Proverbs 31:13 - Cheerful Holiness

“She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.”
~Proverbs 31:13 

A biblically submissive, Proverbs 31 woman seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. 

seek (v.) - 1. to search thoroughly; to search every place: 2. to try to obtain 

willing (adj.) - 1. cheerfully consenting or ready: 2. disposed or inclined; prepared: 3. acting or ready to act gladly; eagerly compliant: (Matthew 26:41): 4. done, given, accepted, or borne voluntarily or begrudgingly: 5. not brought about by coercion or force 

As we can see from these definitions, a biblically submissive wife’s "seeking" isn't just a flighty, haphazard thing she does because she has nothing better to so. We also see that her working with "willing" hands is no small matter either. She works cheerfully and gladly. She's disposed, prepared and without coercion, is very inclined to do the work God has laid before her with gratitude and cheerful holiness. 

She finds great satisfaction in her work because she is wise and knows that it is a gift from God for all mankind to eat and drink and take pleasure in all their work (Ecc 3:12-13). 

Then there's the word "willing". The first thing that comes to mind when I think of that word is, "Okay, I'll do it...since no one else will, and it needs to be done." and silently I'm thinking, "They owe me. I better receive some kind reward or "payback" for this." 

Are either of these attitudes I entertain Christ-like and honoring to God? I think it's obvious the answer would be a resounding "NO!" 

In order to fulfill the Scripture we're meditating on with this lesson, I will need to crucify two things…today. 
  1. I will need to crucify my arrogance that assumes that if I don't do something that it either will not get done or it won't be done very well; 
  2. And if I do anything, it's automatically a blessing to someone, and I am owed something in return. 

Now let's take a look at what she (the Proverbs 31 woman) is accomplishing here in verse 13. She's not only willingly working, but she is working with wool and flax. Below is information I found very interesting about wool and flax from the online Britannica Encyclopedia.

WOOL: is an animal fiber that forms the protective covering of the sheep. Selective sheep breeding eliminated most of the long, coarse hairs forming a protective outer coat, leaving the insulating fleecy undercoat of soft, fine fiber. Also, cleaning the fleece removes "wool grease," the fatty substance purified to make lanolin (a fatty substance, extracted from wool, used in ointments, cosmetics, waterproof coatings, etc.). Now, I personally know quite a bit about "fatty substance" since I have some, I'm trying to lose. 

I find it particularly interesting that the wool is a protective covering, and when cleaned and purified the fatty substance is used to make ointments – to heal wounds and comfort injuries; cosmetics (i.e., lotions) – to care for our bodies and refresh it from the damages of the world; and waterproof coatings – to protect us from environmental damages against our bodies. 

Wool has the warming effect on the wearer. 

So let's "warm" our husbands with the attitude (humility) and love (submission to the Father's will) of Christ! 

We, as biblically submissive wives can and should have the affects of wool on our husbands, children and anyone we come in contact with. Our job, after being cleansed by the blood of Christ and purified (sanctification) by the Holy Spirit, is to: 
  • heal and comfort our darling husbands’ wounds and injuries; 
  • we are to care for and refresh his entire body and soul from the damages of the day; 
  • and protect him from all the things that beat down (burden) him. 

I pray the Lord help us to have the warming and soothing affect of wool on our husbands. Please pray this for yourselves as well as other sisters in Christ all over the world. 

FLAX: is a plant that is cultivated for both its fiber from which linen yarn and fabric are made, and for its seed, called linseed, from which linseed oil is obtained. Linen is used to make clothing, is strong, durable and its smooth surface repels soil. It is however, subject to wrinkling. The oil from the plant, linseed oil or flaxseed oil is used to make paints as well hem...are you ready? It's also used to help relieve constipation (due to the wheat content) and it also benefits in controlling levels of cholesterol (because it contains Omega-3 fatty acids) and blood sugar in the body. The flax seed itself can be crushed and used to make a healthier bread! 

