I’ve been using the month of January to study through Proverbs, and it has rocked my world. However, there have been a few specific verses scattered throughout that although subtle, shared a common theme: that of being a wife, particularly, a good or godly one.
“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.” -Proverbs 12:4
“House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.” -Proverbs 19:14
“It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman.” -Proverbs 21:19
Obviously, this is an important theme in Proverbs, as there’s whole passage known around the world for speaking about a godly woman and how she carries out being a wife:
“An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” -Proverbs 31:1-2
At this point, you might think I’ve been jotting down notes on what being a godly wife looks like (or have already dismissed me because I don’t fit your model for feminism), but that’s absolutely not what has been going through my brain while reading these. Instead, there’s been one simple question:
How did they get there?
Clearly, being a godly wife (or husband-you guys aren’t excluded here) is important, but that doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t grow a characteristic or habit in an instant, and a wedding band being placed around your finger doesn’t actually change anything about your personality and heart.
No, the people who exemplify goodness and godliness in one phase didn’t arrive there haphazardly. Instead, they were already looking forward to the next phase of life. After all, a married woman with three children was once simply a newlywed, and before that, in a relationship, and even before that, was a single woman.
“No, the people who exemplify goodness and godliness in one phase didn’t arrive there haphazardly.”
If you live like the phase ahead of you, whatever it may be, will care for itself, you are blind to what reality is actually like. No, the ones who truly shine in whatever phase of life they are in are the ones who realize that the next phase starts NOW.
Proverbs doesn’t just talk about being a godly spouse; it has advice for all realms of life. Therefore, there is great insight in how to prepare for the next phase when you’re not quite in that season. When discussing the future, the authors of Proverbs exemplify discipline, ordering your steps, and looking forward.
This thought is even taken a step forward when the author writes, “[W]hoever shows contempt for their ways will die.” While specifically addressing sin in this small context, the larger context is expansive. Clearly, showing contempt for life and living it haphazardly is not the way to go.
How, then, do we become exemplary people in the next phase of life? By working toward it while we’re in this season.
I’m a college student, but someday, I will be employed full time, and hopefully, married. How do I become an excellent staff member, co-worker, spouse, and mom? By working to build those qualities RIGHT NOW.
I won’t be patient with my husband if I don’t learn to be patient with those around me right now. Can I expect to be a hard worker by random chance if I don’t focus on working hard at my studies and where I’m currently employed? How will I be gracious toward my future family if I’m not gracious toward my own?
The next phase will not take care of itself-you must build the life you want to live there while you’re still here. Follow after Christ, strive to order your steps according to His ways, and start creating the person you want your future self to be.