In a few short weeks, I will continue my classes in Biblical Teaching. We will be studying Genesis, and I know it’s going to be a lot of reading, so this month I’ve decided to go through Proverbs in my morning study time. I’m sure you’ve heard to read a Proverbs a day before, and it truly is a great thing to do! Proverbs is wisdom literature and as it’s genre says, it contains much wisdom. As you read through, remember these are not promises, but wise sayings. Too often we quote a verse from Proverb as a promise when it’s not.
With that being said, I was in chapter 14 this morning. Verse one is one probably every Christian woman has heard:
Many years ago as a newly wed, I was told that wives are the thermostats of the home. I remember thinking how unfair that seemed! That’s a lot of pressure and responsibility. I’ve also found, it’s true. My attitude will influence those around me- in and outside the home. If I wake up grumpy, the kids will be grumpy. If I’m frustrated with circumstances, so will my kids be.
I looked up the cross references to this verse today and this is what they say:
A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.Proverbs 11:11
First we see that we “build up” by being upright, righteous, right living. Through Christ we have been made right with God. It amazes me how even before Christ came, God had given His people the wisdom to know that He desired for them to live upright, right with Him, by keeping His commands.
However, the opposite of that is tearing down. Do you see how the wicked tear down? Their words. Ouch. As women, we speak many, many, many words a day. Don’t we?It’s rare to find a silent woman. Proverbs also tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue (18:21). We build up or encourage by living according to God’s word, in a right relationship with Him. When we are living right with God, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Proverbs 31 tells us that the wife of noble character “speaks wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.” I want that to be said of me!
By justice a king brings stability to a land, but a person who demands “contributions” demolishes it.Proverbs 29:4
Next we see stability is brought by justice. I may not be a king, but I am the queen of my home! Do you know what the biblical definition of just is? To be made right, or righteousness, right living. The book of Romans uses just and right as synonymous! A house needs a firm foundation, right? Stability. That comes through right living. I believe when we are living right we are faithful, dependable, solid, trustworthy. Think of someone you know who is an example of being made right with God- and living like it! Do you think they are shady, shifty, undependable? Hopefully not!
The opposite is demolition. This idea of ‘contributions’ is related to offerings in worship. If we demand ‘offerings’ or bribes, it would negate justice. If I bribe my kids to do what I want them to do, are they choosing right living? Or do they do it for the reward I’ve presented to them? We don’t dangle a carrot to get our children to be obedient. That may work for a little while, but soon they will become master manipulators instead of righteous. God does not bribe us to right living. Yesterday, my children helped me unload groceries from the car. Why? Because I bought milk and they wanted to make pudding. However, one of my children helped me unpack groceries, just because she knew I needed the help. I appreciated the latter child’s help more, because it was not because something was offered to her or she wanted something.
What is your sphere of influence?
Maybe you aren’t married, so you aren’t the ‘woman of the home’ per se. I believe this idea of building up and tearing down goes outside of the home. It might be the most important place we exercise this concept, but it is not limited to it. As I was reading and studying these passages this morning, I was convicted. I do not always “build up” my home. My words are not always encouraging. I can tear down just as quick as I can build up. Here’s my confession: tearing down sure is a lot easier. Isn’t it? Sometimes we have to be intentional to build up. It’s really easier to see the negative, to be critical, to see what’s going wrong. It takes much more intention to see the positive, to be uplifting, and to see what’s going right!
Every wise woman
Today, will you be a WISE woman, and be an encourager? Take time to build up those around you. Don’t cut them down through your words or by your demands. We all have been given a ‘platform’ on which to serve others. Whether it’s your home, your workplace, your school, wherever you are! Take it one day at a time. Determine that today, you will encourage and build up. Wake up tomorrow and determine the same thing. The world sure could use some encouragement these days. Let it start with us!
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