Examining Proverbs 31:25: Strength, Dignity and Laughing at the Days to Come

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Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.

Proverbs 31:25 (ESV)
image of woman laughing with the textExamining Proverbs 31:25: Strength, Dignity and Lauging at the Days to Come

In several prior verses from this chapter, we learn that the Proverbs 31 woman makes clothing and garments for herself, her family and others (She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple in Proverbs 31:22, for example), but in this verse, we see a glimpse of her “spiritual clothing”. There are several references throughout the Bible on what we “put on” ourselves or “clothing yourself with Christ.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 3:27 (ESV)

When we first believed, we were clothed with Christ and became children of God through faith. We put on our clothing of strength and dignity by growing in our faith and asking the Holy Spirit to work in us (Galatians 5:16-26)

We also find a reference to clothing ourselves with strength in Isaiah 52:1.

Awake, awake,
    put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments,
    O Jerusalem, the holy city;
for there shall no more come into you
    the uncircumcised and the unclean.

Isaiah 52:1 (ESV)

It is God’s desire for us as Christian women, as is referenced in Proverbs 31:25, for us to wrap ourselves in honor, inner beauty and strength. We can do this through seeking God in all we do and studying His Word to learn how He wants us to live. All around us in today’s world are things that are not of God. We see and hear the worldview on television, music, in the workplace and goodness, even on Facebook. It is only by truly seeking Him and surrounding ourselves with things (and people) of God that we can clothe ourselves in strength and dignity.

Little steps such as listening to Christian music and spending time with other believers can help draw us closer to Him and further from worldviews. We can never escape the worldview, altogether unless we want to live in a remote cabin with no neighbors or technology, but we can take practical steps to intimately know and seek God.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper into each part Proverbs 31:25, shall we?

Strength and Dignity in Proverbs 31:25

Strength in Proverbs 31:25

The “strength” reference in Proverbs 31:25 indicates a person’s capacity to withstand adversity. The woman is strong because she has the fortitude to be fair and prudent within both at home and in public.

The Proverbs 31 woman is the model of a godly, strong minded individual. She spends her days tirelessly tending to responsibilities with discerning choices so that she and her family can have their needs provided.

She spends her days honing and cultivating each project that needs completion. She’s invested, sold goods (and donated them), may have planted seeds to grow flowers or vegetables – even volunteered at church!

She has an entrepreneurial spirit with strong moral values: work ethic coupled by generosity makes up this woman who is dedicated and known for her gratitude to God because he gives us everything we have including our talents.

Her selfless diligence leads her husband and children to “call her blessed” and praise her.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her:

Proverbs 31:28 (ESV)

Dignity in Proverbs 31:25

The Proverbs 31 woman is a go-getter who understands the opportunity each day brings to reflect God’s glory in her everyday conduct. It’s not just about doing what needs to be done, but also making sure it’s done with honor and praise for our Creator!

The Proverbs 31 woman puts her best foot forward and doesn’t let the missteps in life keep her from eagerly getting on with meeting responsibilities. Her well-ordered priorities allow for a value of strength and dignity over charm or beauty as it is called “deceptive” and “fleeting” in scripture.

Her hope in the future allows her to not worry so much, which keeps those moments of sorrow from getting too heavy.

Moreover, her joyful and hopeful demeanor prevents her from worrying about the future so she can “laugh at the days to come”.

A Look at the Symbolism of Clothing in the Bible?

It’s worth noting that scripture often uses clothing to symbolize people’s spiritual state. For example, Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves not only to literally cover up their nakedness but also as a way of covering the shame they felt after disobeying God.

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 

Genesis 3:7-8 (ESV)

Of course, we are familiar with spiritually dressing ourselves in the full armor of God to suit up for spiritual battle and against the temptations of the world.

And, in Revelation, we read that those who go to Heaven will be dressed in white to signify their spiritual purity (Revelation 7:9-14). 

Proverbs 31 is an illustration of the strong and dignified woman. She doesn’t walk in her own strength or dignity because we have none – at least, none that has eternal worth. Our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags as we can do nothing without faith.”

