We will find God's description of the excellent wife in Proverbs 31. Ruth is a good case study to supplement reading this Proverbial passage. Prayerfully let us approach to hear what the Spirit says to the Church.
In this proverb about the most excellent wife, verses 11 and 23 tell of her husband. But this telling is encompassed in relationship to her. Keep in mind that we are learning about ourself, the collected members of the new creation Body of Christ. Our spiritual Husband can be seen in the man of this Proverb; albeit not directly.
This husband trusts in her and is known in the gates for his leadership and wisdom. His wife is very productive, and it is to his gain. Note that only by her being trustworthy and gainfully productive can the husband be all that he is in the social and religious community at the gate; she is blessed by who he is, he is blessed by who she is. They are together in this, even with separate roles.
The rest of the passage is about who she is. This is our description, together we stand in His faith as the excellent wife. Recall that in this picture, the story picks up with the husband already having provided for her needs, just as Jesus has done for us.
Let us continue to think with our renewing minds, as God allows:
-- She does him good and not evil all her life.
-- She works with her palms, with quality items.
-- She feeds the household with the best of foods, even providing for all who labor within the house.
-- She judges situations with a keen, knowing eye; and invests wisely.
-- She produces the fruit of the vine, for the whole household to have joyful and glad hearts, that is nutritious as well; she is a wise manager.
-- She strengthens herself for taxing tasks ahead.
-- She discerns the good she does, working at all hours as needful.
-- She is not above doing the most menial of tasks.
-- She tends to the poor and needy outside the household.
-- She prepares for the seasons with quality provision.
-- She allows for her husband to be honored among men.
-- She provides garments, from finery to workbelts, for inside and outside the household, and to profit.
-- She looks forward in strength, hope and dignity.
-- She speaks with wisdom and teaches gently.
-- She attends all needs for function and fulfillment in the household she was provided.
-- She is industrious and fruitful, not idle.
-- She is honored by her children and praise by her husband, who calls for reverence of her.
Perhaps you will come up with a better list than I have, all the more wonderful. In our renewing mind we know this is just not a story that the Spirit of God presents us with.
Next time I will provide a list which I believe go along with the mentioned list that I've gleaned from the text. These came from my own search of the Scriptures in prayerful study of the word.
For now, what can we say about this liberated woman? Surely she has no time or inclination for idle gossip, for such would not fit the temperment and description provided us. She has not the manner of one given to addictions or ill-behaviors of any sort.
She even, think of this, addresses the needs from linen gowns to hardy workbelts for tradesmen and other laborers and that to a profit for the house.
She cannot be a micro-manager or abusive in the house. She knows, follows and teaches the instruction of the Lord. Her proficiency allows for her husband to be at the gate. This means he sits with elders gathered to teach and to make judgments civil and religious. This is a high place of honor in the society.
She has been allowed freedom to express herself with talents, ingenuity and intellect. She takes what is given and brings a bounty to the benefit of others. She is purposeful, energetic, and not above doing any task required.
When she engages in activity, she devotes herself to excellence with a discerning eye. She is aware not only of market value, she attends to the poor and needy who are outside the marketplace.
She has a hopeful outlook and is valued by her offspring. She provides for all who are in the household, even maids and other laborers. She could not be known for being cheap or tight-fisted; a hilarious giver, she is. She is self-aware enough to evaluate who she is without comparing herself against others.
This is who the Body of Christ is to be. This is the direction we are being built up into and conformed in every way according to the Father within our arranged marriage. This is why the Spirit of God indwells us, not for amusement, entertainment and self-indulgent use of our gifts and talents.
I must ask myself, and challenge you as well, if I am self-aware enough to evaluate who I am and how I function?
Similarly, are we behaving this way while our husband is at the gate?
It is easy to be critical, even of self, so we must keep perspective. The Body of Christ is not the individual member, nor the local, regional or national realm of individuals gathered in His Name.
She (the Bride) is not limited to our current activity in the house. She came to life officially in Abraham by God's promise to his Seed - who is Christ our Lord. She is in an arranged marriage since her birth.
We in person and in the local assembly are, by the Holy Spirit, either in cooperation with the Body or we are outside God's will. Perhaps we can mentally relate another good analogy to help us continue grasping the truth presented in this vein.
Let us compare us to cells, perhaps. We are in the body where we are created; during the life of the Body in this world. Every cell is called to function as and where God designed. Some cells may be said to be in the toe-nail, hair follicles, heart, tongue, liver or hip joint.
As Christ's body, we are integrally connected to the mind of Christ. All function stems from and for the mind of Christ.
The more the hard sciences probe the wonders of the human body, the more design we discover. All of these activities are coordinated under the head to function as designed. If any part of this activity is non-functioning or malfunctions, we call these diseases or disorders.
When you and I face God in our lives we need to allow His light to penetrate the darkness about us. In our prayers, study, worship, meditation, to all our relationships even, do we stand as healthy, vibrantly living in God's provision and grace?
This is the evaluation we do to see if we remain in the faith, as Paul urges us. This is the process of coordination, from the head to us, as we respond and communicate back to the head.
May the circle be unbroken. Selah
Soli Deo Gloria