“Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she laughs at the time to come.”
There are many different kinds of women with many different kinds of ideas on what an ideal woman would look like. Some women think the ideal woman is one with the nicest figure, expensive clothes, and nicely manicured nails. This woman’s priority is her outward appearance. Others, according to Cindi Lauper, “just wanna have fun.” Still others are hardworking and want to be able to compete in a man’s world putting in 60 hours each week so they can climb the corporate ladder. Others want to climb the social ladder and will do what it takes to accomplish this. Still others are stay-at-home moms. I believe each of these woman would say they have one common trait, strength. Their definition of strength may be different, but in their sphere of influence they desire strength.
Strength in the original Hebrew can be defined as boldness, might, or power. Figuratively, the virtuous woman wears her strength. It does not say here that she puts it on, or she struggles with acquiring strength. Strength is integral to her character. She cannot be separated from her strength. It is who she is. This strength is not just physical strength which she certainly possesses, “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.” (v. 17). This strength is an internal power that comes through living and learning and leaning on God when difficult situations arise. She does not run and hide when life gets difficult. With God at her side she faces challenges head on and then uses these situations as stepping stones in the character of her life. She does not view these difficult situations as God and the world being against her. She takes them in stride knowing they will strengthen her character.
Dignity and honor also characterize the virtuous woman. As women, one of the major struggles we deal with is verbalizing thoughts that should have never even come into our heads. Proverbs 15:2 says “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.” Or Proverbs 20:15 b says “The lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.” Many times my prayer to the Lord is Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Our dignity can quickly be squashed with inappropriate words that show the true quality of our heart. The virtuous woman does not get up each day and put dignity and honor on like a dress. She is known by it at all times in her life.
This strength, honor, and dignity that characterize the virtuous woman provide a solid foundation in her life that will not cause her to hide from her lifestyle or choices she has made in the past. “She laughs at the time to come.” In other words, she is not worried about the future because she consistently makes wise decisions that cause her no regrets. As ladies, we must strive to be diligent, say kind words, be encouraging, be pure in our relationships with both men and women, look for ways to be gracious to all, and give to those in need. No one ever regretted a good deed, but many have regretted an ill-spoken word or a hurtful or disgraceful action. Each day we should focus on living life with no regrets so we can laugh at the time to come.
- What type of strength do you have? Mental strength? Physical strength? Spiritual strength? How did you obtain your particular strength?
- As you evaluate the last question, you must realize that any strength we have comes through challenges. We become mentally stronger through learning. Physical strength comes through physical exercise or physical labor. Spiritual strength comes through the discipline needed to walk with God every day no matter the hardships of life. When any of these challenges meets you what do you do? Run or meet it head on?
- Is your tongue a major test of your strength? Do you struggle with letting your words be pleasing in God’s sight?
- Read Mark 12:34 and Luke 6:45. Where do the kind words or the caustic words come from?
- How do we either change or maintain our words to be pleasing to those who hear and to God who judges? Let’s look at it in steps or stages. Record what each verse says or how it applies to our initial question:
- Romans 10:9
- Proverbs 4:23-27
- Philippians 4:8, 9
- Luke 6:45
- As you can see, what we need is a pure heart. The springs of life flow from our hearts. In order to laugh at the days to come we must be connected consistently to the well-spring of life – Jesus. We must seek Him with all our strength and love Him with our whole being. In doing this, we will gush forth with strength. Seek God with your whole heart and let Him melt away the pain or bitterness you hold onto. In doing this your strength will be renewed, and your words will be a flood of refreshing spring water. (Isaiah 40:31).