Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: In Proverbs 31, we read about a woman who gives and gives and gives. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This woman is a lover. She’s a giver. She’s a servant. That’s her calling in life. You say, “I don’t think I want that calling.” Listen: You’re never more like Jesus than when you’re serving.

Leslie: It’s Tuesday March 13th, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Every woman has something to gain from studying Proverbs 31. I’ve learned so much during Nancy’s teaching through this chapter. The series is called The Counter-Cultural Woman, and if you’ve missed any of the programs so far, I hope you’ll download the podcasts or listen online. To do that, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Let’s hear today’s teaching segment from Proverbs 31.

Nancy: We’ve been camping out in Proverbs 31, and particularly on verse 27, where we’re told that the virtuous woman is a woman who watches over the ways of her household. We’ve talked about watching, in practical ways, to make sure that the needs of our families are met. But there’s another very important way that you watch over the ways of your household—that’s in prayer.

In the New Testament, we often find watching and praying linked together. Jesus said, “Watch and pray, so that you don’t fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38). It’s a protection for you to watch and pray over the ways of your household, but it’s also a wonderful means that you provide a protection for your husband.

Your husbands, if they are in almost any work environment that you can think of, are being faced with temptations and with pressures. The enemy, Satan himself, is working to pull them down, especially if your husband is a believer and wanting to walk with God. There are lots and lots and lots of opportunities for him to fail spiritually, morally, and in other ways.

What a blessing it is for a man to know that back home there’s a wife who’s watching and praying on his behalf, and praying that as he goes out into that world, God will protect him and God will keep his heart pure.

Ladies, if you’re not going to pray that for your husband, who do you think is going to pray that for him? Who’s going to watch and pray for his soul? You can protect him in that way, and you protect your children as you watch and pray. Ask the Lord to show you things that you need to be alert to, in their lives.

One woman said to me after the last session, “My husband and I prayed from the time our children were little that if there was something that was going on in their lives that we needed to know about that it would get exposed and that we would see it.” She said, “My son came to me once and said, ‘How do you always find out?’” She said, “We’ve been praying that we would find out.” That’s a woman who’s watching and praying over the ways of her household.

The contrast here, in verse 27, is that she can do this because she’s not idle. She does not eat the bread of idleness. A lazy woman does not have time to manage well the affairs of her household.

I’ve been in the book of Proverbs over the last several weeks in my own personal quiet time, and one of the things that has really been speaking to me is the repeated references to laziness and diligence. I found myself really . . . When those verses start popping out at you, you need to say, “Lord, what are you trying to say to me?”

It’s been a convicting thing. It’s almost hard for me to admit, but I’m seeing ways that I don’t use my time wisely, for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. I’m going to be more vulnerable, and the people that God has sent me to serve and minister to are going to be more vulnerable—if I’m eating the fruit of idleness.

As you think about idleness, what are some of the things that a wife, a mom, or a keeper at home—in the context of the home—what are some of the things that can be time-wasters? What can steal our time and keep us from using our time effectively at managing our homes? What comes to mind when I talk about things that can be “the bread of idleness” for us?

Guest 1: One of the chief things I think of today is being a “news hound” on television.

Guest 2: Well, the computer! There is all kinds of wonderful things that you can learn on the computer. Then there is also cute little stories that you want to share with all your friends.

Guest 3: One of the things that I think about is simply getting up in the morning, because if we lay in bed, there are things that aren’t getting done.

Guest 4: I was going to share, one of the things that steals my time is that nifty little snooze button!

Guest 5: Things in your house you should throw away. Mom and I kind of have the same problem of picking up things and sticking them someplace. I have a friend that says, “Oh, your stuff will be always safe until Jesus comes.”

Guest 6: I find a time-saver is when I make a list and prioritize things that need to be done. I usually do that after I have my morning devotion time and prayer time, and I ask God to show me what to do and how to prioritize. I ask Him what the most important things should be—the things that I don’t always do, but I do desire to. I can certainly see a difference when I take time and do that and then I check off things I don’t get to, and they go at the top of the list the next day.

Nancy: So, a big time-waster can be not taking the time to ask the Lord to help us prioritize our day. If you don’t get into the presence of the Lord to start your day, you will find out that you are wasting time. My dad used to love that verse in Proverbs that says, “Reverence for God adds hours to each day” (Proverbs 10:27), and God really does make those hours more fruitful and more productive, if we’re seeking Him as to how we should be using them.

