Proverbs 31

Growing up is not easy, and neither is being a parent. What does it mean to be mature? Is it being able to drink alcohol and experience pleasures that children are too young to enjoy? Surely the good life is more than partaking of what has long been forbidden.
A boy who would grow up to be a man of influence must learn the meaning of responsibility. To be responsible for the lives of others is serious business. It cannot be learned by stealing pleasures from the innocent and indulging in enjoyments that by right belong to someone else.
A man who learns how to deny his flesh and to pursue true integrity can be trusted to guard the lives of people that are in his care. Someone who never grows up will have a hard time seeing that his life is about more than himself.
The good man will have a heart for the weak and will defend the rights of the poor. He will know God as the Maker of all mankind and will honor every human being as someone created in the image of God.
Such a man learns from his youth what it means to sacrifice self for the good of those in his protection. That kind of young man becomes even better by the choice of an excellent wife.
There are many flighty girls who have seductive bodies and friendly eyes, but not very many of them would make good partners for life.
The church is destined to be the wife of the Lord Jesus for eternity. What kind of bride will we be? How should we live now as those who have this amazing destiny?
Our eyes need to be seeking out great blessing for this good Man and for all who are a part of His household. We know that we have His steadfast love and faithfulness. He has bound them around His neck and written them on the tablet of His heart. The wedding ring on His finger is inscribed with these wonderful words: “I for my beloved,” and the ring on our finger bears the reply, “And my beloved for me.” (Song 6:3) He will never leave us.
With this confidence, we are free to be the most excellent wife we can be for our glorious husband. If we rise up early in the morning it is with this in mind, that all that we do in this life we do for our Husband who is a very worthy Man.
When we care for others in our household and beyond, we know that they all belong to Him, and our actions of love for them are an expression of our devotion to Him. When we dress ourselves and others respectfully, especially wearing the righteous garments of good deeds, we do so as those who have no intention of bringing any disgrace upon our Lord. When we care for the poor in His city we feed the very people that He loves. When we work late into the evening and make good use of every gift He has given us it is because our highest desire is to please the Man who is already pleased with us.
Our Husband calls us “blessed.” We are blessed.
If we have an opportunity to live out some small portion of the glory of this eternal marriage over the course of many decades among the people of this transient world, if we can be loving and wise husbands or delightful and respectful wives, we are doubly blessed. But even if the joys of a fulfilling earthly marriage elude us, we can have confidence in the love of the Husband of the church.
The weakest disciple of Jesus has this great Man as our companion for all eternity. Serve Him with gladness today and always, and may the works that He has for you today bring you praise forever in the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers

Lord God, we must be men and women of character. Teach us to love integrity more than wine. Give us new hearts, that we might serve the poor and the needy. Grant that the young women within Your kingdom would have a true desire for diligence, wisdom, and generosity. Give them great skill and dignity. Grant to them excellence of thought and speech. May our young men desire women of character, women who fear You, and who are committed to serving You. May Your church rejoice in this great truth: that we together are the one bride of Christ, the greatest of all husbands, and that we are being sanctified to serve Him well now and forever.