The Virtuous Woman and Growth

Blog #37 August 8, 2022
As a wife/mother, the virtuous woman labors for her family in ways that go far beyond feeding and clothing them. She must also prepare them for the challenges of life they will face by fortifying the spirit within them. To do this she must choose for herself an approach to life and labor that will allow her efforts to bear fruit in both the temporal and the spiritual. Mirroring that exact need the church/woman we seek knows that her people need more than just the necessities of survival. She knows they must grow, and prepares herself to nurture that growth by opening the hearts of her children to the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ our savior, the source of all virtue.

2 Nephi 11:48 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

In God's wisdom the woman/church knows that mandating righteousness for Her children will stifle their ability to grow. Those She does not alienate completely by playing the harsh taskmaster will be unwilling to make a mistake, fearful of facing Her judgment. In their fear they deny themselves the ability to try, fail, repent, ponder, and make a wiser choice. Her methodology must be one that causes the ways of God to become the desires of her children's heart creating within them a confidence in their own ability to hear the Spirit within that guides them. In short, her labor is to serve their needs, lead them to righteousness, and open their hearts to the glory that is the Father they seek. To do this, our woman/church must grow. My hope is that today's offering will open us to an understanding of that growth. 

Proverbs 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

Gird, Girded, or Girdeth  
(According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance)
H2296 chagar {khaw-gar'} a primitive root; to gird on (as a belt, armor, etc.)

(According to Merriam Webster dictionary) 
1: to prepare (oneself) for action
2a: to encircle or bind with a flexible band (such as a belt)
2b: to make (something, such as clothing or a sword ) fast or secure (as with a cord or belt)gird a sword by a belt
3: provide, equip especially or for a particular task: to invest with the sword of knighthood

Gird one's loins: to prepare for action by gathering one's resources

We can see that the act of girding one's loins is an act of preparation for a labor, a task, or a battle. The acceptable mind picture for me is strapping on a tool belt. The tools loaded into that belt are determined by the work I am doing. The tool belt of a policeman is vastly different than that of an electrician because they both serve different purposes. In effect the girding of a person displays for all to see the purpose they serve. 

Psalms 18:31-32 
18:31 For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God,
18:32 Our God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect?

The woman/church we seek is one that is wise enough to seek her strength in God, courageous enough to battle against the forces of evil for the sanctity of her family, and willing to lead by serving and serve by leading. God will fulfill the desires of her heart, and supply her with all she needs to accomplish her purpose.

Ephesians 6:13-18 
6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

In preparation for the labor she has chosen, we see that for the woman/church the girdle of truth she dons is just the first most basic piece of apparel required. Notice also the each subsequent layer is dependent on the presence of the one before. 

Breastplate of righteousness: Righteousness will fail if is not built on a foundation of truth. 
Shoes the Gospel of peace: Like the woman of John's revelation, our woman/church stands on the Gospel of peace that is the ministry and sacrifice of Christ based on the truth of God, which builds righteousness within the heart. 
Shield of faith: Faith is weak and affords no protection if the arm that holds it lacks the evidence of God in their lives and the assurance of a Gospel filled righteous heart, built on the truth of God. 
Helmet of salvation: Within this constructed faith we have the hope of salvation. This assurance allows the mind to be free of doubt and confident of the word of God and its absolute ability to allow our efforts to be successful. 
Sword: This is the word of God. But, remember that the word of God is more than just scripture. It is testimony. It is revelation. It is lifestyle. It is the intent within our hearts. In essence the word of God is the presence of God within our testimony to the world. If I need to prove that statement, I would have each of you consider which scriptures the Apostles Peter, Thomas, or Andrew carried. They carried with them the testimony within their heart of a Gospel, a Kingdom, and a risen Savior.  
Prayer is the tie that binds all this together. 
In fellowship with the Lord the woman/church we seek gains a most important ability, patience. In patience she can correct without condemnation, love and still require a steadfast diligence of those she mentors. Patience allows both God's mercy and His justice to be the center of all she does and gives her that precious ability to lead by serving and serve by leading. 

Isaiah 11:1-4
11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots;
11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears;
11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

Described above is the light of God brought to this world by Christ our Lord. The woman/church we seek realizes above all that she is not the light. She is a vessel that carries the light. She must lead those who seek the light, serve their needs that they might choose the light, and accept within their own hearts the guidance of the Spirit of God that they might grow in both light and truth. She must lead by serving and serve by leading.