Someone else—other time-wasters, things that really keep us idle rather than helping us to manage our households as we should?

Guest 7: The availability of shopping all day long, seven days a week.

Nancy: Okay. Nothing is sinful inherently about shopping or several of these other things that we’ve mentioned, but they can become a vehicle for idleness.

Someone else—another time-waster?

Guest 8: I’ve found that bitterness and anger produced a great deal of idleness in my life because I wanted to sleep or watch television, not think—so that I didn’t have to think.

Nancy: Wow. So matters of the heart really matter, don’t they? Someone else—something that robs us from the time we need to manage our households?

Tamara: I have found that magazines are a big time waster. You can sit down and thing, “Oh, I’m just going to look for five minutes,” and half an hour easily flies by, or even an hour.

Nancy: Oh Tamara, I wish you hadn’t said that! Catalogs—that’s one that used to do it for me. It doesn’t as much any more, because I’m living on the road and they don’t send my catalogs to me. Those things that may be just an instant diversion for a few minutes can end up eating lots of time and make us idle. Anything else?

Guest 10: I find that the telephone is a real problem. That’s why we got caller ID so that I could check and see. If was going to be a quick call, I’d answer it, but if not, than they leave a message and I’ll call them back later.

I find that when I answer a phone call in the middle of school or something with my children, I lose them, and then everything goes squirrelly after that. It’s just a time-waster and a very frustrating time.

Amanda: For me personally, I’m a perfectionist, and I find that in my perfectionism, I think, instead of jumping into something and getting it done, that I can’t do it right. It’s not going to be perfect, so therefore, why even try. I think that leads to a lot of idleness and being undisciplined for me, instead of just asking God to help and give me the strength to do it and get it done.

Nancy: A cousin to that, Amanda, is what I do a lot—that is to sit and think about how hard this job is and how long it’s going to take me to do it. In all the time I spent worrying and fretting about it, I probably could have just gotten it done. Another time-waster?

Guest 12: My husband used to say to the children (and to his wife also), “Plan your work, and work your plan.” That really is helpful because I’m an avid list-maker, but I don’t always work my plan. It makes a difference.

Nancy: Now, if we think about time-wasters and not being idle, maybe that makes you feel a little uptight—just thinking about it. Life is going to be just work, work, work, and work. There’s just no fun and no joy. Well, let’s go back to define joy.

Joy is knowing and doing the will of God for my life for this season of my life. That’s joy—doing it with Christ, doing it in the fullness and the power of His Spirit.

So does that mean you never take moments to just sit down, to just relax, to just play with your children? Absolutely, you do! But you make sure that your schedule and your moments are under the control and the direction of God’s Holy Spirit. There’s so much freedom in being set free from idleness because then we’re free to do what it is that God has called us to do.

When I’m being idle and I’m being slothful or that word I don’t like—lazy—I’m going to live in frustration because I’m not going to be getting done the things that I know I need to be doing. The things that are important on my priority list and my to-do list, and I’m going to live with that overwhelming, constant crushing load that I can’t do what I’m supposed to do.

Sometimes it’s because there are some things on my to-do list that shouldn’t be on my to-do list. They should be on somebody else’s to-do list. They’re not what God has for me for this season of life, but sometimes, the reason I’m not able to get to the things on that list—and maybe the reason you’re not able to get to the things on your list—is because we’re letting some of these lesser things steal time that rightly belongs to the Lord and to our families.

If that’s where God finds you, again, as I’ve said throughout this series, don’t let that put you on a guilt trip. If you’re guilty, repent. Confess it to the Lord. Agree with God about it. Get His forgiveness, which happens by virtue—not of your perfectionism, but Christ’s perfection—His death on the cross for your sin. Receive His forgiveness, and then ask Him for the power of His Holy Spirit to enable you to walk in accordance with His Word.

We’re not talking about getting overwhelmed and frustrated by all the things we can’t measure up to. We’re talking about finding the power of the Holy Spirit to live in the way that God wants us to live. For those of us who are women, that means looking well—watching well over the ways of our household, and not eating the bread of idleness.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss, identifying some of the common time-wasters that can plague a day. She’ll be right back with the second half of today’s teaching.