This “strength and dignity” is found in God alone. We must clothe ourselves in the Holy Spirit. We are to be humble and have the mind of Jesus. It is only then that we can rejoice in the future, no matter what it may bring.

Not because we have faith in ourselves and our capabilities, but that we are in Christ.

 Again, not because we trust in ourselves, but because “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.”

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

We can also laugh at the future because of God’s wonderful promises. He has shown His faithfulness to us repeatedly and, therefore, we can continue to walk in faith.

His Word says:

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8 (ESV)

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

If what comes out of the Proverbs 31:25 woman is full of wisdom and kindness, we know those are the things on her heart.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:34 (ESV)

You know that looking like a fool and being rude can make any woman seem harsh, foolish, or mean. That’s why we need to put Christ first in our lives by dressing in humility; then watching as He transforms us into his perfect vessel for good works!

The chapter, Proverbs 31 makes me think about the woman I aspire to be. Sometimes when things get tough, and it seems impossible for me ever reach “31 status” but then again Scripture says these verses were written with our example in mind-to stir up godliness within ourselves!

When you read this passage and reflect on your own growth, remember that we have not yet obtained it. But just as a marathon runner must keep going for them to finish the race, we must press on to reach the destination the Lord has for us.

Feminism is a dirty word for many Christians. But if we are to be different from this world and live up our calling as followers of Christ then it’s important that Godly femininity gets its due respect among all the noise out there about equality between men/women in society today!

In this world we live in, society has a lot to say about the way women should behave and present themselves. But as believers of God’s word–the Bible! –you and I know better than any other book on femininity! Let us take it upon ourselves not just for now but forevermore: break down those stereotypes so each girl can embrace who they really are meant to be; teach them all their capabilities because there isn’t anything off limits when following Christ.

Proverbs 31:25 tells us that a godly woman is “clothed with strength and dignity….”. While clothes are worn by everyone in society, but we, as women of noble character, are literally walking around daily with clothing of strength and shoes of dignity on.  We wake up strong and dignified each day because of who He says we are! His!

She is Clothed with Strength and Dignity: Exploring Proverbs 31:25 Click To Tweet

5 Ways Christian Women Can Remain Clothed in Strength and Dignity

Proverbs 31:25 lessons of strength, dignity and hope were written for men to find the godly wife and to celebrate them, but these values can serve as guidelines for both genders.

Here are 5 ways for Christian women to clothe themselves in strength and dignity

1 – Be Trustworthy

Proverbs 31:25 connects dignity with honesty. Be dependable in your words and deeds. Let truthfulness guide you when it comes time for decision making; make sure the word is reliable so “yes” means yes and “no” means no!

The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.

Proverbs 31:11 (ESV)

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Matthew 5:37 (ESV)

2 – Demonstrate Trust in Your Spouse

In a similar way, trust your spouse in a sensible way. The husband of the Proverbs 31:25 woman, “has full confidence” in his honest and principled wife. Ask yourself if you’re likely to second-guess or to micromanage your husband even knowing that he has sound judgment or expertise in a matter that’s less familiar to you. 

3 – Keep Your Priorities Straight

The Proverbs 31:25 woman knows that it takes conscious and disciplined effort to keep a household (or business) running efficiently. This virtuous woman “works with eager hands”, considers options and then decisively acts upon them (Proverbs 31:16), and then, remains watchful of her responsibilities by not falling into idleness. This ideal woman is also an ideal citizen, helping others in need.

When you fill your days with fruitful acts, you will be more likely to keep your priorities aligned with how God wants us to live and treat one another.  

4 – Praise Your Spouse

 Proverbs 31 instructs men to “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:31). Spouses should praise each other’s efforts and respect each other’s opinions even when they don’t see eye to eye. Doing so not only shows honor for one another but teaches children the value of respect and gratitude (Proverbs 31:28).

