Most of us as women and believers in Christ have heard and possibly even memorized Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
The word “praised” here is hālal, and it means hers is a life that shines, a life that others can look at and boast about, a life worth celebrating.
But have you ever stopped and really considered why? WHY is a woman who fears the Lord someone to be praised? What would it even look like to be a woman who fears the Lord? How and why would she be different?
Understanding this matters. Because this verse isn’t simply a free pass from having to meet the world’s beauty standards. It’s an invitation to a truly beautiful life lived out of God’s ways and standards.
I love how the Amplified version helps us get a better grasp on what it even means to fear the Lord:
“Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Here is how I sat down and broke it down:
A woman who fears the Lord has a HEART OF WORSHIP. Hers is a heart filled with gratitude and praise. She looks for and recognizes God’s goodness in her life and declares, “My God is good. My God provides. My God has been, is, and will forever be faithful. What have I to fear?” When she struggles to praise Him for her circumstances, she knows she can worship Him simply for who He is. And the joy, the peace, and the hope this brings her? It overflows into her words and her countenance, her attitude and her actions.
A woman who fears the Lord LIVES A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE – doing things God’s way instead of being wise in her own eyes. Living by His Word. Listening to the Holy Spirit. Walking in humility and trust. Positioning herself to receive His blessings (Psalm 128:1), surrendered in such a way that she can be a blessing, and avoiding so many messes of her own making.
A woman who fears the Lord SERVES THE LORD. She knows she has been graciously and mercifully bought with a price. Jesus paid with His own blood for her salvation. Her life is not her own. And so she serves Him with gladness. All that she does is out of an overflow of love for Him and gratitude for all that He has done for her. No striving or performing. She isn’t seeking the approval of others or trying to be someone she isn’t. She isn’t spread too thin or completely shut down by the fear of man. All that she does is as unto the Lord.
A woman who fears the Lord TRUSTS IN HIM. She isn’t frantic. She isn’t fearful. She isn’t controlling or manipulative. And she isn’t trying to be the Savior of the world or anyone else around her. She TRUSTS God. She trusts He sees her. She trusts He hears her. She trusts He loves her. She trusts His Word. She trusts His wisdom. She trusts His ways and His plans. She trusts His faithfulness. What a calming and peaceful presence she would be! What hope would radiate off of her!
And a woman who fears the Lord has a HEART OF REVERENCE AND AWE toward God. She knows who is God (Him) and who is not (her). She does not assume she knows better than Him. Her heart is one of deep respect. She takes time to ponder His majesty, His might, His goodness, all that He is, all that He has created… and she lets those thoughts humble her and fill her with wonder. She approaches Him with the freedom of a dearly loved daughter, but also with the honor due to her King.
This woman? She is settled. Secure. Sure of the hope she has in Jesus. Steady and not easily shaken by the things of this world. She certainly isn’t perfect, but she is surrendered and growing.
She is the kind of woman I want to be! Perhaps she is the kind of woman you want to be, as well. But it starts with a heart that “fears” the Lord. This isn’t about fixing ourselves. Notice how each area is focused on HIM. Becoming a more peaceful, joy-filled, hopeful, and Christ-like woman – a woman worthy of praise – is the natural overflow out of fixing our eyes, fixing our praise, fixing our hearts, fixing our hope, fixing our trust, fixing our worship, fixing our affection on the Lord.
I know this is a longer post, but I pray you will take something with you and ponder it this week. Are you a woman who fears the Lord? Do you get hung up on that word “fear”? How does the Amplified version help you better understand it, and what area of “fearing” Him do you struggle with the most? Are you trying to “fix” yourself or are you fixing your eyes, your hope, your trust, your worship on and in Him?
May we be women who reverently worship, obey, serve, and trust God with awe-filled respect. Because this is what will lead to us being true blessings in this world. This is how we live lives worth celebrating. This is how we become the Jesus-radiating women God has called us to be.
Forever thankful for His love and grace in this process,