I have fallen behind in my readings of Slav’s book for Lent, however even if Lent passes before I finish the text, I will continue to post about it here.
In the second chapter, Slav has statements about the abilities and gifts and powers of God that are obvious and well known to any faithful Christian, yet it is nice to be reminded of our dependence on God.
Slav brings the reader back to Genesis, stating that God breathed life into Adam — only God can give us life, can give us the very air that we breathe and the ability to breathe that air. God also gives us everyother ability, talent, and skill on this earth. We can’t claim anything for our own credit, for only through God do we exist and function.
It is sinful to take your God-given ability to work, and sit around day after day not working. It’s spitting into God’s face.
Proverbs 31 Woman
When I first came upon this passage early in my freshman year of college, I didn’t really think much of the message it could be sending to the reader. Then I read it this past summer in Captivating, and the point that was sent in the Eldredges’ book was that it was an impecable standard for women, saying that the woman wasn’t shown to be at rest or with female companionship. Rereading it this past week has made me seen that I should read between the lines.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She does not awaken each day to roll out of bed, grumbling (although she might need a cup of coffee first) and she doesn’t work because she has to, but because she wants to. The Lord worked up until the moment He began His ministry- it is good and honorable to work, to form your own living.
She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She will go to great lenghts to be assured of the fact that her family does not go without food, even if that means she must sacrifice her sleep or her own meals. Everything that is done by her hands is productive, she is not idle (not in terms of relaxation, but laziness).
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheth her arms. She percieveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Dependapility. Just as we light a candle in the window to show that we are waiting for one’s return, she embodies dependability and hope. She is steady, like a rock, for when spinning wool or flax if your hands are not steady, the strands will not be the same girth nor will it unspool in an orderly fashion.
She strectcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
She is a willing provider to the poor and it is not done in a boastful manner. Yet, in her care for the poor and needy, her family is not without. She ensures that the family is well clothed and that even in times of suffering, she does not look the part.
Her husband is know in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and deliereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdome; and her tongue is the law of kindness.
She does no dishonour to her husband nor to the household name, for otherwises the merchants would not do business with her willingly and repeatedly. Her husband is not preoccupied with matters of the household or her public conduct and therefore is able to meet with the elders without shame, and he is known in the land. She is patient, not jumping into premature joy or celebration. In discernment she speaks, and with love. In order to make fine linen, one has to be patient, willing to rework the warped threads, especially if a pattern is woven into it – she does not work in haste, but with care and promptness where appropriate.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daugthers have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
She does not delay or linger when there is work to be done. Shes is valued in her household, without a person to lay a harsh word against her honour, deeds, and name.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Ever feel like catching a space shuttle and leaving the earth and all its vices far behind you? I don’t know if it’s just society in general, or the material presented in my classes that are beginning to show me just how outlandishly strange my views are in comparison to all the socially “acceptable” permissiveness that permeates society these days. In my race relations class I have to balance out a form of relativism that asks me to say that whatever we each do as individuals is okay- whether its in regards to views on abortion or homosexuality, or that the merit system should be abolished. Or in my sociology class that focuses on modern changes since the 1950s, the current trends and future consequences of family change. Here we are supposed to believe that the family is changing, that we should begin thinking of cohabiting couples with children as stepfamilies. It is drilled into me that cohabitation is all right; but I’m not smothered in that class. The professor is open-minded and realizes that faith is a driving force, a way of life for some of her students. In my forensic psychology class I am supposed to put my morals on hold and sit still and read about child sexual abuse or just sexual violence in general while my gut reaction is not to read the text and walk away from it all.
I’m open about my faith and Christianity in my family in a changing society sociology class, and other Christians are in my forensic psychology class and have to endure the same moralistic battle each time they crack open the novel we have to read on pedophilia. I know I’m not alone in anything, that I’m not the only one cringing at the string of expletives pouring out of adolescents’ mouths. Nor am I alone in struggling for sexual purity – not so much physically as mentally. Increasingly, I want to be able to hide away from it all, to escape it all together.
In addition to this, I have to learn how to be patient in others’ lives, and I have to let godly expectations and gentleness override bitterness. I know I am not in the minority, that I am not the only one experiencing these societal trends, and the Church is plowing Her way through them as well. However, my mind drifts towards Ave Maria, Florida on occasion. Indeed the prospect of a Roman Catholic city is very attractive, yet we are not supposed to be a segregated city on a hill or a candle hidden under a bucket. If you hide a candle under a bucket, not only are you depriving the non-believers of the Light, but you are depriving yourself of that Light; the light of the candle is neither on you nor anyone else for that matter. But for God’s sake man, don’t think for a moment that hiding away in a city will help the situation. We can lead by example; and we can also lead by speaking the truth. Most importantly, we are Brothers and Sisters in Christ – when your siblings are in need of help, you don’t bicker do you? Of course not, you come to their aide – so as a Church why do we feel so disjointed, like we are not working in unison?
Pride is a sin.
We’ve all heard this and reminded ourselves and others to maintain a humble lifestyle and outlook at all things. Except, we don’t and especially so on the internet.
Everytime you log in what is among the first things you check on your blog? For myself, how many comments did I get at the blogspot? How many feathers did I ruffle on the Xanga? Then based off of the comments and email replies, we (surely it cannot only be me?!) privately reaffirm our popularity and acceptability in general society through our online interactions.
We pride ourselves based upon how many comments, positive comments at that, we have recieved within a give period of time.
As it is Lent, this must be corrected. No, that is wrong. Pride should not only be reigned in during Lent, it is to be our lifestyle. We are to be found blameless in the eyes of the Lord.
Go and sin no more. It’s a difficult phrase, not so much to understand, or to dream of getting to that point of godliness and holiness, but much more so in attaining that goal God has set for us. Every sin we commit tears at the Lord’s patience in us, for it is not infinite patience and it does have a fierce end. Just as our mothers tell us in childhood that we are to learn from our mistakes, so to must we learn from our sins. If we do not take care of repentance from the sins, in addition to turning away from sin in the future, Satan will get an increasingly firm grasp on our lives and our Free Will.
I am not plagued by different sins each time, but routinely the same one, because I have failed to turn away from the sin. Thus, my failure to turn away demonstrates to Satan that I am more than willing to throw away my relationship in the Lord for a moment’s pleasure, or a moment’s revenge. Therefore, I am not lamenting that each time I cross that sinful line I deride myself once again. I am adamant that I will overcome the sin, only to be face new temptations. But better new temptations and a new demonstration to Satan that I am not satisfied with his empty promises of fragmented bliss.