January 17, 2007

 

Character Worth Praising

by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Proverbs 31:30-31, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

In today’s high stress, performance driven society, I think a lot of moms are struggling to keep up. We constantly throw down a measuring stick of sorts to see if we are successful moms and if our kids are excelling as much or more than everyone else. I don’t want to get caught in the comparison trap. I want to point my kids to Jesus, tell them that He has a great plan for each of their lives, and instill in them the character to match their calling.

 

Of course, I do constantly wonder if I’m doing the best I can to teach them how to make the right choices in life. They will take with them the lessons I’m teaching them, so I have to wonder if I’ve prepared them to make the right choices when I’m no longer there to help them through the consequences. The choices and consequences are small now, but when my children get older, their choices could be life changing. 

 

I love the chapter of Proverbs 31 for many reasons, but perhaps my favorite verse lies at the very end:  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” This chapter, written to reflect the words of wisdom spoken by the mother of King Lemuel, gives us a wonderful blueprint for living a productive life as a busy woman in today’s world. But more than anything, I believe King Lemuel’s mother spoke this particular verse because she wanted him to recognize the value of character in the woman he should someday choose for a wife – a woman who fears the Lord.

 

The Proverbs 31 woman accomplished many things in her life, but she also made choices that portrayed a character shaped by having a relationship with God. We as mothers are given the same task – to instruct our children on not only how to be productive individuals, but to point them to Jesus so He can shape their character to model His own heart. God also promises that the one who does this receives a reward. We don’t know what that reward is, specifically, but we know there is one and that praise is a part of it.

 

A friend of mine, Michelle, was dealing with many of the questions I had been dealing with regarding my children. So, she created a wonderful way to help her family learn about choices and the many consequences of them. What I love about Michelle’s approach is that she’s determined to not only celebrate her kid’s achievements, but to celebrate their good character. When her children make positive choices, she recognizes them. Knowing that character and values are the root of how we make decisions, she began focusing on the character traits that lead to them.

 

For example, when her 4 year-old daughter, Emily, learned to ride her bike, her dinner was presented to her that evening on the Family Honor Plate; a plate that only those who have shown good character and values receive the honor of dining on. When presented, her daughter knew why she was getting it and was very proud. She exclaimed that she was getting the honor plate because she learned to ride her bike today. She was kindly told, “No.” What? Yes, it was exciting that she learned to ride her bike, but what filled mommy and daddy up with so much pride was her amazing attitude and the way she never gave up. She had the spotlight at dinner and was motivated to make the same choice in behavior when the opportunity presented itself again. 

 

Like King Lemuel’s mother, remind your children that good works are great, but what is most important is a character that reflects the spirit of Christ. Then, praise their good works and give them the reward they have earned when they model it. 

 

Dear Lord, help me to be a mother who teaches her child how to model Your heart. Work in them in the areas of character and attitude so their choices will reflect Your presence in their lives. Enlighten me with creative ways to reward them for their noble efforts and right choices. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

 

The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Family Enrichment Toolkit created by Michelle Tucker

 

Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Character Chart and CD by Renee Swope

 

Application Steps:

Visit Michelle’s website at www.familyenrichmenttoolkit.com for more information about the Honor Plate as well as other simple, but powerful activities that will empower you as a mother and strengthen your family and to re-enforce good character in the lives of your children.

 

Reflections:

Read Psalm 33:12-15.

 

Just as we must make choices each day, so God has made a choice—the choice to welcome us into His kingdom if we will only accept Him. This passage shows us that God watches over us. He formed our hearts and knows us intimately. He knows the dark places, the secrets and the things we don’t tell anyone else – and He chose us anyway. What an awesome revelation!

 

Power Verses:

Proverbs 16:2, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” (NIV)

 

2 Timothy 3:14-15, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from who m you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

 

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Rd.

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org