Again, I find it particularly interesting to find the similarities between the benefits of flax and the benefits to a husband who is married to a biblically submissive wife. A husband who is married to a biblically submissive wife in accordance with Proverbs 31:10-31; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, 10-11, 13-16; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7 - 12; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Timothy 2:9 - 15; Titus 2:3-5; and finally 1 Peter 3:1-6 is well blessed by God because: 
  • she is the strong and durable fiber in which God made to hold the family together; 
  • she repels the "soil", that is, the dirt from the world's affect on her family; 
  • with her patience and understanding, she brings them relief when they are "stuck" emotionally—which brings God's peace to her household as she comforts her family, keeping their heart, body and soul well nourished through prayer and acts of kindness; 
  • she disciplines (beats) her flesh (1 Cor 9:26-27) so that she’s doesn’t hinder her family from eating and being nourished by the wholesome bread from Heaven...the Word of God. 

** Prior to using flaxseed oil or any supplements to your diet, please consult your physician, as you may have some adverse side effect and/or exacerbate any current medical conditions you might have.** 

Flax has a cooling effect on the wearer. 

So let us "cool" our families with the peace of God and bring harmony and serenity to our household, not harried busyness in all the events of this world. 

If I could describe Proverbs 31:13 with just two words, I'd use "cheerful holiness"! And I can't explain it any better than our brother Charles Spurgeon, so I won't try. Listen to what our wise brother from long ago said so wisely. 

"Do you believe that your sins are forgiven, and that Christ has made a full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now? Luther said, 'Smite, Lord, smite, for my sin is forgiven; if Thou hast but forgiven me, smite as hard as Thou wilt'; and in a similar spirit you may say, 'Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what Thou wilt, Thou has forgiven me, and my soul is glad'. Christian, if thou art thus saved, whilst thou art glad, be grateful and loving. Cling to that cross which took thy sin away; serve thou Him who served thee. 'I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.' Let not your zeal evaporate in some little ebullition of song. Show your love in expressive tokens. Love the brethren of Him who loved you. If there be a Mephibosheth anywhere who is lame or halt, help him for Jonathan's sake. If there be a poor tried believer, weep with him, and bear his cross for the sake of Him who wept for thee and carried thy sins. Since thou art thus forgiven freely for Christ's sake, go and tell to others the joyful news of pardoning mercy. Be not contented with this unspeakable blessing for thyself alone, but publish abroad the story of the cross. Holy gladness and holy boldness will make you a good preacher, and all the world will be a pulpit for you to preach in. Cheerful holiness is the most forcible of sermons, but the Lord must give it to you. Seek it this morning before you go into the world. When it is the Lord's work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad." 
~ Charles Hadden Spurgeon,
Morning and Evening (August 14) 

Gracious Lord God and Redeemer, I bless Your holy name! Thank You for the gift of repentance that works salvation for all those who believe and trust in the Name of Your Son, Christ Jesus. Teach us to discipline ourselves and work with willing hands that we may acquire cheerful holiness and make Your heart glad! 

Biblical Perspective, Practically Applied: 

  1. Memorize and meditate on Proverbs 31:13 and Philippians 2:3 during your morning praise and quiet time as you prayerfully ask our Father to help you understand and purposefully and intentionally live what you’ve learned from his Word. 
  2. In your journal, make a two column list with one column titled “Wool” and the other title “Flax”. Then pray Psalm 139:23-24 and quietly wait as the Lord reveals to your heart whether or not you’ve had the warming affects of wool and cooling affects of flax on your husband and children…and even others the Lord has providentially placed in your life. Based on whatever the Lord reveals to you, honestly write down all the way you have had these wonderful influences on your family in green and then write down any way you have had the opposite effect on your family in red. After you’ve made your lists, prayerfully consider how you can serve the Lord and your family better. 
  3. Pray and thank God for His patience, His faithfulness and loving-kindness He’s shown you and rejoice in His goodness rather than wallow in your failures.

"And the world is passing away along with its desires,
but whoever does the will of God abides forever."
~1 John 2:17, ESV