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  • Melanie Morris

Value the Valuable, Not the Vain (Proverbs 31:30)

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. —Proverbs 31:30

Proverbs 31 is about a noble wife, a woman who is defined by her godly character. Her hard work, her wisdom, and her character are exceptional. These verses are often used to direct Christian men about who to date and potentially marry. “Find a Proverbs 31 wife” is a common refrain.

As women, we often read these verses as aspirational—they guide our choices and picture a woman we want to emulate. When you get to verse 30, do you think about how our culture worships beauty? Do you think about charm? Do you think about yourself? Is this a verse that brings you comfort: it doesn’t matter how I look, I fear the Lord?

These reflections aren’t wrong, but I think they’re incomplete. Verse 30 isn't just about looking for a wife or being an admirable woman, it’s about how we can be easily deceived by charm and blinded by beauty.

We’re distracted by beauty, aren’t we? When a beautiful woman enters the room, we want to know her. Being around her is great. Maybe we feel prettier just being near her; maybe she'll give us make-up tips. (I’m always in need of make-up help!)

There is nothing inherently wrong with this; being beautiful isn’t a sin. Chatting about fashion tips isn’t wrong. But when we value these things such that they are what we prize in someone else, or what we prize in ourselves, it's wrong. This doesn't mean you should avoid beautiful people or feel ashamed if you are beautiful, but that beauty shouldn't be valued most of all. When we discount people who are unfashionable or unattractive, we are wrong. We are vain.

Charming people are so fun to be around. They make witty jokes, they have the best compliments, they are polite and well-mannered and wonderful conversationalists. Enjoy your charming friends. Be charming yourself. But don’t be deceived by it. Don’t excuse sin from someone who is charming. Be wise. Don’t use your own charm to deceive someone, to manipulate them to your desires. Don’t value your charming friends over the awkward person, the one who never quite fits in. Believing that charming people are better, more valuable than others—that is a lie.

Are the women in your life women who encourage you to live more for Jesus? What about you, are you someone whose defining trait is that you fear the Lord? Do you spend all of your time chatting about wellness tips, fashion, and the best workout? Do you avoid awkward people?

May the thing that you value most about others, and yourself, be Jesus. May you point everyone around you to the Creator of the universe. May your love for His people, regardless of their beauty or charm, be what defines you. May your fear of Him be on display, the praiseworthy result of His work in your life.


For Reflection

  1. What do you value most in yourself, in other people? Do you value beauty and charm too much? Do you undervalue godliness?

  2. Have you ever been deceived by charm or a charming person? Have you ever manipulated someone with charm?

  3. Is there someone you’ve discounted because they are awkward or unattractive? What can you do to value that person this week?

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