Book Club,  Marriage,  Uncategorized,  Virtue

The Virtuous Woman – Lesson One

A virtuous woman isn't ruled by her passions--she passionately pursues an incomparable God.

Today we’re starting lesson one of the book club, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Please pray with me as I’m new to this world of book clubs. I don’t know how to run one, and so I’m hoping to lean on the Lord during the next nine weeks.

Before starting this club, I knelt down at the side of my bed and prayed asking the Lord to guide me. I don’t know what a successful book club should look like. All I know is that I want to be inspired by the Word, and sharpened by you as we study together.

We’re starting with chapter one today which is talking about virtue in general.

I wrote, “Virtue is all about our behavior. It’s an act of yielding our lives to our principles, which is not always easy, but always rewarding. There’s a will to do good in every one of us, but whether or not we choose to exercise and develop that goodness determines our character.”

If we’ve ever set out to lose weight, change a bad habit, start a new exercise routine, or cut back on caffeine, it’s likely that we’ve felt the sting of our choice. Virtues come with a price, they call us to sacrifice. In scripture, it’s often described as a crucifying of the flesh. I also think of it as choosing God’s will in lieu of my own.

I’ve opened my Bible to Proverbs 31 for this lesson. Over the years I’ve read it several times, but today was the first day I learned something absolutely breathtakingly beautiful about the chapter. In the original translation, verses 10-31, each begin with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. That spurs me on to study Hebrew, and to keep digging deeper into the Word.

Whether this woman truly existed or not we don’t know for sure. What I do know is that there isn’t a single woman who’s perfect. We have virtuous qualities but the only true perfection we have is in Christ.

It’s through Him, and by Him, and for Him that we live. Once we embrace this truth we’re growing in virtue as we live by the Spirit and put down the flesh.

This world is seductive. We’re surrounded by the lure of temptation. For each one of us it’s different, but nevertheless it’s constantly there.

“But, my situation is different… God’s way is boring… I’ve been a good girl all my life, this one time I’m choosing what I want to do… I’ll sin today and get forgiveness tomorrow… “

Self-centered thinking is the bridge that leads us into the pit. Christ-centered thinking is the road less traveled. It leads us through meadows of peace and contentment and hope.

My prayer for you today is that you’ll choose the road less traveled. Examine your life to see what temptation you’re facing, and what steps you can take to walk a victorious life. Remember, yielding our lives to our principles, is not always easy, but always rewarding.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that you will guide us in virtue. Teach us to yield our flesh to Your Spirit, to listen to Your voice, and to obey Your commands. Help us to grow in our roles as wives. May we learn to love as You love, and to freely give as You give.

Amen.

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene

Let’s discuss chapter 2 on Friday!

What are some of the thoughts that you have on chapter one? What are your thoughts on virtue? Please leave a comment below! (subscribers click through to the blog)

Find out more about the book here

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Today’s Challenge:
Examine your life to see what temptation you’re facing, and what steps you can take to walk a victorious life. Take this to prayer.

 

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24 Comments

  • Laurie

    Chapter one has inspired me and shone a new light on the Proverbs 31 wife. Im excited to take this journey with God and you!

  • Lisa

    I have really been lacking in this area, and as I read Proverbs 31:120-31 it just really opened my eys this morning. I am so thankful the Lord knows my heart and gives me His grace and mercy, that I have a clean slate and I will now walk in faith, I need to be more Christ centered instead of being self centered and world centered. I have 2 little girls who are counting on me to be the Women and mommy that the Lord created me to be.

    I am really looking forward to this book club…Thank you for doing this..

  • Stacey Zink

    Darlene, these were the words I needed to hear today. Bless you for writing them. The road less traveled is hard to take and it’s hard to walk, but God never promised our journey would be easy. We must be faithful, but what happens when we grow weary? Lately I have grown so weary. Your book and this study are proving to be refreshing change in my life. Thank you. I’m praying for you and for this study for bring about a desperately needed change in my heart.

  • Michelle

    When going through Chapter One and reading about the Proverbs 31 woman I find the many areas I am lacking. The many areas that I have chosen to walk in my flesh (laying on the couch in the evenings vs. being prepared for the next day) instead of doing what God is prompting me to do. My prayer is that I listen to that voice and put my family first every time not just when I feel like it. Thanks so much for the book club.

