Last week I shared the story of my relationship with my husband. When we married, he said, “Everything I have is yours.” And later, when God walked us through overwhelming financial battles, God repeated those same words to me: “Everything I have is yours.” (Click here to read previous post). He unlocked strategies for me that I had not seen before. Today, I want to give you three of those strategies.
Foundation: A Marriage Covenant with God
God wants all of us who belong to His Body to know that HE is our husband, and desires to bless us. All of the resources He has are at our disposal! The Bible gives us a key scripture concerning Christ’s support of His Bride: Proverbs 31.
The “Virtuous Wife” Solomon describes is a wife of great value. Symbolically, she is a type of the Bride of Christ. She is implicitly trusted by her Groom, Jesus, and capable of great blessing both naturally and spiritually. An aspiring woman like this is to be praised, and when she does not prosper in some area, something is amiss.
There are only two things that could disqualify a covenant-bound Bride from being blessed: her own character issues (sin) or the work of the enemy (Satan). In this Proverb, neither of these is an issue. We already know that the Bride is virtuous, meaning sin is powerless over her. But there’s something more:
In Proverbs 31, the enemy is nowhere to be found; he is not mentioned at all as a source of fear or worry for the Bride.
Yet just as the omission of God’s name in Esther does not mean He is not present in the story, so the omission of the enemy in this Proverb does not mean we cannot discover the strategies to defeat him. It is the godly life of the Bride that protects her from her enemy, in three notable ways.
Strategy #1: She is a Kingdom Seeker
I had always been puzzled by Proverbs 31:13: “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.” Why mention these?
In the Bible, wool and flax refer to the two types of fabrics the Old Testament priests wore exclusively; linen made from flax, for ministry (to prevent sweat) and the warmer, fleecy wool for other occasions. The two fabrics were not to be mixed (Deut. 22:11), a symbol of the purity God required in the Levitical priesthood. Not accidentally, the Proverbs 31 wife is pictured as seeking the same materials necessary to clothe priests – the very fabric of their functions in the priestly role - to use in making her own garments.
What the Proverbs bride seeks is what Jesus commands us to seek in the New Testament: the things of the Kingdom of God. “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). This is the first key to the Bride’s character and her victory over Satan: she is a Kingdom-seeker.
She is also pictured considering a field and buying it: “from her profits she plants a vineyard” (v. 16). Kingdom-seekers support the mission fields God calls them to, counting the cost of discipleship, and helping to plant new “vineyards” with the resources they are given. Having a Kingdom-first mindset gives us spiritual protection from the “foxes that spoil the vineyards” (Song of Solomon 2:15) and from the constant draining of our bank accounts (Haggai 1:6).
The first portion of our time and resources should always be devoted to seeking and building the Kingdom of God.
#2: She is a Giver & a Nourisher
It has been said that “giving breaks the back of the enemy.” If that is true, then this Proverbs 31 wife has broken his back in several places!
As if her daytime work as a seamstress were not enough, this woman is up at night like the virgins with their oil lamps, ready to meet her Maker. “Her lamp does not go out at night” (verse 18). She is watchful over the ways of her household. Why is she awake? “To provide food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants” (verse 15). On her tongue is wisdom and kindness (v.26).
Again, while her natural story is exemplary, the Proverbs 31 wife symbolizes for the New Testament believer a spiritual story as well. She is a giver, a nourisher. She knows how to “gather food from afar” and nourishes herself, her entire household, and the poor with food she provides.
Like this Bride, our spiritual lives should be overflowing from our pre-dawn times of nourishment with the Lord. He is the “bread of life” that sustains us. What He gives us will be more than enough to edify our families, our maidservants (or employees), and our churches. In fact, we are commanded not to come empty-handed when we gather with the saints; we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to share (see Ephesians 5:18-19). It’s our testimony of Jesus that overcomes the enemy!
This “nighttime nourishment” in the Word is the same key Paul and Silas used to break prison bars in Acts 16. Chained by the Romans after demonstrating the power of God, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing to God at midnight in their jail cell. Because they stayed up late that night and nourished themselves and the prisoners who were listening, God shook the foundations of the prison and loosed everyone’s chains. Even the guard and his family were saved!
Giving ourselves to serve God and minister to others breaks the bondage of the enemy.
#3: She is Under the Blood & Clothed with Power
I believe that the third reason the enemy is not a problem for the Proverbs 31 wife is that she “does not fear.” (Prov. 31:21).
The calling card of Satan is fear. When the Bride places herself under the blood protection of Christ, she has no fear for her household. Her family is “clothed with scarlet;” covered by the blood covenant she has with the Lord, her husband and protector.
We are meant to remember Rahab with her scarlet thread and Jesus with his blood-scarred body. We also recall Jesus’ final words to the disciples in John: “do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in Me!” From ancient times, the intermingling of blood and the exchanging of garments as a pledge has said to the enemy: “If you challenge me, I have all of these others behind me who will defend me as well.” We can believe in the power of our covenant with Christ.
The Proverbs bride clothes herself with garments of “fine linen and purple,” which signifies her priestly role of intercession. She is actively defending her family through prayer, The application of Christ's blood through our prayers keeps the enemy at bay.
She has other clothing, too: she “girds herself with strength” and is clothed with “strength and honor” (verses 17 & 25). Likewise, the Body of Christ today is “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49), which is the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been given fine linen garments of righteousness to wear. When we wrap ourselves in the power of the Holy Spirit as this ancient wife did, we put on the supernatural, Samson-like strength we need to persevere against the enemy.
If something seems lacking in your life compared to Proverbs 31, I encourage you to study more thoroughly the strategies God gives us in describing His Bride. She is a Kingdom-seeker, a giver, and a warrior. She maintains covenant relationships of trust and protection. She is capable, strong, and wise. It is self-evident that she should be blessed!
Please pray this prayer with me:
Jesus, thank you for the marriage covenant You have established with me, your Bride. I choose to seek first the Kingdom of God and trust that I will have no lack of gain. I place my life and my household under your blood covenant. I declare that I DO NOT FEAR for my family, because we are ALL under your blood protection. I am clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit, and I dedicate my strength to giving, sowing, edifying and nourishing the Body of Christ. I believe that the missions and ministries You call me to support will become fruitful vineyards. Make me a watchful prayer warrior over Your household, and alert me when the enemy sends his foxes in to steal, kill, and destroy. Thank you for Your living Word, which has the power to break the back of the enemy and set the captives free! Amen!
c. Deborah Perkins/HisInscriptions.com
Deborah Perkins is passionate about connecting people with God.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.