“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:25, KJV).
Sometimes we look at the life of the Proverbs 31 woman, and we think that her life must have been ideal. Did anything bad ever happen to her?
We know that she must have had some hard times. We all do! None of us can escape through this life without having our share of tears and trials.
But how did she react to both good and bad times?
Nehemiah tells us that “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Paul tells us to “rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4). Peter tells us to greatly rejoice “in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6, NIV).
It sounds nice to be told to rejoice, but HOW do I actually do that?
Paul tells us that rejoicing takes place in our minds. It’s all what we think about. When we feel ourselves getting anxious over our trials, we first must take our concerns to God in prayer.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV).
God’s peace will fill our minds (Philippians 4:7), which is exactly what we’re hoping for. But will His peace stay? Only if we train our minds to continue thinking good thoughts.
“Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable –
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —
think about such things…
and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9, NIV).
A mind that practices rejoicing, day in and day out, by thinking about good things, becomes strong. I’m sure we’ve all met elderly women who had strong minds because they practiced righteous thinking… and we’ve probably met weak-minded elderly women as well. As any muscle, our minds must be strengthened by rejoicing, little by little, over time.
Proverbs 11:16 says that “a gracious woman retaineth honour.” Honor comes when we honor God (1 Samuel 2:30), when we fear God, and when we have humility (Proverbs 22:4). Again, these things are all very easy to do when life is easy. Can we honor and fear God with humility when we don’t understand why He’s allowing bad things to happen?
Are we gracious in the tough times? Do we get grumpy when life is tough? Or do we rejoice, taking captive our thoughts and reacting with strength and honor?