23Her husband is a well-known
and respected leader
in the city.
24She makes clothes to sell
to the shop owners.
25She is strong and graceful,
as well as cheerful
about the future.
26Her words are sensible,
and her advice
What makes a person – a woman, a man – good and noble is their character, not what car they drive or how much fame they have or where they shop. Being a person of good character doesn’t start outside; it starts inside by having faith and having God work in our lives (Acts 11:24).
Proverbs 31 is a long list of examples of fruits that a good wife bears. Just as a good and healthy peach tree bears soft, juicy peaches – good fruit – so too does a wife with good character bear many of the fruits that are described in this chapter.
A wife of good character affects those around her. For example, a wife of good character will bring respect upon her husband that others will see also (31:23). She will encourage others, and put aside her anxiety. When she speaks, others will listen because it is a voice of wisdom.
These are the kinds of fruits that a woman of good character can bear. But they are not requirements. They are possibilities, recognizing that life is not that easy.
What does a woman do who wants to be a woman of good character, but her family members are not positive influences? In the ancient world, the reputation of family members was crucial. It seems like the opposite is true today, where people hurt each other on social media.
We’ve all been there; often, there is not much we can do. While we may not be able to change others, God can transform us, if we let him. And his transformation of our hearts will begin to affect those around us.
Our character starts with Jesus. May God give us the faith to change what is inside of us to influence what is outside of us.
Father God, who gives patience and encouragement, help me to wait on you to develop in me the character of your son, Jesus Christ. Please help me to entrust every area of my heart and mind to you so I might demonstrate your perfect love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Douglas & Noël Estes
Douglas Estes is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Practical Theology and director of the DMin Program at South University—Columbia. Prior to this he was a pastor for 16 years. He has written or edited six books and contributes to a variety of publications including Bible Study Magazine and Christianity Today. His wife Noël was a Marriage and Family Therapist, before making a career of raising their four children and becoming a DMin student. Some recent publications include: Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament (Zondervan, 2017) and, as co-editor, How John Works (SBL Press, 2016). Also: "The Exoplanets Declare the Glory of God" (Christianity Today, March 2016).