Saturday In The Proverbs—This Is What Virtue Looks Like (Proverbs 31)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

Do not give your strength to women … Who can find a virtuous wife…? (Proverbs 31:3, 10).

This proverb shows virtue on display in both a man and a woman. A man or woman of virtue…

… is a loyal spouse (vv. 3, 10, 12, 23, 28, 30)

… uses their strength appropriately (vv. 3, 17)

… avoids controlling substances (v. 4)

… upholds justice (vv. 5, 26)

… takes care of others (vv. 8, 9, 15, 20-21)

… is trustworthy (v. 11)

… has a good work ethic (vv. 13-15, 18-19, 24, 27, 31)

… exercises good stewardship (vv. 16, 18, 25)

… renews themselves (v. 22)

… handles praise well (vv. 28-30)

How beautiful is a man or woman living out God’s virtue! 

10 Quotes On Humility From “Humility”

HumilityI thoroughly enjoyed Dr. David Bobb’s book Humility (you can read my full book review by clicking here). The book was partially a challenge for us to cultivate this virtue in our individual lives and in the fabric of our nation. So Dr. Bobb uses several biographies of notable Americans to illustrate the power of humility. These are some of the best quotes in the book on humility.

“Healthy pride is tied to truth, and pride devoid of merit is arrogance. Humility’s opposite that is arrogance, not pride. … The personal significance of this idea is radical: to be truly great, one has to be humble. The political significance of this idea is profound: to be truly and enduringly great, a nation’s hallmark must be humility.” 

“In reality, humility is strength, not weakness. It is the crown of the virtues. Humility enables courage and points wisdom in the right direction. It is the backbone of temperance, and it makes love possible.”

“Humility offers the promise of excellence, but it does not guarantee power when power is the proud domination of human beings. The power promised by humility is power over oneself in self-government. It is much harder to achieve. Humility’s strength is hidden, obscured by our blindness in the age of arrogance in which we live.” 

“Instead of responding to God’s love and drawing closer to Him, the first human beings retreated into the recesses of their hearts. In so doing they became less themselves—less like God created them to be. They departed from their nature, which was perfect until they turned from God. Unhealthy pride pushes man away from God; it destroys his ability to cling to his Creator as he should, not in miserable self-debasement, but in worshipful humility.”

“True humility enables true compassion.” 

“The key was not creating a government in which a leader could feign goodness and get away with it, but rather in creating one in which goodness could not be counted on, but was nevertheless sought. … America’s Founders knew the importance of humility and desired to be humble, but they also wished to make their mark. They were ambitious. They wanted to be great, but only if greatness came not at the expense of goodness.”

“The truly great person will be a servant. No less committed to excellence in everything, and still as dedicated to the highest achievements, the magnanimous man as servant can accomplish even more than when he tries to do it alone. Service is not servility. Meekness is not weakness. Humility is an essential part of true greatness of soul.”

“Contrary to popular misconceptions, modesty is not the underestimation of one’s worth. Rather, it acts as a restraint against the inordinate desire for recognition. While everyone desires recognition, a modest person quells the longing for fleeting fame. Modesty checks the impulse to claim credit and crave praise. It is the anti-vanity.”

“As a virtue, humility has an ordering quality to it. Arrogance has the opposite effect, as it loosens the grip of self-control and throws a human soul into disorder. … Ambition is not evil itself, but when an individual lets ambition run wild, it has the tendency to take over his soul. When this happens, a person loses sight of limitations. He is deluded into thinking himself unbeatable. Arrogance gives rise to unchecked ambition and begins a vicious cycle. Unchecked ambition leads to make those in its thrall more and more arrogant. And the arrogant continue to grow in misdirected ambition. This cycle—arrogance feeding ambition, and ambition giving way to more arrogance—can produce a tyrant. … Ambition is like pride in one decisive respect. Held in check, it is immensely important to the accomplishment of high and difficult tasks. Left unchecked, it is a debilitating force. Pride in check can be balanced with humility. One can be properly proud of some accomplishment and at the same time humble. … Like healthy pride, there is also worthy ambition.”

“Humility is a virtue prerequisite to prudence. If one lacks humility, the advancement of self or the substitution of an immoral end can overwhelm the pursuit of a just end. … Prudence allows the statesman to consider all alternatives and to make a decision not based upon who garners glory but upon the proper demands of the situation at hand. Prudence requires the submersion of one’s ego.”

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