Last time, I shared a post regarding a new way to look at Proverbs 31:10-31.  I suggested you look at it sideways.  These verses are awesome any way you choose to study them.  I did not say it last time, but I just have to say, if you really want to get in snuggly with God the Father, you need to reread, study, and pray over His Word.  Why?  A single read through of a verse will not cut it.  The Bible is not a novel that you devour in one sitting and toss in the donate pile for a tax write-off.  It is made with thin paper for a reason:  there is a lot to it!  The Bible needs to be tasted and savored.

 

 If you only read your Bible like many Americans eat breakfast (over a steering wheel at 70 mph) you are going to miss something important.  Snuggle in with Jesus and savor His Word. 

                                                                                                                                           

cashbox-1642989_640Hopefully, you have had a chance to reread these verses since our last conversation.  I hope you mulled over the idea that God mentions four types of health in this passage: spiritual, physical, mental/emotional, and financial.  I discussed the spiritual and physical health in the last post.  Today let’s reread the verses except this time focus on mental/emotional health and financial health.

 

 

Proverbs 31:10-31 AMP

10 [a]An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her?
Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.

 

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her [with secure confidence],
And he will have no lack of gain.

 

12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil
All the days of her life.

 

13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with willing hands in delight.

 

14 She is like the merchant ships [abounding with treasure];
She brings her [household’s] food from far away.

 

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And assigns tasks to her maids.

 

16 She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently];
With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

Financial health (She is self-employed.  She does not make rash, impulse decisions.  She is a stay at home mom who works with available resources.)

 

17 She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task]
And makes her arms strong.

 

18 She sees that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead].

 

19 She stretches out her hands to the [b]distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing].

Financial health (She is never idle.  She works with her little bits and turns them into something useful for her family and possibly a profit.)

20 She opens and extends her hand to the poor,
And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.
 

 

21 She does not fear the snow for her household,
For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool].

Emotional health AND physical health (She has no fear because she has planned ahead to meet the needs of her family. Noticed her family is covered in scarlet: the color used to describe blood.  This may be a reminder that we need to be covered in the blood of Christ.)

 

22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry.
Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool].

Financial health (She makes for herself household items—not store bought.  She repurposes threads and rags into useable items.  She makes multiple ones. Notice the linen: linen was used to wrap Jesus’s body.  Notice the color: purple for rich and royal.)

23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

 

24 She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them;
And supplies sashes to the merchants.

 

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure;
And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].

 

26 She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].

Spiritual health (in tune with God; disciples others)

27 She looks well to how things go in her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Emotional/Mental health (manages her home and thoughts)

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired);
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying,

 

29 “Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness],
[c]But you excel them all.”

 

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.

 

 

31 Give her of the product of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].

 

 

 

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Mental/emotional health is a touchy subject.  When I was a child, I heard whispered snippets of conversation which made it clear that people did not trust doctors who “messed with the mind.”  Other short sighted folks gave the impression that Christians should not be depressed and must have something wrong with them if they did not snap out it.  If you have Christ, you should be happy.  Poppycock.  Your or your loved one is not a “bad” Christian because they have emotional problems or live with mental illness.  It is their burden.  Not yours.  Christians who live 1 Corinthians 13 should be reminded that “love is patient, love is kind.” Therefore, we need to be patient and kind with those living with emotional issues and mental challenges.  However, it is also the responsibility of the person who is living with these issues to seek God first and also seek help—hello! Luke was a physician.  Jesus wants you close to Him and He wants you mentally and emotionally healthy. 

