As I researched and prayed about this post, I realized that choosing just 3 characteristics of a godly woman would be difficult. I could make a list of 7 or 10 or 18 or 24. I even saw one post that was titled 31 characteristics. I didn’t read it.
The thing is, being faced with many items you think you should be doing can be scary. If you don’t measure up, where do you start? So, while I could have added more, I intentionally kept the number to 3. Three seems like a manageable number, don’t you think?
As you read through, contemplate, and pray about these 3 characteristics, consider what areas of growth God might want you to concentrate on at this season of your life. Every believer walks her (or his) own path to Christlikeness. Where would God have you go right now?
The characteristics of a godly woman we’ll be looking at are:
- She is wise
- She is loving
- She is self-controlled
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A Godly Woman is Wise
As we begin looking at what the Bible says, it is important to remember the culture in which it was written. Much of what was written about women was written in the context of marriage, raising children, and managing a home.
Perhaps you are not married, do not have children, or work fulltime outside the home. The principles of these verses – even though written about women in different circumstances – still apply to you in the 21st century.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” According to this verse, the wise woman actively works on tasks that build up the members of her household. She also works at improving her home or physical environment whether it is a tent, an apartment, or a mansion.
Proverbs 31 also gives us instruction on being wise. We will be returning to Proverbs 31 again as we consider these 3 characteristics of a godly woman. For now, though, let’s ponder the following verses:
- She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens. (v. 15)
- She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard. (verse 16)
- She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (verse 21)
- She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. (verse 22)
- She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness in on her tongue. (verse 26)
- Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. (verse 30)
How does the godly woman show wisdom according to these verses? She cares for the members of her household (v. 15, 21), she treats her employees well (v. 15), she plans for the future (v. 16, 21), she manages her money wisely (v. 16), she dresses appropriately (v.22), and she teaches others what she has learned from the Lord (v. 26). That’s a lot!
But the kicker is verse 30 – she fears the Lord. That is why she is wise. Her wisdom doesn’t come from getting an education, reading a bunch of books, or even learning from her mistakes. Those may help. But the source of her wisdom – and yours – is the fear of the Lord (see also Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33).
For further study on this topic, I highly recommend the following: anything by Lysa TerKeust, anything by Kay Arthur, and anything by Elizabeth George. I especially love these three authors for pointing me towards godliness.
A New Testament example of a wise and godly woman is found in Titus 2:3, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good.” These older women were reverent (respectful, living righteously) and used their words for teaching not gossiping.
After considering all these verses, how should your life look if you are living wisely? What principles apply to your own life? Here are some ideas to get you started:
“Because I want to be a godly woman, I will live wisely by…”
- Meeting with the Lord in the Word and prayer daily
- Encouraging my husband and children
- Setting appropriate rules and boundaries for my children
- Maintaining a standard of cleanliness in our home that makes our home inviting but does not leave me unable to meet the needs of others
- Decorating our home in a welcoming manner
- Providing healthy meals for my family, even if it means learning something new, like cooking healthy and child-friendly meals
- Making certain that everyone in the family always has clean clothes to wear – which could mean delegating some or all laundry tasks to others
- Having family meetings that include discussions of finances
- Limiting screen time and maximizing outdoor time for myself and my family
- Planning for the future after praying for God’s guidance
- Managing my/our finances wisely
- Learning to say no to good things so I can say yes to better things
Choose one a start today!
A Godly Woman is Loving
We know that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and that we are to “love one another” (John 13:34). Furthermore, we know that love is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8), and that it is only because of the love of God that anyone can be saved (John 3:16).
And that is just for starters. Doing a word study on “love” would take some time! Just to give you an idea of how important love is to God and how essential love is in His message to the world consider these numbers:
- In the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, the word love occurs 442 times
- In the New American Standard Bible (NASB) – the one I use most often – love occurs 484 times
- In The Message (MSG) paraphrase, love occurs 585 times
- In the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, love occurs 686 times!
(all numbers from biblegateway.com)
Obviously, the topic of love is important to God and should be to His children. To say that one of the 3 characteristics of a godly woman is to be loving should come as no shock. However, even though we could literally list hundreds of verses on love, let’s focus on just a few.
