Good social protocol says, “Ladies first.” But in the area of spiritual accountability, it was appropriate to begin with a word to the men. That’s how God did it in Genesis.
And now, ladies, it’s our turn. As stated in the previous post for men, accountability is a gift from God and key to spiritual development. It begins with straight talk. We may choose one woman or a small group of godly women we trust with our weaknesses, but who won’t hesitate to lovingly confront us with the truth.
There’s a woman in Proverbs 31 who sets a high, but attainable standard for accountability. She’s the virtuous woman. I like to think of her as Scripture’s answer to Chaka Khan’s popular secular anthem, “I’m Every Woman.”
While her identity remains anonymous, verses 10-31 reveal much about the virtuous woman’s life and character. Here are three noteworthy aspects that serve as accountability points for women.
Like many of us, the virtuous woman is multi-faceted. She’s a wife, mother, and a worker. In addition to her household responsibilities, she finds time to run a home-based business (v. 24), invest wisely (v. 16), and do outreach ministry (v. 20). This woman manages her time, talent, and treasure well, to say the least.
With so many things to do and so many roles to play, we can find ourselves stretched and stressed. The virtuous woman makes the most of her days (v. 15, 18), realizing good health is key to being her best (v. 17). She also plans in advance (v. 21) to utilize her resources and doesn’t waste time (v. 27b).
How are you doing with your time, talent, and treasure, including your health? If you have sisters in the faith who excel in managing these valuable resources, they may be candidates for your accountability circle.
While maintaining balance in her resources, the virtuous woman also balances her relationships. Verses 11-12 reveal the bond with her husband. He can trust her with money and motives—“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Even though she works and does ministry, her household comes first (v. 15, 21, 27) because she understands her accountability to God for their well-being.
Notice verse 23: “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” When she’s in the marketplace, she’s identified as a married woman with integrity. With opportunities, perhaps, to be flirtatious, she edifies her husband through her godly walk (v. 25). Remember, she is virtuous—excellent, noble, good, depending on your Bible translation—and she is trustworthy.
Kindness and wisdom rule in her conversations, instead of harsh tones and gossip (v. 26). Maybe that’s why the ones closest to her are also her biggest cheerleaders (v. 28-29). Her husband and children have her back because she’s got theirs. If your loved ones issued a report card on how you relate to them and others, would you be on the honor roll or academic probation?
Finally and most importantly, the virtuous woman understands the value of her relationship with the Lord. To be excellent with our resources and in our relationships, we must spend time with God—in His Word and in prayer. Verse 30 declares, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” The woman who puts Him first is to be commended (v. 31). Serving the Lord is no substitute for sitting still before Him (Remember Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42?).
Women’s prayer circles and Bible study groups are great, but they’re not the same as being alone with God. As a leader of such a group, I can tell you it’s sort of like a potluck dinner. You can have great side dishes, but it’s not the same without the main course! Your one-on-one time with the Lord should be the main course that makes everything else you add to your plate better.
Whether you find them in prayer or Bible study groups, at church or in your family, ask God to help you form an accountability circle of women after His heart. Who knows? Someone may ask you to be her accountability partner. Together, ladies, we can be virtuous and victorious for God’s glory.
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