Tag Archives: fruit

Don’t Give Away Your Strength and Virtue

I was reading through Proverbs 31 the other day and came across where King Lemuel’s mother says to him, ‘Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.’ It struck me that even though that is obviously meant for men, it really applies to women too, but the other way around. As women we can voluntarily give away our strength to men by what we do, say or think. The word ‘strength’ here is translated as virtue in three other places in Proverbs, and also can mean valour, substance, wealth. Obviously the strongest meaning of this, with the worst consequence, is sexual immorality. But I really think there are many more subtle ways this can happen too. Samson lost his strength when Delilah cut his hair. In Nehemiah 13v26 it says that women caused Solomon to sin.

One way I believe this can happen is in our thought life – when I was single I often caught myself thinking too much about someone who I knew I wouldn’t want to marry. The danger in that is a waste of thoughts that could be better used planning how to serve God better, meditating on scripture, praying etc. And then of course the more you think of that person, the more likely it is that you might justify to yourself why it would be OK to be with them even temporarily and end up dating and eventually marrying someone that is not good for you.

Married women can give away their strength and virtue by thinking about men other than their husband, it might not be lustful thoughts but it is still wrong. And when you have wrong thoughts and keep entertaining them, it gives the Devil a foothold. Not that the first thought that enters your head is wrong, but to keep it there is! We need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Another way is by having a close male friend that is not their husband, to quote Greg Laurie, ‘Girls, you can’t have a guy apart from your husband be your buddy’. Having lots of in depth conversations alone with another guy is asking for trouble – you may not even be attracted to him, but it takes away from the time you should be talking to your husband and can so easily lead to resentment when you find they are more sympathetic! And to quote Greg Laurie again, ‘Most adulterous relationships start with friendship, which leads to close relationship, which leads to seeking marital counsel from someone of the opposite sex – which is like putting a shotgun to your head’.

On a less sinister note I believe we can also give our strength to men when we put men before God, which results in all kinds of things that sap away our energy. One example I have seen in my own life is that we can expect our husbands to be all we need, when actually God is all we need. Then when our husbands don’t meet our expectations we are disappointed and depressed. We need to realise God can be our everything!

The Parable of the Sower explains how our fruitfulness can be choked by desires, cares and riches. We need to be careful to be chaste and pure and put God first in our thoughts and deeds, so that there is no room for our strength and virtue to be given away and for us no longer to be fruitful.

The fruit of being a stay at home mom

Often I catch myself thinking thoughts like, ‘No-one sees what I do’ and ‘Whatever I clean up just gets dirty again’. And when I was in a room of people and they went around the room and everyone had to say what they did, it seemed like the bottom of the pile in terms of what people think of someone being a stay at home mum.

But recently it struck me when someone complimented me on the children, that people may not see your job as worth much, but they do see the fruit of it. And even if it is not attributed to you, the point is that it is great fruit! If I do my job well as a mother, my children will benefit, for example the Bible says that if we train a child in the way he should go, then when he is old he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6) and if I do my job well as a wife, my husband will be so much better for it. If I look after my home and make it inviting, make meals for people etc. then so many people can be helped and encouraged from being invited there and having fellowship they would not otherwise have had. We can make such a difference by doing our job well, not only to the lives of our husbands and children, even just helping them feel contented and loved, but also to the people that they meet who are impacted by them. And then we can do even more through serving in our church and doing good to other people.

So though we should do everything we do to please God, we can also encourage ourselves in the thought that there is great fruit from working hard at what we do, as a wife, mother, and homemaker . It may not be noticed, but God knows and we know, how fruitful we can be. And of course to bear real fruit we need to stay close to God, so that should be an encouragement to┬ákeep God our top priority too! “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5