William Thoms stated, “Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read.” Most of us can recall a time when we had no relationship with the Lord and thus viewed any Christians we knew as flesh-and-blood illustrations of God’s character. Sadly, not nearly as many of us have taken this responsibility upon ourselves. The call to bear the Name of Jesus with honor has sometimes even escaped our consideration. When it comes to our crude conduct or lack of God’s love, we assert that we are only “human” and often miss the opportunity to grow. We think of many excuses as to why we cannot be a living gospel for our neighbor, at least not yet! All the while, the world is watching, and our lives are speaking one way or another. We need God to revive in us the sense that our every word and deed directly shines on His Name and reputation.
In order to become living illustrations of the gospel, we need a God-breathed picture of who we are to be. Proverbs 31 contains a beautiful portrait of a godly wife, but looking deeper, we can find a type of the Bride of Christ. She is very valuable to Him, and we read that, “the heart of her husband trusts in her” (31:11). Can the Lord trust us with that which He entrusted to us? Perhaps He gave us a family, a ministry or calling, a job, a call to prayer. We will never be faithful apart from abiding in the vine of Christ, since only God is faithful (John 15:5). So our faithfulness comes through being yielded to and filled with the Holy Spirit. He freely gives us the Spirit if we ask (Luke 11:13). Those He finds trustworthy in small things will be entrusted with more (Luke 16:10).
“She does Him good and not evil all the days of her life” (31:12). We have received the promise of eternal life, but never forget that eternal life wants to spring up in us now. Such a precious and short life on earth demands that, in light of eternity, we pour it out extravagantly for Him! We start with little things. As we cultivate faithfulness, He adds. Friend, there is a holy life to be lived for Christ on this side of eternity! We live to have this testimony: that we did Him good all our days. We compete to win the prize; we run to receive the crown. After all, we need something costly to lay at His feet when we see Him in glory! The loving Bride longs not to give Christ any cause for grief in this life.
She is diligent in earthly work as well as the Bridegroom’s business, doing both menial tasks and the most important work without grumbling. She “works with her hands in delight,” because she delights in the One for whom she expends herself (31:13). When I read the statement that, “She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household,” I think of the sincere believer seeking the Lord in prayer in the morning, calling down God’s blessing and provision and grace for those they love (31:15).
The true Bride of Christ “extends her hands to the poor” and “needy” (31:20). The greed of the world is absent. Despite genuine dangers, she is not moved by fear; rather, strength and dignity are the signature of her spirit. Knowing who her Husband is, she “smiles at the future,” no matter what may come (31:25). Wherever the true Bride finds herself, she speaks wisdom and seeks to lead others into the kind ways of Christ (31:26). Due to her prayers, example, and ministry to others, the true Bride has spiritual “children” who “rise up and bless her.” At some point, there is a testimony on someone’s lips of how they were touched by the grace and love of Jesus through that genuine Christian. Yet, ultimately, her final praise will come from the Husband himself (31:28). A church that fears the Lord will receive praise from God (31:30).
What is the end result of the Bride’s faithful devotion to Christ? She enjoys the fruit of all her labors and the works of her hands are a lasting testimony (31:31). Father, make us an excellent Bride, who honors and glorifies Your Son Jesus all the days of this earthly life!
The Rock Church