A Praiseworthy Life by Cynthia Heald
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NLT)
In today’s world we are enticed to buy products that will firm our skin, prevent wrinkles and keep us from aging. Why? So we can prolong our youthful good looks and hopefully receive praise for our lasting beauty. Certainly it is not wrong to want to be attractive, but Proverbs 31:30 reminds us that beauty does not last.
I’m grateful this scripture cautions us concerning the elusiveness of charm and beauty. Seeking beauty in order to boost our self-esteem and receive praise can subtly spill over into inauthenticity. Focusing on temporal beauty can keep us from experiencing any genuine praise we deserve.
This verse is special because it not only states the ultimate ineffectiveness of pursuing “anti-aging,” it also tells us what we can do to truly be appreciated.
In the next stroke of the pen we are instructed to desire the great praise that results from fearing the Lord. After recounting the various activities of the Proverbs 31 woman, we learn the secret for the admiration she received: She feared God.
I like concise summations that clearly and simply state what is necessary — in this case, her fear of the Lord prompted her commendation.
Initially in my walk with God, I struggled to comprehend what it meant to fear the Lord. Should I be “afraid” of God? As I have grown in my understanding, though, I have discovered that fearing God doesn’t exactly mean “fear” like we first imagine.
Instead, it means standing in awe of Him, reverencing Him, adoring and respecting him. I like this definition: “giving God His rightful place in your life.”
God’s role as Creator of everything in the universe establishes Him as the only One who merits this reverence. He is our almighty, majestic, redeeming God and He deserves to be first in our hearts.
Fearing God is a significant truth. We discover in Proverbs 15:33a, “Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom” (NLT). Only as we stand in awe of His holy and just character can we obtain wisdom and gain an eternal perspective on life. To revere and honor Him above all requires that we submit ourselves to His lordship and rule in our lives. As we acknowledge His preeminence, we become recipients of His wisdom — wisdom that gives us good judgment and the ability to make wise choices.
Because the Proverbs 31 woman feared God, she was honored by her family and her deeds were worthy of praise. She was a wife who greatly enriched her husband’s life; she diligently looked well to the ways of her household; she thought of others and she spoke wisely. She “laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25, NLT) because when we fear God, we have no other fears. The Proverbs 31 woman’s fear of God enabled her to live a life worthy of praise.
For me, fearing God means that daily, I surrender my plans and agenda in order to follow my Shepherd. I take time to be still, sit at His feet and listen to His word. I talk with Him throughout the day. I memorize His word. I pray to make wise choices and become a woman who brings Him glory.
Fearing God frees me from seeking praise from the world. It frees me from self-centeredness. It frees me from pursuing beauty that does not last. But fearing God centers my life and bestows a gracious beauty of its own — one that reflects the beauty of the Lord and with this beauty is the promise of living a praiseworthy life.
Our Father, I humbly bow in reverence asking that my life would reflect a life that fears You. I pray that I will seek the beauty of the fruit of the spirit that comes from abiding in You. I pray that I will be a special blessing to my family and to all I meet. Thank You that I am Your child and that in fearing You I receive your wisdom and grace to live a praiseworthy life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 103:13, “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” (NLT)
Proverbs 15:16, “Better to have little, with fear for the LORD, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.” (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: How would you describe your fear of God? Are there any changes you can make? Write them down and commit them to prayer.
© 2016 by Cynthia Heald. All rights reserved.
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