Saturday, January 22, 2011

Proverbs 31- While it is still dark

I'm going to move forward a few verses today. Yesterday was a discussion about demonstrating God's love toward husband by making sure he has things of true value. Let's look forward a bit today...

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

As I'm writing this, it is still dark outside. But I confess, I do not get up every morning before the light, so this verse is convicting to me!

A step by step look at these verses shows that the Proverbs woman is a busy girl- she's busy valuing her husband and making sure she meets his needs. She's making clothing for her household- from scratch. She's going to the grocery store- sort of. And she's making sure that her family and even the people that she works alongside have plenty to eat.

I do not think that the result of Proverbs 31 is to make us busier women. Most of us are busy enough! We juggle full time jobs and families, church and Bible study commitments. Some of us are devoted to our children's activity schedule, some of us to our own physical activities! We have to do the laundry and go to the store and make dinner and pack our children's lunchbox. We've got to balance the budget and file the taxes and make sure that the dogs get their shots. Life is busy. And this is not an appeal to add on to anyone's already busy schedule.

But I do think it's a good look at how she's doing it. She's getting up while it's still dark. But you know, it never says exactly what she's doing during that time. I like to think she's got her BSF lesson and her Bible out. Or maybe she's REAPing? Maybe she's singing songs of praise to her God, or maybe she's laying out her anxieties before Him before the sun ever rises. I'll never forget Jan Bentley saying that "prayer is more important than sleep."

I know that my problem with getting up early really lies in not believing a statement like Jan's. I think that the rest my body craves is more valuable than the time with the Lord my spirit needs. But it's really not. Whether I need rest, assurance, conviction, energy, strength, peace- He can provide that if I spend a little time with Him.

Look, I hate legalism because it steals everything good from the Lord, so please don't hear me saying "You must get up when the clock strikes 5AM and spend exactly one hour with the Lord doing the following..." You, me and the Proverbs lady have enough chores to do, time with the Lord doesn't have to become another one of them. BUT, what we can do is pray about how God would have us learn to discipline ourselves so that we can make this work in our lives. God loves to help us out with this sort of thing!

On Wednesday night, I got to pray for one of my girls in community group to be able to wake up and spend some time with God in the morning (she had asked for that) The next morning, I got a text saying that He had woken her up! God is so faithful to help us overcome our desire to roll back over and stay cozy under the covers, and I believe He blesses us throughout the day for having spent that time with Him.

I am not speaking out of mastery. But out of conviction because I want to be able to do all that this lady does- for the glory of God. And apparently it takes a little extra time. God was faithful to wake me up this morning to spend some time contemplating Him and His word.

I'll end with this- a couple weeks ago, we had a sermon on sowing and reaping. If you sow to the Spirit of God, then you will reap that Spirit's good fruit. And in case you've forgotten, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. If you think about your to-do list on a daily basis, I bet you need every single piece of fruit on that list. I know that I do! I bet Proverbs 31 woman does too. But expecting to accomplish all of the tasks described on her to-do list or your own without sowing to the Spirit is like walking out into your backyard in the middle of winter expecting to find a garden full of fresh fruits and veggies. Not gonna happen because at this time of year, you haven't even planted. So it is with these fruit. Why would I expect to be able to get through my day and all its challenges with patience and peace when all I did was get up in the morning, fold laundry, pack lunches, do some sit-ups, try to throw on make-up and get out the door. But a lot of us are living like that.

I'm not saying that life is less demanding than you think it is so you should add this thing on too. I'm saying that life is so demanding that you can't NOT make daily time with God a priority in your life. I don't want to be rigid or legalistic, so I know a lot of ladies just can't do the morning thing. I am not here to judge. But I do know that starting the day with the Lord is a constant theme throughout the Bible, and I think that it's significant here in Proverbs, as well. To begin your day with God sets the day on a fruitful course. But between you and the Lord, figure out what works for you. You've got plenty of work to do, that's for sure. God's not calling you to more work. He's calling you to rest- in Him, and He will help you tackle the rest of the demands life and family and work will put on you.

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