 

The health issue in these verses focus on emotions.  She planned ahead to meet their needs.  As a result, she did not fear the weather, circumstances, or future.  Most women spend quite a bit of time making sure that the family members’ needs are met.  You get quite a sense of satisfaction when you know that you have your family clothed and fed.  Being free of fear is powerful.  In contrast, being under the spell of fear is also powerful.  I think that is why God confronts fear so often in the Bible.  Of the Bible translations I use, fear is mentioned over 330 times in several translations and in ESV it is mentioned 437 times.  Most of these verses are encouragement or commands from God to not fear. Check it out for yourself!                                      

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In dealing with fear, I encourage you to face it.  Sometimes, a problem looms so large it seems to take over the situation.  It appears to be easier to ignore it.  You rationalize that the problem will work itself out.  ‘Give it time’ is another favorite saying.  Maybe you find it so scary that if your mind even wanders close to the idea, you sharply swerve away.  It is painful to even think about the thing you fear.  This fear is not from God.  God does not do things like this.  Yes, he punishes sin but he does not go out of his way to terrorize you with fear.  Maybe your fear is facing up to sin.  You may feel like ditching everything to avoid the mental pain of facing the sin and your Savior.  Maybe your fear is something unknown.  Ask God to face the fear with you.  Let Him do the fighting.  He calls us to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13).

 

This woman has worked and planned ahead to meet needs.  She worked hard in the past so that she does not need to worry today or tomorrow.  She reduced fear by addressing financial health needs so that she could meet physical needs (see how life is interconnected?).   

 

The financial health in these verses is surprising.  Who would have thought to include anything about finances in the verses regarding a woman being more valuable than rubies?  God. Why would God consider financial health so important that he included it in his ideal woman?  He included it because He knows women.  He knows how everything we think or do is connected to something else.  Financial health is woven into the fabric of our lives.  It touches every corner of what we do.  If we are financially sick, we are too weak and limited to meet our needs or our families’ needs.  If we are financially healthy, we have options.  Options are powerful.     

 

craftsman-1839920_640How do we take advantage of the resources God gives us to build our options?  Good question.  In these verses, it is obvious this woman is thrifty.  She makes her own household items and uses every scrap—rugs and tapestries are made from scraps and strings.  She works diligently and is not idle.  You would not find her sitting still watching television or movies.  You would not find her surfing the internet.  If it did not benefit her family, she did not do it.  She is a stay at home mom who cares for her family and squeezes in a little extra time and energy to do something with her resources. 

 

It does not say where she gets the money to buy the field, but she buys a field to expand her home-based business and start a vineyard.  Once again, her work benefits her family.  It will mean extra food for her family and the excess can be sold for a profit.  I have often pondered if she got the money from selling rugs.  It says in the Bible verse that she made multiple rugs.  How many rugs does one family need?  Those extra scraps could be turned into profit.

 

Notice this was not overnight money.  She invests in her family for the long haul. She works at night after a long day.  She takes little bits of wool and makes her own thread.  She takes the thread and turns it into cloth, rugs, or tapestries.  This takes months or years.  She makes a plan and works her plan.  Bit by bit she scrapes forward.  She eventually gets to have purple cloth which was the most expensive dye of her time.  She made it!

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So, my challenge for us is the same: what do we have that we can use to benefit our family?  What folly are we willing to sacrifice for our family?  Is there a 30-minute time slot we could repurpose to work on a long-range financial goal?  Is there some waste in our weekly budget that we can capture so we have a little money to invest in a financial goal (junk food, impulse buys in the store, trendy coffee at the coffee shop, etc.)?  What skills and resources has God given me that I could repurpose to help my financial health? 

 

Look around your life.  Most people only focus on what they do not have rather that what they do have.  You have options.  Dave Ramsey says in his Financial Freedom course that we can all clear out our houses and sell $1000 worth of stuff.  Use that money to give your family an emergency cushion.  Then, clear out more stuff you don’t need and use that money to invest in your home-based business no matter how small.  Hey, this woman started with threads and rags.  Where can you start to help your family have better health?

 

 

I have a few challenges and questions for you after this 2-part series on the four types of health. 

1.  Where are you with your health in all four areas?

2.  Where is God leading you to focus time and energy first?  Spiritual health? Physical health? Mental/emotional health? Financial health?

3.  What time, money, energy, knowledge, and skills do you need to redirect to reach the level of health God wants you to be?

 

I look forward sharing life experiences in this area.  Hey, we could use this as a place of encouragement for both of us!  What do you say?

 

Check out my Resources for worksheets and suggested books and other materials to help you along the way.  Some of them are free!