Proverbs 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by night.

The woman/church we seek must realize that her labor is challenged by the darkness of evil that possesses the world around her and her family. Her faith in her mission must be stronger than the doubt, which surrounds them. She must understand the fullness of all God seeks, open her heart and her life completely to the leadings of God's Spirit, and allow God's ways to become her ways, too. In this belief she will be an example to all of the nurturing ability of faith and the power it has to be a testimony of God's authority in the world of man. This faith perfects her ability to lead by serving and serve by leading.

Matthew 13:30-31 
13:30 And another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;
13:31 Which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Proverbs 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
The Spindle and the Distaff are tools used for gathering and twisting raw plant and animal fiber into thread. The fibers are placed in a linear fashion on the head of the distaff. With one hand, the fibers are separated from the cluster, give a slight twist, and then fed as a strand to the spindle as it spins. With a little practice this operation simple and almost automatic. Notice I said almost automatic. Attention must be paid to the gathering on top that the feed is kept continuous, and the spindle must be kept constantly spinning that the thread becomes organized in a manner that gives the thread both continuity of size and strength. Compare that to the labor of the Church. Like taking strands of wool and flax and spinning thread worthy of being woven into cloth, our woman/church must take the raw material of a self-centered ego and create from it a person willing to be woven into the fabric of the Church, which is faith in God's truth and the labor for God's purpose. 

In the same manor as the fibers on the distaff, our woman/church must gather together all who seek and organize them into a clear and consistent oneness of understanding. This process must be the same for all. From the first step to the last it must create a unity of both need and purpose. The beginning of our covenant labor is baptism, and it is the same for all. Christ in His perfection understood the necessity of this unified first step and its importance in creating oneness. Open your heart to the oneness offered.

2 Nephi 13:8-12 
13:8 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfill all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy?
13:9 But notwithstanding he being holy, he sheweth unto the children of men, that according to the flesh, he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments;
13:10 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water, the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
13:11 And again: It sheweth unto the children of men the straightness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
13:12 And he said unto the children of men, Follow thou me.

In this organized manner the strands of virtue drawn out of victims rescued from the human condition travel through the hands of this woman/church ever growing in understanding and fellowship. The unity of their beginnings becomes oneness in both the temporal and the spiritual. The church/woman we seek is both patient in her approach and diligent in her performance of the labor she brings to the people in her charge. It is her mission to create a people woven in the stability of common understandings, unified in the strength of common consent, and founded on the assurance of all things common. God seeks to call His people Zion. 

Genesis 7:23 And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them.

Proverbs 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy	

The growth of this woman/church in the ways of ministry becomes the growth of the people in the Spirit of God. All under her willing tutelage face the concept that their lives now extend beyond the temporal person they were. In this new and different concept they discover that the familiar hardships of the human condition have also been redefined. They also extend beyond the temporal. So too must our understanding of who is needy and why they need. The tired man can sleep and be well, but what of a man who is weary in sin? The poor man can be given coins from our pocket, but what of a rich man who is poor in spirit? The needs of the body speak to us with clarity, but the needs of the heart are concealed by pride and ignorance. When someone lacks an arm, we can be strong for them. What if one lacks compassion, are we even aware? But take heart; the Holy Spirit of God opens the eyes of all who wish to see.   

Luke 12:2-3 
12:2 For there is nothing covered which shall not be revealed; neither hid which shall not be known.
12:3 Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness, shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops.

The woman/church we seek understands the fullness of the Gospel, for it is the solid foundation on which she stands. She knows that the world suffers in darkness and will forever stumble and fall unless she brings them a people filled with answers, solutions, and the compassion to share them. We must not be a people isolated and hidden away. The Church must a people, which are the hand of God in the world of man. They reach out not to grab and constrain, but to clasp on to the hand of need that reaches out to them offering compassion, assurance, and comfort. They seek as a people to serve, to lead, to be redeemed, and to share that redemption with the world. The oneness we share is our strength. Our growth in the Spirit of God together keeps us strong.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

The minute growth ceases, death begins. This is as true for one alone as it is for many gathered. Even God's Church must grow in the ways of God, or it will surely die.


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