Candles and Character

When wisdom enters your heart,

And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,

Discretion will preserve you;

Understanding will keep you,

Proverbs 2:10-11

Viewing young women growing up in our world today, I am amazed that the rules of conduct seem to have morphed into some otherworldly habits! May I just take a moment to look at some things that scripture has to say about what is proper for women professing godliness? The instruction God gives in His word is really more about the attitude of heart that carries us and the display of character seen in our moderation and manners.

“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.” (Hair, jewelry and name brand clothing are not to be our emphasis!)

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:9-10‬ ‭NASB

Deportment is a word not commonly used these days. It speaks to how one carries herself; posture, walk, conversation, conduct etc. Yet, it also includes her attitude, style and manners. The greek word for adorn means – to put in proper order, decorate, to trim a wick. Wait, what? 

Think of the intentional trimming of the candle wick that it might burn upright, without smoke and without flickering. We want the fragrance of the candle, the beauty of the flame and the benefit of it’s illumination, not the black sooty residue. Likewise, our adornment is important if what others see is to be beautiful, clean and fragrant. More specifically, could others see me and sense that I am a woman of God? It’s not that modest clothing makes a woman godly but having a mindfulness about her clothing keeps her from mistakenly giving the wrong impression about her character.

In thinking about ways to encourage  young women to honor the Lord in these areas I am reminded of the woman in Proverbs 31:10-31. Beginning in verse 10, she is said to be virtuous or excellent. That is, having a strong moral character. It is a military word. She had the moral strength of a strong army. She wasn’t wishy-washy about what she did, how she looked or how she held herself. She had purpose, conviction and lived differently than the average, common woman. 

The word wife could be translated woman. It is highly unlikely that she displayed any of these fine things listed by being married. Rather, she had a strong moral character and therefore, made an excellent wife. 

She is trustworthy, doing good and not evil all her days (v12). She works willingly (13), consistently and considerately (15). She works hard (17-20) and she is mindful of those in need and does what she can to help them. She is well clothed, properly fit for the woman who represents her husband (or father) who sits in the gate and has a place of honor and responsibility.

Pause with me. Being properly fit is not about the money, the fashion or name brand. Does my appearance give honor to the One I love? Is it respectful of His character and holiness? Is it mindful of His request to be modest? Is it proper in its fit or is it fit for the place it’s worn? 

Therefore, I ask, do you want to be an excellent woman? Then seek to have a strong moral character. Give careful attention to how one acts, speaks and appears by giving careful attention to heeding the Word and applying its truth to your heart.

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,

But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.