“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)
When my daughter was five years old and completely enamored with all things Disney Princess, I wanted to make sure she would understand that her beauty wasn’t dependent on her looks. In her princess world’s eyes, beauty consisted solely of tiaras, fancy dresses, elaborate hair dos, and makeup. And, because her favorite princess was Ariel, beauty also required a mermaid tail!
I explained to her that while dressing up was fun and it was okay to make ourselves look pretty, even more importantly, we want to make sure our “heart” is dressed beautifully. This meant having the godly characteristics of honesty, kindness, respect for ourselves and others, and love. I put all of this in a letter so she could look back at it any time, especially when she became a teenager, and I’ve taken it to heart myself.
Living in a world where we are bombarded with images of “worldly beauty,” it is easy to get caught in the trap of making our identity synonymous with our looks. But, when we keep ourselves grounded in the Biblical view of beauty, we can be like the Proverbs 31 woman who adorned herself with “strength and dignity.”
The idea of dignity in this chapter describes someone deserving of respect. Proverbs 31:25 says a person with dignity (strong moral character) has the joy of the Lord and does not fret about the future. Before the attribute of dignity could be applied to the Proverbs 31 woman, she first had to live out Proverbs 11:3: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (NIV)
How did the Proverbs 31 woman attain integrity? She did so by reading and practicing God’s word daily. She realized that her life should be based on the truths found in the Bible and not on worldly ideas because, as Solomon noted, duplicity destroys. This principle of keeping our focus on God’s word as our guidebook for life and not gravitating toward worldly views should apply to everything we do. You simply cannot pick and choose the rules and ideas you like from God’s word and mix them with other ideas from the world to create your own system for living. You must choose to live by Biblical truth or else destruction is promised, as Proverbs 11:3 notes.
One way you can choose to live your life by God’s system is by choosing a mate who exhibits the godly traits of trustworthiness, respect (for others and themselves), responsibility, good judgment and faith in the Lord. Dedicate yourself to being these things as well. Dress yourself with strength and dignity, and you will attract someone with similar “clothes.”