Nancy just explained how important prayer is. Your prayers will have a huge impact on your husband and children. Your prayers could have tremendous impact on the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, as well. In fact, a group of listeners pray regularly for Revive Our Hearts, and we couldn’t do what we do without those prayers. These listeners believe strongly in our mission of helping women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ and have joined our ministry partner team.

If you have a burden to connect women to God’s Word, would you consider joining this team? You need to do three things: pray for us, give monthly, and tell your friends about the ministry. When you join the ministry partner team, every month you’ll receive a unique CD or other resource from Nancy. You’ll also receive some other benefits such as a copy of Nancy’s book, Choosing Forgiveness and registration to a Revive Our Hearts conference.

The reason we want you to receive these things is to keep you in touch with what’s going on at Revive Our Hearts. That way, you can pray more effectively. You can also know how your financial gifts are being used, and you’ll know how to share the ministry with other people. Sign up for the ministry partner team, by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy’s been teaching through Proverbs 31 for quite a while, and it’s time to step back and review some of the important things we’ve learned. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Some of you have been taking our challenge to read Proverbs 31 every day for 31 days. I hope that’s been a blessing to you. I hope that as you’re jotting down things, the Lord is showing you, that He is changing your life in these areas and giving you a heart and hunger and a longing to be this kind of woman.

But in the big picture—we’ve looked a lot at details—what we see is a woman who has a heart for her home. The reason she has a heart for her home is because she has a heart for the Lord. She is fulfilling God’s heart for her life, by focusing her energies and her efforts in the context of her home.

It’s easy to read this passage and think, “Being like that woman is of absolutely no interest to me because she’s so domestic. She has all these skills and abilities: She can sow; she can bake; she makes things from scratch!” We see all the things this woman can do, and we think that’s the virtuous woman. That’s not what makes that woman virtuous. It’s not her activities. It’s not her abilities. It’s not her visible accomplishments.

First and foremost, it’s her heart, and it’s the fact that her heart is centered in her home. Why am I making such a point of that? The reason is that for the last 50 years, the world has told us in loud, relentless terms that what makes a woman valuable—what makes her life purposeful, is doing something outside of her home, such as having a career—being successful outside of her home.

I realize there are seasons of life and there are single moms here, there are single women, and the degree to which our home is the priority in our life will of course be determined by what season of life we’re in. But we have so many women in this room and women listening to this program who are in the child-bearing, child-rearing season of life, with their hearts somewhere other than their home.

See? The world applauds that! But if you want to be the kind of woman God applauds, and you want to be the kind of woman who fulfills what God made you to be and to do, then you’ve got to have a heart for your home.

That means, if you are in the season of life where you are a wife, where you are a mother—and even those of you who are younger and not at that season of life yet or you’re single and perhaps in the future will have a husband and children—you’ve got to be preparing your heart for that now.

Moms, we need to be challenging our younger women this way—challenging our daughters that yes, you want to develop all the skills, all the abilities, all the thinking you can, so that you can use those abilities and those gifts in the context of your home.

That doesn’t mean you will never do anything outside of your home. There will be seasons of life when you can be more free to do more outside of your home, but you don’t want to lose sight of the primary calling and priority, which is to be a lover, a giver, a servant to your family.

You say, “Who wants that?” Well, come back to the next session, because we’re going to talk about the reward. If we really study what that reward is, you’ll say, “I want that.” That’s definitely what I want.

But I want to call us back to God’s priorities and say (with all the loud voices today telling us that what you do in your home is not important), we need some voices to the contrary. What you are doing in the context of your home by being a support and a helper to your husband and managing the affairs of your household, that this is a high and holy calling.

You’ll notice that this woman is the virtuous woman. There’s very little listed in this passage that is the kind of thing women would perhaps put on a list, if we were saying “Today, what is a spiritual woman?”

We think of a spiritual woman—if we were just to make a list—as a woman who goes to Bible studies, teaches a Sunday school class, or is involved in counseling. We say, “That’s a spiritual woman!” She reads her Bible a lot, she memorizes Scripture, and she does all these things that we think of as “spiritual.”

But, can I say that those things aren’t what make you inherently a spiritual woman? This woman in Proverbs 31 is a spiritual woman, and how do you know? It’s because of all the ways she serves her family.

