The New Year and the Proverbs 31 Woman

The voices speaking to women today are endless. This is the time of year when many of these voices “come calling”, and their demands transmogrify within us into new New Year’s habits and goals (we no longer call them “resolutions”, but the behavior is there all the same). The Christian form of this is to look at the Proverbs 31 woman, and be found wanting. Who can keep up with her? I guess I better at least try. What’s the proper form for crunches? And how do I download that house organization app? Sleep is overrated . . . 

To be clear: physical fitness and planning well can be useful and important for loving God and neighbor. But I fear that much of the desire to keep up with the Proverbs 31 woman is evidence of a fundamental misunderstanding of what she pictures for us, in the overall scope of Scripture. We need to ask how we should look at Prov. 31 in light of the cross. To use a musical term: are there "keys" here that God “transposes”, with the empty tomb, and Pentecost?

The major key transposition is from the people of God “enlarging” by bearing children - by the will and power of man, if you will - to it growing by means of one Man, and His Spirit - by having spiritual offspring (see this change in Isaiah 54-56 and Mark 3:31-35). This transposition happens because all that God was previously accomplishing through the humans called Israel, He now does through one Israel - Christ. He has accomplished all for all who are in him. 

This means that all the aspirations of the Proverbs 31 woman herself have been accomplished before God by Christ alone. She is justified not by her own works but by faith in God. The same for you, dear sister. In Christ, you are already viewed as being just as accomplished as the Proverbs 31 woman in the eyes of God. It is possible that many of the things we feel we “need” to do are not actually needs but are what we feel at the intersection of the right desire to live a life worthy of honor and praise, and the wrong desire to do it ourselves. That life worthy of honor and praise was lived for us, by Christ. 

Dear sister: in Christ, by virtue of being a member of His Bride, this very moment you have a Husband Who says this over you: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Prov. 31:29)