They are works of God on a vessel of honor. The scary thing is this…
They are almost always (I’ll leave a little room for some extenuating circumstances) INEVITABLE results of a woman being born again.
I would like to emphasize a point before I finish. Some people might think that what I have said applies only to married women. That is not true. Every woman is, and ought to be, under some masculine authority. If she is not, then I shudder for her future, both here and at the judgment seat of Christ. And since every woman is to be under authority, then these attitudes (because that is what they really are) are to be demonstrated to any and all spiritual authority.
Women, I want you to do a little “Twilight Zone” imagining with me. Imagine, if you will, that you are busy doing whatever it is you do during the day. Close your eyes and picture yourself doing some daily task. As you are working, a messenger directly from the throne of God shows up to speak to you. It is absolutely clear to you in your mind and in your spirit, that a prophet of God has come to you to speak to you directly on behalf of the One who made everything that exists; the One who holds all of creation together with His Word. This prophet enters the room… How do you respond? Is your heart in your chest… pounding? Do you have awe and reverence? Now… Did you know that the God of Creation considers your husband (or any spiritual authority God has placed over you) to be His prophet sent to you? Did you know that God has promised to judge individuals and the world based on how they have reverenced His prophets? The way that a woman refers to, defers to, and honors her spiritual authority is a Feminine Christian Grace.
What if God sent a special servant to intervene with Him on your behalf? In the old days we called these guys “priests”, but, unhappily, false religion has destroyed the impact of the term. But what if God sent a special person, an intermediary, to intervene for you before Him? Sure, you are free to pray for yourself, and to go to God directly – this we do not deny; but it wouldn’t it be a special sign of love if God also sent a special priest just for you? How would you treat that special messenger? Well, the Bible says that your husband or your spiritual authority is the Priest of your family. He is sent to stand for you before God, and to intervene for your soul and your eternal safety.
I could go on, because God also sent your husband or authority to serve as King to you. But if someone will not honor her husband as “husband”, how can she undestand what it is to serve and honor a King? Our society has overthrown the King, so it may be too difficult for me to relay to you what deference a King deserves.
In short, Feminine Christian Graces are those excellencies of character and of spirit that are evidence of God’s power overwhelming a woman in a loving way. She is baptised in faith, so that she sees God and has the ability to know what His desire is for her. She looks on her family as a special care, delivered to her by God – and knows intimately that she will give an account for what she has done with what she has received. Feminine Christian Graces are representations (types) of the true Church. If you were to write down all of the excellent characteristics of the true Church throughout time, these characteristics are plain and evident in a truly Christian woman. If the Church was patient in tribulation, then so is a Godly woman. If the Church was beautiful and strong in persecution, then so is a Godly woman. If the Church was humble and meek under the rod of correction, or the scourge of chastisement, then so is a Godly woman. If the Church ever showed love and care and self-abandonment for others, then so does a Godly woman. If the Church ever exhibited charity and goodness, then so does a Godly woman. If the Church ever prostrated herself in honor and reverence before her Husband, then so does a Godly woman.
I hope I have been clear. Now, let us open our eyes and look at the state of the so-called “church” today. She is slutty and stiff-necked, manipulative and self-centered, vain and weak. She is in Proverbs, but not in chapter 31. She is found in chapter 7. If this is true of the mainsteam “church”, then it is true of most women who call themselves “Christian”. I know these things, because God has given me a vision of the true Church. Pray that He will do so for you.
After all, most of you won’t even call your husband “sir”.
I am your servant in Christ Jesus,