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Friday, August 13, 2010

A Good Woman - Part III

She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. (Proverbs 31:20)

As we continue to explore the traits of a "good woman", we will do well to remember that the title "good woman" is not extended because of perfection, but because of heart attitude and internal motivation.  Lemuel’s mom was quick to point out the selflessness of a “good woman”.  She is quick to acknowledge the needs of those around her, but also to step in to personally meet those needs whenever possible.  

She is sensitive to those around her, opening herself and her home to help in practical, caring service.  Sensitivity is a "learned" thing - you develop it over the course of observing people, life's situations, and in listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life.  She reaches out to the poor – those who not only have material need, but those who may feel small in their own worth, inferior in their quality or value, or barren and unproductive in their daily walk. 

The Proverbs 31 Woman is moved with compassion, sensitive to the things that build up the inner man, and is quick to share of her own spiritual, emotional, and physical bounty.  Her sensitivity to the needs of others and her willingness to meet those needs opens her to new growth in her own life and keeps her fresh in her spiritual walk.

The words of her mouth are a well-spring of uplifting and encouraging comments.  They are rich with wisdom – words spoken in the right season, with the right attitude, to accomplish the right purpose.  We would all benefit to learn a lesson that someone once tried to teach me – not every word needs to be spoken.  I daresay that I have not learned this lesson well.  I still find myself speaking without thinking – engaging in conversation that is far from edifying, sometimes even more harmful than I’d have ever imagined.  

I imagine there are others in this same predicament, but there is hope!  God has given us his Holy Spirit to reside within us.  The work of the Holy Spirit is to assist us in “tempering” our speech, cultivating the “value” of the words we speak.  The work of tempering is one of assisting us to restrain our words, bringing a perfect mixture of words that are both edifying and challenging.  It is a fine balance, but one that is possible to be attained by the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

A good woman - notice that the focus is not on beauty, external adornment or a great figure.  The characteristics are internal - specifically worked into her spirit by a living and loving God.  We each have the potential for the "title" with the Holy Spirit residing within.  God wants to build within us the sensitivity of spirit that sees and reaches out toward the needs of others - not only recognizing that the needs exist, but seeking to meet them whenever practical.  As such, we become extensions of his grace to a hurting world.