Monday, January 7, 2013

"On Fire": Are You a Woman of STRENGTH?

Strength and beauty must go together.

If you wanted to have a conversation with me about new programs on television, I would probably look at you with a blank face simply because I don't really watch many. Yes, yes, I am getting to that blessed age where I'm hearing my mother come out of my mouth far more than I was prepared for and so I find myself saying things like, "Television is nothing like it used to be."

There are some shows that are in "rerun syndication" that I enjoy, though. One of them is 30 Rock. A few days ago, while taking a writing break, I checked out an episode. I was moving about in my house and so I can't even tell you who said it, but this right here will preach:

"There are two kinds of women in this world: the ones who give you strength and the ones who take it."

Here's the tripped out part about that resolve. Look at what Proverbs 31:3(NKJV) says, "Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings." Now that's really interesting considering the fact that when Abraham penned Sarah's eulogy in the form of Proverbs 31 has other references of strength:

"She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms."---Proverbs 31:17(NKJV)

"Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come."---Proverbs 31:25(NKJV)

Interesting, is it not, that in the beginning part of Proverbs 31, a man would be warned by his mother to not give his strength to women (to not sleep with women-Jeremiah 2:21) and yet in that same chapter, a man is praising a woman for the kind of strength that she has? What gives? Because if Abraham and Sarah were in a healthy marriage then we know that sex was taking place (Hebrews 13:4); that he indeed was "sharing his strength" with her:

Strength: the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor; mental power, force, or vigor; moral power, firmness, or courage

As most of us know, sperm is a seed. As I was pondering (Proverbs 4:26) all of this, I thought about it from the perspective of Matthew 13. In that chapter of the Bible, it speaks to how seed can end up. Seed can fall on stony places. Seed can fall on thorns and get choked out. Seed can fall on good ground then yield a crop. When it comes to sex, only in marriage can the "sperm seed" fall into good ground because when God joins two people together (Matthew 19:6) for the purpose of becoming one (Genesis 2:23-25) that is when a man's strength can multiply thanks to the "soil" (LOL) of a woman. Marriage is the spiritual science of good seed going into good ground and beautiful harvests coming from it.

Yet let's go just a bit deeper.

On one hand, a man is to save his strength for his wife. On the other, when a man is united with the one who God deems is suitable for him (Genesis 2:18-AMP), she is to be a "double portion" of strength for him. She is to be a woman of power, a woman of vigor (physically healthy and energetic), a woman of *moral (ethical) power* and a woman of firmness and/or courage. For Abraham, he was so impressed with Sarah's strength throughout their union that one line about it in his "love poem" was simply not enough. She was so strong that he had to praise her...twice.

And that's kind of where I'm going with this. Just like "God" or "love", I am learning that some words need to be more thoroughly investigated (2 Timothy 2:15-AMP) including words like "wife" and "husband". To simply say "I want to be married" without really taking into account all of the qualities that are required (and desired) to do the "job" thoroughly well, that is a surefire way to be ill-prepared. Proverbs 12:4(NKJV) says, "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones." According to Abraham (and obviously the Lord since he allowed Proverbs 31 to be in the Bible in the first place-2 Timothy 3:16-17), a part of what makes a woman excellent as a wife is if she is a woman of strength. She's got to be powerful. She's got to be physically healthy and energetic. She's got to be moral (meaning, she is not going to take a man's strength who isn't her husband; in marriage strength "recycles") and she's got to be firm in her resolves and courageous in her efforts.

So, that's the "On Fire" challenge for this week. In your own life, where are you strong and where are you weak? As most of us know, the best way to develop a weak area is to *work* at it.

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God gives us power, love and a sound mind---that all of those things work together. Power is about having an ability to do something. God has given us the ability to love and to act in our right minds (LOL)! In what ways do you need to *work* at being more loving *and stable*?

How's your weight? How's your blood pressure? How's your physical endurance? How's your muscle tone? How well are you eating and resting? Are you making your physical health a priority? In what ways do you need to *work* at being more vigorous?

Ethics. An ethical person is a moral person. A moral person is not just someone who knows the difference between right and wrong (James 4:17) but makes their decisions, both personally and professionally, based on those values. In what ways do you need to *work* at being more moral?

A moral woman is firm. A moral woman is courageous. It takes a lot of both to be able to know your convictions and stick with them; however, a *good man* will be looking for that in a *strong woman*.

You know, according to the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), a fascinating thing starts to happen when we start to *develop our strengths*:

"But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."---Galatians 5:22-23(Message)

Psalm 84:11 tells us that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. It takes a strong person to have a strong backbone. Instead of putting so much energy into what you want (Psalm 37:4), how about developing what you already have? Your husband will be so glad that you did!



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