Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Single? - Part I: Giving Back to Him

The other day, I thought of something that I hope will bless some people. I believe it was Holy Spirit inspired, but to know for sure, you will have to search the Scriptures to find out, because the Spirit of God cannot contradict Himself, and the Scriptures are after all His Words.

Most of us know what Proverbs 31 is about. It's about the virtuous wife. Many of us also know some of the history behind Proverbs 31--that King Lemuel's mother, wanting to teach her son his Hebrew alphabet and the type of woman that would make a good wife for him someday, taught him an acrostic: Proverbs 31:10-31.

Often times, as Christian women, we look at Proverbs 31 and we say things like, "I'd like to be like that...when I have a family" or "...when I get married" We often forget, that if we look at the Old Testament with a New Testament perspective, many passages can take on new meaning for us. In other words, we can be Proverbs 31 women right now...

You say: how?

Well, Who is your first love? Is it not Jesus Christ? Is He not the Lover of your soul--the Husband of your youth? Are we not called to love Him no less than a wife is to love her husband? Are we not called to serve His people as our own family?

I would like to challenge you, my Christian sister. If you are single, think of yourself as single no more. All the mandates of Scripture to love your Husband apply to you as the Bride of Christ!

I'd like to begin a series, taking us through Proverbs 31 from the perspective of a "single" Christian woman, who sees herself (along with the rest of the Church of Christ) as married to Christ Himself--our heavenly Bridegroom!

This begins Part I: Giving back to Him.

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
- Proverbs 31:10-11, NKJV

Approaching the text from the perspective of a "single" Christian woman seeking to love Christ as her heavenly Bridegroom, what do we learn from this passage?

1. God's Trust - Can Christ trust you?

Before you say that God never puts trust in people, hear me out. Is there not a sense in which Christ trusts His disciples to obey Him? Is there not a sense in which He makes Himself dependent upon us to do His will? It is true that He moves in us to will and to do His good pleasure. But if no one does anything, the Kingdom of God does not advance. God has chosen for it to be that way. He has chosen to use us as His means of advancing His Kingdom. We are but earthen vessels in which is stored the treasures of Heaven--we may be nothing; the One who uses us is everything--but He uses us; He has chosen us. Can He trust you? Remember the parable of the talents--the disobedient servant who did nothing and was able to offer his Master nothing when He came to collect what was His. Can Christ trust you? He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much. Just remember that it is not in our own strength--only through Him can we do all things.

2. God's Gain - What are you giving back to Christ?

Again, it might seem strange that we can give anything to God. But this is the way God has chosen. He commands us to give our first fruits. He has ordained praise out of the mouths of babes. He accepts the crowns of the saints. He accepts our worship. He accepts our sacrifices. He accepts our lives as fragrant offerings at His throne. He accepts our service. However, our gifts must be offered in spirit and in truth. He does not accept hypocrisy. He does not accept self-righteousness. He accepts the broken and the contrite. Those who know He is their only hope and prayer. Their gifts are precious to Him. So, what are you giving to God? Remember, He knows your heart. Remember, too, that He has given you everything you have so that you can offer it back to Him in service and in praise. What are you doing with what He has given you?

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