The Virtuous Woman

Good morning. Our study is from Prov. 31:10-31. You will recognize this as the description of a “virtuous woman.” The literal meaning of this term in the Hebrew language is “a woman of force.” While that phrase alone is worth much contemplation, the expression combines the idea of moral goodness and bodily vigour and activity (Pulpit Commentary). There are several parts of this woman’s moral goodness that touch upon our Joshua Generation characteristic of purity. They are also character traits that men should have as well as women.

The value of this pure virtue is “far above” rubies (v. 10). The wise man also said that a “good name” is to be chosen over great riches. When you stop and think about it, people in our time who truly have a good name are not people with filthy mouths or unrestrained passions. Girls and women who dress like prostitutes or act like them may attract attention, but they do not have the reputation for purity. Men who use gutter language, jump from one bed to another, who surf the internet for pornography, or who are constantly making sexual innuendos do not gain a good reputation. The value of purity is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband trusts in her (v. 11). When we think of how much flirting takes place between men and women, we understand the value of being trusted by our mate. What a contrast this women is to the “strange woman” of Proverbs 7:19 who persuades someone to come to her bed because her husband is not at home. When people are pure minded, not devious and not wanton, they can be trusted. Men, it is important that our wives can have this same trust in us as well.

Strength and honor are her clothing (v.25). When honor is the clothing, think of the other characteristics that go with that. Certainly, purity of heart, mind and action are married to honor in character. When we have such honor, we need not be concerned with looking over our shoulder afraid that some event in our life will come back to haunt us. No revealed affair or indiscretion will bring us fear. Remember that God knows all things. There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. If we have not been honorable in the past, doesn’t it always pester our mind and concern us that it will become known. Let us be clothed with honor from now on, even if we have not to this point.

In her tongue is the law of kindness (v. 26). A pure minded, good hearted person is one whose speech is “always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). Jesus said that we speak out of the abundance of the heart.

Brothers and sisters, I have found it a struggle to be always virtuous in my life. There are things in my past I would not want you to know. Here is a good question to answer: If all people knew you as God knows you and as you know yourself, would you be considered virtuous? Let’s determine that from this time forward we shall be virtuous.

Malachi, in this metaphorical prophecy about the church, says that God will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver (Malachi 3:3). That ancient method of purifying silver and gold is a beautiful concept for our purification. Fire is applied to the precious metal for the purpose of purifying it as fire is applied to our lives to purify them (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Notice that the separation of the pure from the impure required the application of heat. In our lives, this heat comes in various forms, but all of them are used by God to make us purer if we will allow it. The heat may come in the form of peer pressure from those who love us as we are taught, corrected and even rebuked. The heat may come from the difficult circumstances of life as we are faced with natural, physical or emotional trauma in the form of disease, fire, flood or economic setbacks or even persecution. The refiner sits above the caldron and watches during the purification process as God sits and watches over us. As heat is applied, impurities separate themselves from the precious metal. As the word of God and our determination against temptation are applied, the impurities are separated from our mind and soul and carried away by the blood of Christ. The purifier does this over and over again as the metal becomes purer and purer. How often does our God skim away the impurities of sinful choices in our own lives? We are to “touch not, taste not, handle not” (Col. 2:20-21).

QUESTION?? When does the refiner know the metal is becoming as pure as it can become? When will he know his work has brought the desired results? The refiner knows the purification process is a success when he can see his own reflection in the caldron of precious metal. That is what God is looking for in us – His reflection. We are to be conformed to the image of His son (Rom. 8:29). Our life in Christ is to be so hid in God that He is the reflection that people see. My friend, I ask you. Whose reflection do people see in the mirror of your life?
Does the Heavenly Father yet see His reflection in the purifying caldron of your life?

PURITY IS AS PURITY DOES

Our final Joshua Generation characteristic for this year is PURITY. Our slogan for the month is “Purity is as purity does.” Our memory verse this first week is 1 John 3:3. For those of you that do not know, the Joshua Generation is a program that was developed for Christian and Leadership development. There are 36 Christian and leadership characteristics that make up the basis for study, activities and personal growth. One characteristic is emphasized each month in classes, worship, bulletins, family devotional and various individual and family activities. Each week has a memory verse. Each month has a slogan.

We would like to spend a little time talking about this month’s slogan, “Purity is as purity does.” One cannot be pure in heart (Mt. 5:8) and be impure in actions. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12:34). Sometimes, after a person has done or said something ungodly, they will make the point that they don’t know why they did or said it. Jesus has the answer to that. “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things” (Mt. 12:35). An impure act is first contemplated (without being banished) in the heart. This is the import of the slogan, “Purity is as purity does.” It is a hard thought, but what you and I choose to do or say shows what we really are like in our heart.

Purity is important to the Christian life. The first thing that Peter exhorts us to supply in our lives alongside of faith is virtue 2 Pet. 1:6). Thayer defines this word as (1) a virtuous course of thought feeling and action; virtue, moral goodness; (2) any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity. None of us start out our Christian life pure hearted else we would not have needed salvation. But we can and must start the Christian life with purity of intention to become and live pure hearted. To fail to build this purity in our lives, Peter says, is to be blind, unable to see into our future, and forgetful of the forgiveness we had received (2 Pet. 1:9). In short, it is to go back to wallowing in sin.
By the time most of us become Christians we are deep in sin. We have already developed habits of impure thought that may manifest itself in foul language, lustful eyes, demeaning gossip, lying, indulging our desires and a host of other sins that pour forth out of our hearts. Thank God for the cleansing blood or our Savior. Now, we must get a hold of our hearts so that our lives will manifest the purity our Lord has taught.

Some derivative of the word “pure” is translated into the English Bible over 100 times. Christ is once again set up as our example in one of the passages when John says, “Everyman that has this hope in himself purifieth himself even as he is pure” (1 Jn. 3:3). And we rejoice that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are able to purify our souls by obeying the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). But one of my favorite passages is Mal. 3:3. It is a beautiful metaphor for the work of God in our lives.

Malachi, in this metaphorical prophecy about the church, says that God will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver (Malachi 3:3). That ancient method of purifying silver and gold is a beautiful concept for our purification. Fire is applied to the precious metal for the purpose of purifying it as fire is applied to our lives to purify them (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Notice that the separation of the pure from the impure required the application of heat. In our lives, this heat comes in various forms, but all of them are used by God to make us purer if we will allow it. The heat may come in the form of peer pressure from those who love us as we are taught, corrected and even rebuked. The heat may come from the difficult circumstances of life as we are faced with natural, physical or emotional trauma in the form of disease, fire, flood or economic setbacks or even persecution. The refiner sits above the caldron and watches during the purification process as God sits and watches over us. As heat is applied, impurities separate themselves from the precious metal. As the word of God and our determination against temptation are applied, the impurities are separated from our mind and soul and carried away by the blood of Christ. The purifier does this over and over again as the metal becomes purer and purer. How often does our God skim away the impurities of sinful choices in our own lives? We are to “touch not, taste not, handle not” (Col. 2:20-21).

QUESTION?? When does the refiner know the metal is becoming as pure as it can become? When will he know his work has brought the desired results? The refiner knows the purification process is a success when he can see his own reflection in the caldron of precious metal. That is what God is looking for in us – His reflection. We are to be conformed to the image of His son (Rom. 8:29). Our life in Christ is to be so hid in God that He is the reflection that people see. My friend, I ask you. Whose reflection do people see in the mirror of your life?
Does the Heavenly Father yet see His reflection in the purifying caldron of your life?