- She does [her husband] good and not evil all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:12)
- So that [the older women] may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children. (Titus 2:4)
- Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
From just these few verses, we know that a godly woman loves her husband and children, does good to and for her husband, and exhibits patience, kindness, humility, righteousness, faith, hope, endurance, and commitment. Whew! That’s quite a list.
Look for a moment at the verbs in these verses and the summary paragraph just above. The words used include many active words. The godly woman does this or that. Love isn’t just – or even mostly – a feeling.
Love is action. Love does. What does that look like in your life? It will be different for everyone, but here are some ideas:
- Saying “I love you” frequently to your husband, children, family members, and close friends.
- Doing things to make those people happy – such as keeping the kitchen clean, replacing worn-out socks without being asked, or planning fun activities for the whole family.
- Speaking lovingly and kindly about the people you love even when they are not around.
- Raising your children to know and love the Lord.
- Praying for the people you love.
- Practicing forgiveness.
- Speaking words of encouragement daily.
- Giving kisses and hugs when and where appropriate. And it’s always appropriate for your husband and children!
- Remembering and celebrating important milestones. Birthdays and anniversaries, but also the anniversary of when your husband opened his own business, the day you bought your first home, or the date of your child’s ‘cancer-free’ check-up.
However you live out love in your life and family, make sure your actions are speaking love to them. We all live and show love differently. You need to know the language of love that your loved ones speak. For this, I highly recommend The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.
A Godly Woman is Self-Controlled
Self-control, like love, is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). And like all fruit of the Spirit, it comes from abiding in the Vine (John 15:4-5). Biblical self-control is not something you can work into your life by willpower and determination. Biblical self-control comes from living in Christ and being filled with the Spirit.
I share this truth at the beginning because I think, if you’re like me and millions of other women, you might be thinking, “I have no self-control – never have, never will.” Perhaps you see this in your weight, your exercise or eating habits, your inability to keep the house clean, your inability to juggle husband, kids, job, and all-the-things.
Personally, self-control is a big struggle for me. But I am learning that it doesn’t need to be as I lean on Jesus daily. So, be encouraged! If you are in Christ, self-control is your birthright.
Here are just a few verses that apply:
- Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine… so that they may encourage the young women…to be sensible, pure, workers at home… Titus 2:3-4
- She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:17
- She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27
Notice the godly woman’s behavior. She doesn’t gossip. She doesn’t drink much. She is an encourager. She is sensible. She works hard. She strives to live a healthy life. She is not idle (which is not the same as never taking a break or resting!). She cares for others.
One last verse to consider:
- It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Proverbs 21:9 (see also Proverbs 21:19; 27:15; 25:24)
A contentious woman is the opposite of a godly woman – and nobody wants to be around her! “Contentious” is not a common word, but it’s meaning is easy to see around us. It means quarrelsome, nagging, complaining, cranky, argumentative, and quick-tempered.
This woman – this contentious woman that everyone avoids – is not a godly woman. She is not self-controlled. Everything is all about her. If you see yourself in these words, run to Jesus. He can and will cleanse you and help you change!
How will you live out a godly, self-controlled life?
- Putting the phone down when your family is around?
- No social media for one day a week?
- Avoiding sugary foods and drinks?
- Snacking on fruits and veggies instead of cupcakes and donuts?
- Joining a gym and enlisting a gym buddy?
- Getting up 30 minutes earlier to meet with God before the hustle of the day begins?
- Vowing to spend the last 30 minutes of the day reading?
- Always tucking your kids in and praying with them instead of watching a mindless TV show you won’t even remember a year from now?
What habits do you need to ditch so become a more godly, self-controlled woman?
These are only 3 characteristics of a godly woman. You have learned what the Word says about these 3 characteristics and considered how that might apply to your life. Now you must decide what you are going to do with this knowledge.
Will you close your laptop, go back to the laundry or spreadsheet or grading you were doing, and do nothing? Or will you take a moment to ask God to help you to live out these 3 characteristics? To be wise. To be loving. To be self-controlled.
Will you pray daily for one of these areas (at least) to become more mature and evident in your life? Or will you go back to life as normal, meeting a minimum threshold of ‘godliness’ – but not giving the Spirit full control?
The choice is yours. What will you do with the knowledge you’ve gained?