Sunday, January 25, 2009
I can't because I'm not _________. It's easy to make excuses. Take it from me, I do it all the time. Like, "I can't keep my house clean because I'm not organized," or how about, "I can't encourage others because I don't feel valuable." Or another good one, "I can't consistently train my children because I'm not patient." Or this one is a common one, "I can't stick to a healthy eating routine because I'm not disciplined." I am currently working through a Bible study called Becoming a Noble Woman, by Anita Young. It looks at Proverbs 31 and the attribute this woman possesses. There is nothing like Proverbs 31 to make a common woman feel completely inadequate. The "I can't" excuses start flying for me at verse one. This woman is valuable, pure, trustworthy, beneficial, a teacher, talented, caring, thrifty, giving, organized, administrative, enterprising, strong, a hard worker, compassionate, wise, classy, supportive, has inward beauty, and honest humility. I don’t measure up presently and felt defeated as I read the list. Let me also add that this is my second time through this exact study and I still feel anywhere but “Noble.”
The author explains an important truth in this statement: "To begin being a Noble Woman, you must realize your power comes from Jesus Christ. You're dead to yourself and alive unto God. You may think you possess none of the qualities of a noble woman, but Jesus, within you, possesses them all." Therefore, my excuses for why I can't do anything are empty because I am relying on my own strength.
My assignment this week was to begin memorizing Romans chapter 6. I read the first 2 verses and was a little confused at why I should spend my time on these verses. What did this have to do with me becoming a noble woman? "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace my increase? By no mean! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Sin? Seriously. I began to look at all my "I can't" excuses in a new light. If God has equipped me I certainly can do everything through Christ who strengths me. Inspired I started memorizing and my inspiration stopped about 5 minutes later when I realized how hard it is for me to commit things to memory. I am terrible at it -- always have been. I went through 6 years on a Bible quiz team and still can't memorize worth beans. I was just about to say, “I can’t” when I realized this was the first of many tests.
When looking at the woman described in Proverbs 31, I realized she has a very balanced life. “She grew in wisdom by using her mental capabilities according to God’s natural and ethical laws. She administrated and organized her life wisely to be productive and submissive to God. She redeemed her time by using her talents and following God’s wise laws of giving. Physically, she kept up her appearance and worked hard. She developed qualities of compassion and fear of the Lord, which brought her favor with God. She didn’t neglect others. She grew in favor with her family and community as well.” (BANW, pg 14). These aren’t things that happened over night, they were characteristics she developed in herself by the power of God. Can’t I do the same? I believe I can. I can develop and do things that are not natural or easy for me. Gasp! This might take some hard work. It is much easier to say “I can’t.”
It’s a great study to work through, even on your own. I would highly recommend doing it if you are like me and need a kick in the seat of your pants occasionally, okay regularly, to becoming more like Christ. Life’s too busy, I have no time, my kids are obnoxious, I need to wash my hair, the inside of the toilet has gone from pink to green, I’d rather be shopping.... Oh, ya. I’ll give you a list of excuses for why you can’t join me in becoming a noble woman, but they won’t work. Because if you believe that all things are possible through Christ, then a list of characteristics exhibited by one single woman about her entire life shouldn’t be overwhelming -- it should be inspiring. Look what God can do through one woman!