  • Melanie

    Chapter 1 spoke to my heart; not only as a wife but as a woman. It’s reassuring that the Lord truly knows our heart and the convictions of wanting to change and be stronger for his glory. I’ve always stated I have 2 anchors in life; one is my relationship with Christ and my Husband. By making changes that are ones which are part of the road less traveled isn’t always easy. There is always the moment of wanting to have my “pity party” but, when I see the smile in his face and see the way he loves my children and his children my so called pity party…

    I love how it’s stated “Virtue Takes Effort, Values Don’t” I never would have thought of Virtue being an effort but, when I think about it; it is a choice we make. A choice to love, give, and to surrender ourselves to do what is right. Not just for our husbands but for ourselves and for the people and relationships we have in our daily lives.

    thank you for this wonderful book and the opportunity to share and encourage.

  • Adrienne

    You had me in the intro where you spoke about Proverbs 12:4. You stated you would rather be known as a crown than the trophy wife…This spoke volumes to me. We tend to measure our self worth by what other wives are doing. I am a stay at home mom and I home school (11 yrs now). This is impacting me to be all I can while I’m in this season; to stretch beyond my daily roles. This is a great reminder that we are God’s child first and what He thinks is important. Then our husband’s wife. If we are following God’s Word and plan then we will be that crown to our husbands. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Hilary

    First of all, thank you for posting at the time that you do! I follow you from the UK and with three little ones, 5:30 am is my time for devotions, which is 12:30 am east coast time. It is so nice to read your posts on the actual date instead of having to wait. I am so appreciative of your words, they are truly an inspiration to me. I have been praying for the tools I need to be the wife and mother God wants me to be. Thank you for giving me the tools of your blog and your books! I received both your books in the mail today and can’t wait to read them and follow the book study. God Bless you on your calling!

  • Pam

    While doing the Prov 31 study over at Good Morning Girl’s, one thing that really stood out to me was that all she did was done for others. As I read through Chapter 1 of The Virtuous Life, again the Lord brought to mind “sacrifice.” This is where the rubber meets the road. Darlene captures this in her comment, “ the Proverbs 31 woman made sacrificial choices throughout the day as she conformed to those things that were good.” THIS is my daily dishes and laundry…to sacrifice for the good of others that my heavenly Father will be glorified.

  • Ellen

    I’m getting a second chance at marriage twenty years after the end of my first. I am purposed to be a blessing to my husbsnd and his family. And I’m finding it to be a challenge still, oldercand presumably wiser though I may be.

  • Jody

    Something that really stood out to me today was Pr 31:12 “she does (her husband) good and not evil all the days of her life.” She is a benefit to her husband. He is better off because of her. She doesn’t cause him any bad/harm/evil mentally/physically/emotionally/spiritually (frustration, reputation, financially). He is a better man because of her. Everything that follows in this passage adds to or is an example of this. And she accomplishes it through vs 25,26 and 30. She is strong (in virtue), dignified (integrity), wise, kind, and fears God. I pray that I do this for my husband.

  • marysheartisathome

    Thank you for reminding us of the woman God is calling us to be. The Proverbs 31 is a scrapbook, not a snapshot, of a godly woman. These are the actions and attitudes of a woman over the course of her days and years.
    The first verse in Proverbs 31:10-31 that my heart is drawn to is verse 11 “The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain.” I want to be a woman my husband can truly trust in. I want to be the friend he can rely on. Are my words both in and away from his presence the words of one his heart can trust in? Are my actions both in his presence and away from him the actions of one his heart can truly trust in? Are my attitudes the attitudes of one his heart can truly trust in? Or, do I betray that trust by my attitudes, actions or words? I pray that all that I am will be God’s gift to my husband and family, and that through this time focusing on the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman I will grow to be more the woman God has designed me to be.

    • Ruth

      Thanks Mary for sharing -your notes have hit me where I need to be hit. I need to be the wife my husband can truly trust and rely on. So my attitudes, actions and words must be ones his heart can trust.

