4 ways to tell if you’re a woman who fears the Lord

I always wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

The only problem is that I don’t really have any idea what that means.

Does being a proverbs 31 woman mean being one of those super hospitable wives and super committed moms?  How does that work for me – being neither a wife or a mother, (let alone hospitable and committed)?

Does it mean being super involved at church? I work at a Church! Score!

Does it mean walking through the characteristics of the gal in the passage like a check list?  Here are the things I’ve gotta do today if I want to be a woman who fears the Lord! 

The sneaky thing about Proverbs 31 is that it doesn’t tell you what to do to become a woman who fears the Lord.  It provides a description of what flows out of a woman who already fears the Lord.

Below you’ll find four characteristics of a ‘woman who fears the Lord’ that I ripped off from a sermon out of the archives at Desiring God.

These things aren’t things to add to your to-do list. They’re an opportunity to test your heart.  If we have a right ‘fear’ or understanding of God, then these four characteristics will overflow in our hearts:

1. A woman who fears the Lord isn’t anxious about what’s going to happen in her life.

First, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

Our anxiety reveals what we think about God.

Do we honestly think He’s a soveriegn and good Father?  Do we honestly believe He cares about the mundane details of our lives and is working everything out for our good?

If so, it will affect our anxiety about how our kids are going to do in school this Fall or our fears about being single this time next year, or our obsession with how we’re going to pay our bills next month, or worry about how we’re going to do in that meeting at work tomorrow.

2. A woman who fears the Lord speaks wisdom and kindness.

Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

I love this because I’m a big fan of women redeeming passive communication. This verse tells us that if we’re going to be good stewards of our words we have to know and love God.  A right view of Him will effect the way we choose to spend the gift of language He has given us.

3. A woman who fears the Lord is strong.

Third, the woman who fears the Lord is strong. Verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.”

Think for a second about how you define ‘strength’.  Here’s what Piper goes on to say:

Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have.

True strength looks like contentment.

Do you want to know if your fear of the Lord overflows into strength?  Do you envy others?

Threads of discontentment reveal a heart that does not fully grasp the greatness and goodness of our maker.

4. A woman who fears the Lord is for other people, not against them.

Fourth, a woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others…Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.”

Our view of God will play out in our interaction with others.  If we trust that God is for us, it frees us up to be for other people.  We can look out for their interests because we know God is looking out for ours.

All four of these characteristics overflow from a right understanding and relationship with God.

You can’t just get out of your chair and go do these four things to earn the ‘proverbs 31’ merit badge.

If you want to be free of anxiety, if you want to speak kindness and wisdom, if you want to be strong and be for other people, the solution is gloriously complex: fear the Lord.

My hope is that, like me you’ll see this list as a reminder of just how far you have to go in your sanctification.

Let this list remind you of the opportunity you have to grow in your ‘fear’ of the Lord.  Let that opportunity excited you.  There’s more of Him to know.  There’s more of Him to trust.

As we grow in fearing Him we will be transformed – not to the image of some cool Proverbs woman.  We will be transformed into the very image of His Son.  Neat.



25 thoughts on “4 ways to tell if you’re a woman who fears the Lord

  1. I’ve pretty much hated the Proverbs 31 woman ever since college, when the guys at church called all the pretty girls at church a “P31.” Yuck. Who can ever live up to her, anyway? But thanks for breaking it down like this, Fabs – I like your version better. 🙂

    1. Hi Fabs! I discovered your site about 3 months ago and I’ve been very blessed with your articles.God Bless you! (Beatriz from Brazil)

    2. I love the meaning you expressed of a proverb woman,we have to have clean hands and pure hearts is Gods desire for us ,we need to work on it for our children ,the things we tell our children to do or not do,we should practice it ourselves,that the commandments and all Gods words ,we should not envey other people blessing sbecause what ever God bless them with he will bless you as well ,I love it

  2. I hear you Fabs and agree but now I feel we need to brake down how we can become women who fear God and constantly have that in our hearts. Its such a complex thing to get to. I think we need a series on this:)

  3. I just listened to the redeeming passive communication sermon and it was amazing!! i seriously got so much out of it, thank you for sharing!! was that you speaking?

  4. I just found your blog today. I love reading what you have to say and truly believe you speak the truth in love. As I read this post it spoke to my heart. I deal with anxiety to the point where I have full blown anxiety attacks. Yes, I believe that is something I will deal with the rest of my life and is not something I can just pray leaves me. But I do believe that I can stop anxiety (if that makes sense). So you say all we need to do is “fear the Lord” (which I know is not a simple solution). I grew up in a church and have believe in Christ my whole life. But I have never been taught to “fear the Lord”. So I don’t even know where to go with that. How does one do that?

    1. Gosh Kiersten, that’s the million dollar question. His Spirit is the right answer. He will do it in you. His chosen means is faith in God’s Word. Maybe this week find one verse that directly addresses anxiety and memorize it. Find a promise in it that you can believe, and just pray over and over again for Him to give you faith to believe that promise. Let me know how that goes!

  5. Hi Fabs! I stumbled across your blog while I was looking thru my facebook news feed. I’m so glad I did! I love this post. Chris and I have had a lot of career changes recently with Chris being back in school and me transitioning into real estate. I have been wrestling with the idea of “success” lately: what that looks like for me and why it looks that way. I have come to the conclusion that success for me is all summed up in “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.” I really like the 4 characteristic you outlined in your post and i think they make a great totem pole by which to measure success be it financial, personal or relational.

    1. Hey Lucy, I don’t have a transcript, but I probably have some teaching notes. Shoot me an email and remind me!

  6. SCORE! i work at church too…its awesome and hard full of struggles, but still awesome…. i saw you write SCORE and was like hey thats my lingo plus she loves Jesus Double SCORE !
    I was listening to this…… this morning…….. the john piper on womanhood sermon off desiring god…..and i was trying to text one of my friends the verses..but i finished it and i went to do something else and i needed the verses back and so i quickly inputted it into google and your website popped up and i quickly read through and saw SCORE! and i saw that the verses i was looking for were on here … then i saw that you took them off the desiring god im sure same sermon….AWESOME…how that worked..GODs so awesome!
    sisters in christ….. that was neat! anyways great job helpin the ladies in christ grow!
    just droppin a line 🙂

  7. Hey Fabs…u ‘ve probably heard it a million times and here it is again:Your Blog Is Amazing!!
    Thanks for breaking this down. Funny enough,i read the article on Desiring God before coming on here but i’m struggling with clarity over certain issues that seem to.stand in the way of my being the ‘ Proverbs.31 woman’. Could you please let.me know via email if you wont mind giving advice on personal issue,feel.free to say no:-). In tge meantime, i’m off to browse your blog. xx

  8. Yeah, I was pretty scared by this portrayal of a Proverbs 31 woman, thinking I could never live up to her. You’ve made me feel like I’m almost there. Thank you <3

  9. thank you for these coments and teachings it helped me alot on what i needed to share on.

    i always use to say i am a Prov 31 lady but this is an eye opener

  10. It always amazes me how our Heavenly Father uses people and His Word to answer those questions about life….. there is no checklist, just a consistent, honest, respectful, ‘always mindful of His presence’ walk with the One who loves us the most, knows us the best and will be with us the longest!

  11. I can say with much honesty that I am a woman that fear the LORD in all that I do in my life. After reading this no one will and can tell me other wise, GOD has been good to me in many ways in my life and I thank him for it all.

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