September 21, 2004
Encouragement for Today
By Rachel Olsen, ETC Editor, Speaker Team Member
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)
Ever stare into your closet wondering what to wear? When Rick and I met, I had a very limited sense of fashion. Matching colors, I could do, but I didn't know how to coordinate different colors and patterns. Fortunately, my husband is a master at this and patiently went shopping with me. It's humbling when your husband knows more about fashion than you do! Mine has a smaller waist too, but I won't go there.
A few weeks before one of my first speaking engagements, my friends asked what I planned to wear to the event. "I don't know, but I'll come up with something." Days later, they inquired again. "I don't know, I guess I need to go shopping." A few days later one of them showed up at my door with a brand new pair of elegant heels in my size. "These are for you," she said, "to wear when you speak." The next day another friend picked me up and took me shopping at the mall for the just-right outfit. Another friend met us at the store. I tried on nine different outfits, collecting votes on which ones looked the best. I also asked why certain things scored well for me and others did not. Next, I completed my chosen ensembles with jewelry and shoes before leaving the store. I learned a lot that day about what looks good on me and how to accessorize. As my dear friend Connie says, "Good friends are the best accessory!"
The most valuable fashion advice I ever received, however, did not come from my husband or my friends. It came from the Bible. Proverbs 31: 25 reads, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future" (NLT). God's beautiful woman clothed herself with strength, dignity and joy and we can emulate her stunning wardrobe.
God's well-dressed woman clothes herself with strength by taking care of her mind and body. She girds her mental wellness with regular bible study, worship and prayer. She knows to "seek the Lord and his strength" by seeking his presence continually (1 Chronicles 16:11 RSV). Her mind is fixed on the Lord, and she looks expectantly for his provision.
This well-dressed woman also girds her physical well being by eating well and resting regularly. Proverbs 31:27 says, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness" (NLT). Even a casual perusal of the 31st chapter of Proverbs lets us know God's woman is not lazy! However, neither does she allow busyness to drain her. Exhaustion causes poor spiritual reflexes, and priorities to slide.
She is not only a woman of action, but also a woman of character. God's well-dressed woman clothes herself with dignity. She is poised, confident in her Lord, and gracious. She knows her worth because she knows how much God was willing to pay to spend eternity with her. Her head is held high because she has been chosen. She takes time to learn God's ways so she can make right choices that honor him. She is trustworthy, honest and wise. She knows that wisdom will "set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor" (Proverbs 4:9 NIV). She speaks with wisdom and her conduct becomes her.
I love that the Proverbs 31 woman is able to face the future without fear. She is not just devoid of fear, but filled with joy to the point of laughter! She has tranquility of mind because she trusts in her Lord. She has peace despite frightening circumstances because she prays. She has joy despite the sorrows of life because she loves. Now that is a woman who can turn heads!
Do you stare into your closet each day wondering what to wear? Every woman's wardrobe needs God-based confidence, strength under pressure, and loving kindness. Is your jewelry box filled with charm bracelets and mood rings? Invest instead in pearls of wisdom and a beautiful cross. Are you afraid to wear sandals until you've had a pedicure? Remember that beautiful are the feet of those who bring the gospel (Romans 10:15). Ladies, the wardrobe of strength, dignity and joy will never shrink, never fade and never go out of style. It sure looks good on you!
My prayer for today:
Lord God, I know that mankind looks at my outward appearance but you look at my heart. Create in me a clean heart, a soft heart. Clothe me in your strength, help me to make right choices, and grace me with an ever-present joy. Allow my appearance to turn heads towards you. In Jesus' name, I pray.
Spend a little time in your closet today. Are there clothes that are too large, too small, or outdated? If so, pull them out to discard, sell or give away. Organize what is left. It will make your daily choice of what to wear less stressful.
Do you manifest God's strength in times of struggle?
Are your speech and actions dignified?
Do you have deep, abiding joy?
Are there issues in your heart that need to be pulled and discarded in order to clothe yourself as God's beautiful woman? Spend a little time in your prayer closet today asking God to show you any unbecoming ways in your heart.
Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! And don't worry about food - what to eat and drink. Don't worry whether God will provide it for you. These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. Luke 12:27-31 (NLT)
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV)
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11 (NAS)
She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)
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