  • Patty Frye

    I re-read Proverbs 31 again even though I have read it countless of times over the years and I am beginning to see just how virtuous the women of Proverbs was. Thank you

  • Doris

    I am looking at the Proverbs 31 Woman with new eyes in my life. Recently married 5 months ago and with a empty house … It’s just me & my husband … So battles there are none … That’s what I want to protect … I was previously married for 18 years and when my children were 16 and 18 we divorced…
    I remember going over and over and over this scripture, my heart was to be this Godly woman so much.
    I never had a role model in my life growing up that was healthy … So as a new Christian, wife and mother I set my bar high… The bar high for everyone… My husband and my children … I wanted the crown and sash that said Mrs. P-31 of the world… I look back and think ” oh girl” your need to be the prefect wife and mother did not end well…
    Now I am a wife years have passed … Kids all grown … New marriage … No more desire to be the perfect wife … Just the perfect one for my Paul…
    This first lesson was a reminder of my desire long ago to be this Great Wife!!!
    I am wiser… Equally yoked this time and will not fail… Because God is the center … I submit to my husband and we are a team….
    Yet I am well aware of the enemy who will sneak his way in a marriage and separate what God joined together… Let’s hope we can be the wives we need to be for our husbands and forget being like everyone else… The road less traveled is the road to go… There’s no distractions and your compass is the Holy Spirit and God is the driver… You and your husband can sit in the back seat and enjoy the ride ..

    To Long? Got caught up … 🙂

  • Barb

    Your intro quote by Sydney J. Harris….The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “I was wrong.” Powerful true words that can only be humbly acted upon when we have a moment by moment relationship with God Almighty. As you wrote later in the the introduction, ‘if we hope to live in victory, we must keep our eyes off the world and on the One who perfects us through grace.’

    Looking forward to growing into a more virtuous woman!

  • marysheartisathome

    Have you noticed in the KJV in the account of the woman with the issue of blood that when she touched Jesus’ hem and later in Luke 6:19 — Jesus felt virtue go out of Him. The word is translated power in more recent translations and used to mean power to heal.
    The Greek New Testament word is dynamis. That is New Testament. What about the word that is used in the Old Testament? The word is chayil. It, too, means in the Outline of Biblical Usage: strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army; strength; ability, efficiency; wealth; force, army;
    A virtuous woman is described by the same word as a man of valor.
    There is power, wealth, and strength in virtue. There is great value in good character.

  • Andrea

    One of my observations or thoughts after reading chapter one is that the proverbs 31 woman “walks the walk and talks the talk” in that she lives virtue every day of her life.
    That’s kind of scary and overwhelming, but I know that God is always there and He is bigger than any obstacles.

    As for the application part, I will work on practicing these virtues every day and I mustn’t get down on myself or give up when I fail. After awhile, it will get easier.

  • Victoria

    I know I’ve prayed to “be” a certain virtue and then just expected it to happen with no extra effort on my part. Silly, right? I need to exercise that virtue (as Darlene said) and actively choose to make that my new behaviour, which is what I intend to do with each virtue as we move along in this study. I really liked this quote from the book: “Faith powers our decision to change; virtue is the modification of our behaviour, as we conform our lives to our principles.” It will be nice to have a few days between each lesson to “practice” each virtue specifically as we go along. 😉

    • Dana Nelson

      That’s the same thing I’ve always done, Victoria! I pray for a virtue as if God is suppose to just shower me with it. I’ve never considered the fact that the virtue is already within me and just needs to exercised and practiced for it show through!

  • NancyDawn

    I am re-reading Lesson One this morning. Prov. 31:11 & 12 jump out at me. Does the heart of my husband safely trust in me? Do I do things that offer him security in our relationship or do I do things to cause him to doubt me? Do I do him good and not evil? Your comment of “Self-centered thinking is the bridge that leads us into the pit.” Is so true! (And that pit can be SO INCREDIBLY HARD TO GET OUT OF!!) This can be applied in so many areas of our lives. Does my self-centeredness cause me to act in ways that cause him to doubt me and my commitment? That self-centered thinking can cause us to act in ways we never thought we would and can cause extreme pain! As Darlene said, “A virtuous woman isn’t ruled by her passions-she passionately pursues an incomparable God!”
    God bless you all as you walk out your marriage journey. God bless you Darlene for putting this together!
    Love in Christ,
    NancyDawn

  • Ritva

    Hi ladies
    I’m a bit behind in starting the study with you as my book didn’t arrive on time. I studied chapter one today and I have a question, or observation, that I’d love to unpack with you all.
    On page 2 within Matthew Henry’s commentary on the word virtue he’s quoted, “A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit, who has the command of her own spirit and knows how to manage other people’s” … it’s the ‘managing other people’s spirits’ that has me stumped.
    I’m not sure if maybe it’s reworded differently I’d have a light-bulb a-ha moment but I thank you in advance for diving into this with me.
    Blessings,
    Ritva

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