Proverbs 31

The Beauty of Character.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” – Proverbs 31:30 NLT

In a society obsessed with outer beauty, it pays to be reminded that God looks at the heart. He is not impressed with externals. He does not measure our value based on our good looks or how impressive we may appear. God is all about inner character. He sees what others too often fail to see and what most of us even fail to look for. In this famous Proverb, King Lemuel describes a most impressive woman. She is industrious, a successful businesswoman, a loving mother, a highly disciplined worker, a caring friend, and a dedicated wife. In fact, this woman is almost too good to be true. But I don’t think the point of this Proverb is to hold up this unnamed woman as a model for all women to follow. I think the point is to remind us that it is our character that counts. It is what’s inside that gives us our value. This woman’s industry and hard work are laudable, but they are not the point. Hard work can simply become another form of idol worship, leading to workaholism and self-sufficiency. While King Lemuel describes this woman as dressing in fine linen and purple gowns, he says, “She is clothed with dignity and strength” (Proverbs 31:25 NLT). Her inner character was outwardly visible in the manner in which she lived her life. She worked hard out of love for her family, not out of love for self. She was industrious because she cared for others more than she cared for herself. This woman feared God. She had a reverence for God that drove her actions and determined her attitude about everything. Verse 10 describes her as “virtuous.” That word really has to do with inner strength. She was trustworthy, good, hard-working, discerning, compassionate, giving, humble, wise, kind, loving, and worthy of praise from both her children and her husband. Why? Because she had inner beauty that was far more than skin deep. It was the byproduct of time spent with God. If some of us, both men and women, spent more time in the Word and less time in the gym or in front of the mirror, we would exhibit more of the character qualities this woman possessed. If we cared more about the condition of our souls than we did about our bodies, we would be far more attractive to the world around us. “Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman [or man] who lives in the Fear-of-GOD” (Proverbs 31:30 MSG).

Father, we obsess over the outside. We spend far too much time worrying about how we appear when we should be thinking about who we really are on the inside. Renew our perspective. Give us a greater desire to be transformed from the inside out. Help us to fear You more and desire what is important to You. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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