That’s how she lives out her heart for the Lord. There’s nothing in this chapter about a woman going to Bible studies. Now, I hope if you have the opportunity to be involved in a Bible study, that you are. But I’ll tell you that you can sit in Bible studies all week long and fail to fulfill God’s calling in your life.

If getting to know the Bible and having all kinds of fellowship and all kinds of meetings doesn’t make you a better wife and mother and homemaker—then what’s the point? That’s not spiritual. In fact, invariably, that will lead to pride. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1).

This woman is a lover. She’s a giver. She’s a servant. That’s her calling in life. You say, “I don’t think I want that calling.” Listen: You’re never more like Jesus than when you’re serving. You’re never more like Jesus than when you take that towel and that basin of water and wash the feet of the disciples—that’s spirituality! That’s Christianity at work: women being compassionate, givers, servers, lovers, and caretakers.

When you’re caring for those elderly parents, when you’re caring for those little children and every stage in between, that’s being spiritual. Now, you can do it in a way that isn’t for the Lord, and you can do it without a heart to do it.

God does not want you to go through the motions of caring for your family and your home. You can have a spic-and-span, perfectly decorated home and not be a spiritual woman. But when you take the love of Christ and a servant’s heart after Christ, and you apply it in the context of your home—that’s a beautiful woman! That’s a godly woman.

What you’re doing in that home may not seem very important. It may not seem very meaningful. It may not seem very fulfilling. Where did we get that word? Fulfilling— everything today has to be fulfilling. That is so selfish!

The question is: Are you fulfilling God’s purpose and God’s plan for your life? Not: Are you fulfilling what you want to do with your life? If you want ultimate joy and ultimate happiness, then set yourself to do the will of God, and you will find there is, long-term, nothing more fulfilling.

Remember that as you serve in the context of your home, that is your supreme service to God. When you keep that home clean, when you are mending those clothes, when you are packing those lunches for your kids’ school and you’re picking up after family, and when you’re training your children and you’re watching over the ways of your household, you’re not just serving your husband and your children—you’re serving God.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn’t finished. She’ll be right back with the story of one woman who decided to make her home a higher priority. During Nancy’s current series, I’ve been struck by how refreshingly different Proverbs 31 is from worldly thinking about womanhood. Maybe that’s why this series is called The Counter-Cultural Woman.

If you find yourself thinking about all the women who could benefit from this material, I have good news! You can order a booklet by Nancy, in sets of 10 to pass out to women you know. The booklet is called A Biblical Portrait of Womanhood.

When you read it, you’ll be introduced to important questions like, “Why was I created as a woman,” and “What makes a beautiful woman?” Then you’ll read Scripture that speaks to each question.

Find out for yourself what the Bible says about womanhood. Nancy’s organized it in an easy to understand way. Order A Biblical Portrait of Womanhood in packs of 10 for you and your friends when you call 1-800-569-5959, or you can order online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

While you’re there, you’ll find other creative ways to share this message, such as sending E-Cards, putting a banner on your blog, or emailing a Revive Our Hearts transcript. Again, the address is www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow, we’re going to hear some touching stories of Proverbs 31 women and the children who are rising up to call them blessed. Now, let’s join Nancy with a final story of someone who is learning to become a Proverbs 31 woman.

Nancy: One listener from Georgia wrote and said, “Revive Our Hearts is helping me to see the importance of being a stay-at-home mom. I find that it’s not a thankless task after all. I have five children, and I’ve been home all of their lives, but I’ve never liked it. I have fought God all the while. Now, I am submitting.”

Here is a woman who is going to find joy in doing the will of God because it’s going to come from a submissive heart.

Let me just close by reading this little piece of verse, called A Little Place.

Where should I work today, dear Lord, and my love flowed warm and free.
He answered and said, “See that little place? Tend that place for me.”
I answered and I said, “Oh no, not there! No one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done. Not that place for me.”
His voice, when He spoke, was soft and kind. He answered me tenderly,
“Little one, search thy heart of thine. Are you working for them or me?
Nazareth was a little place and so was Galilee.”

Aren’t we glad that the King of the universe, the Creator of the world, left Heaven and said, “I’ll step into that little place. I’ll serve. I’ll lay down My life, so they can have life.”

When you serve in your home, you’re following in the steps of the Savior, and there’s no bigger, grander place you could be!

 Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

 

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