As important as it is to show respect for each other inside the home, spouses should also act with dignity outside of their homes. They shouldn’t malign or speak harshly about one another in front people who are not even part of your relationship – whether they’re friends or family members.  This includes making jokes at your husband’s expense.

Likewise, we’re not to remain silent when someone speaks against our husbands. Rather, we’re to treasure our spouse by defending them (in a loving manner) so that he receives only praise “at the city gate,” (outside of the home).

5 – Trust in God’s Plan for Your Life

Proverbs 31 ends with a critical point that the woman of noble character is praised first and foremost because of her faithfulness to God (Proverbs 31:30). This foundation of faith gives the godly woman such a deep sense of peace that “she can laugh at the days to come” because she trusts in God’s plan for her.

Prayer to For Strength and Dignity

Heavenly Father, I am you daughter. Remind me, Father to wear my humility proudly and with dignity, like Sarah did. When life gets tough or there is no one left to listen to me, I will always be able hear Your Holy Spirit inside me whispering comforting words of peace, strength, and dignity.  Amen.

She Can Laugh at the Days to Come

The second part of this verse, “she can laugh at the days to come” also comes from knowing and seeking God. Because this virtuous woman seeks God in all her steps, she is not afraid for the future or anxious about anything. As said in Matthew 6:34, she lets “tomorrow worry about itself”.

When I had my first cancer diagnosis in 2017, my first instinct (I’m human, after all) was near panic. What if they didn’t catch it in time? What is the prognosis? What if I need a colostomy bag? When I took a step back and began writing scripture about fear and relying on God and  then praying over that scripture, I began to let go of the fear. I thanked God for this diagnosis that drew me closer to Him and provided the catalyst for me to encourage others to get early screening for colon cancer.

The passage says to simply ‘laugh without fear of the future’. It’s not easy for us as humans and it can be tempting to compare our lives with others, which leads us into worry about what might happen next. But this verse teaches that everything has been taken care of; there is nothing more needed on your end! And we need not concern ourselves too much because all will work out just fine; God has a plan for us – you can laugh at the days to come as God has it all taken care of!

You are fabulous in every single way. Yes, YOU! You were designed, by God, to be exactly as you are.

Nothing can complete you more than God can, so worrying about the future and what’s to come is truly a waste of energy and a joy stealer for today’s blessings. Yes, I realize that this is easier said than done, but there is nothing to worry about- God has already handled it all. 

A Laughing Matter?

The woman described in Proverbs 31 is humble, smart, organized, wise, kind, worthy, strong, and she knows how to laugh. Let’s consider, though, how might she have handled life with her family in a global pandemic?

If this ideal woman were to be alive in today’s age, she would continue to inspire us. She manages so much, both within her household and inside her heart. She is the kind of woman who knows how to actually fold fitted sheets (why is that so dang hard, by the way?) and vehemently fight fear! She even laughs when life is difficult.

Clearly, there is nothing amusing about the pandemic. People are critically ill, other are afraid of becoming so, there are layoffs, lockdowns, mask mandates and even death – none are laughing matters.

Would the Proverbs 31 woman be laughing through these moments, too? Perhaps, but not the type of laughter in response to something funny.

Laughter can be an expression of deep joy, a reaction to receiving some good news, and the effect used to show hope and trust even when life is hard and unrelenting.

That is that laughter that only comes from the joy of the Lord. The kind of laughter that can never be shaken or taken away. 

Sometimes the hardships of this life make it hard to “laugh at the days to come” and yet it is totally possible to have this kind of deep laughter…deep joy that only the Lord can give you.

Examine yourself…

Do you dress yourself according to your flesh or as unto the Spirit?

How can you grow in trusting God with your future and the unknown?

Are you speaking wisdom or foolishness? Are your words kind or harsh?

How are you glorifying God in your femininity? This two-part verse centers on heart issues. Ask God to change you from the inside out, so all may see and glorify Him.

For book resources on the Proverbs 31 wife, consider these recommended books:

Or my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife:  A Verse by Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.

To look at the next verse in Proverbs 31, She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction... see this post.

For the previous post on Proverbs 31, click here.

ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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