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Chapter 1
She is blameless

Our Father in Heaven is perfect because He does not just control the universe but also controls Himself. He has self-control. If God does not have self-control, there will be chaos and disaster. A woman must also have self-control. A woman does not just control her children, her kitchen, her schedules, but she must also be capable of controlling herself.

She must be able to control her emotions, her appetite for food, for pleasure, for clothes. A woman who is virtuous, therefore, is able to bring forth goodness instead of chaos and disaster.

If you will be virtuous then, you must enter into a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. People often ask me if it is possible for non-Christians to be virtuous. Some say that there are many people who are not Christians and yet are very good, appearing to be morally perfect. If our perfection can be received apart from Christ then it would not be necessary to write this book. Then life would be like an Olympic game, a matter of who can perform best. It would be a life of who has the best to offer God. Unfortunately, man has unsuccessfully tried all through the ages to reach God through good deeds. Man can impress a fellow human being, but not God. There is just one channel to reach God and that is through Jesus Christ. Man’s best goodness outside Christ can be likened to the water in a toilet bowl. The toilet can be cleaned and scrubbed every day. The toilet bowl may be meticulously cleaned and the water in the bowl sparkling, but no one can drink from the toilet bowl. Why? The source of the water is the problem. It may look clean but the source is contaminated.

If our virtues are godly apart from Christ, why did Christ die on Calvary? Why can’t we just use our human morality to handle our lives? Our source, our life-model, must change for us to have moral perfection. When we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus, everything will fall into place. Every attempt of man through other means besides the Lord Jesus Christ will only result in a religion. Religion is man's attempt to reach his god through human works. All religions are centered on “works”. But when we enter into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we get into what is known as Christianity. Christianity is not merely a religion, but is a relationship with a Person, Jesus Christ.

Self-control does not come from our education, family background or self-discipline but from a continuous, daily relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be virtuous outside Christ. Christianity is a joyous relationship with God who revealed Himself to mankind whom He created, and who through the Lord Jesus stooped down to restore man to complete fellowship with His Holy Person. No one is ever born virtuous; you have to make the decision that you want to be virtuous. We can still put the question of King Lemuel this way and still be in order. “Who can find a woman who has an intimate relationship with Lord because she will be morally perfect with goodness of character?” I know that as a woman you may be thinking that I don’t know your husband, or may be I seem not to appreciate the struggle and challenges of raising children, especially teenagers, and of coping with the global economic depression which has caused so many women to give up their responsibilities to electronic babysitters. Let me quickly say that your success in your ministries as wife, mother and woman will depend greatly on who you are in Christ Jesus. Let us look at the steps of entering into relationship with Jesus Christ.

1. We are all born sinners and formed in iniquity. The Bible says, Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalms 51:5 "The inherent power to be a sinner is what qualifies you and me as sinners. It is not the sin committed that turns us into sinners. We are all born as enemies of God."

2. All have sinned. Our family background has nothing to do with the new birth. When we were born we received the human life. Even if your parents were pastors and bishops, it does not remove the fact that you are still a sinner. The Bible says: "As it is written, “There is none righteous, no, not one; For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3: 10, 23

3. The consequence (wages) of this sin is death – that is – separation from God. Until you enter into a relationship with God you are God's creature, but not His child. You are separated from God so you cannot receive the blessings of a child. You cannot share the divine nature of God. The Bible says: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

4. You may choose to receive the gift of God instead of death. You may receive eternal life while you are reading this book. If you believe in your heart that Jesus died, was buried, but on the third day, He resurrected from death, and you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you shall be saved. The Bible says: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10

To be born again we need essentially two parts of our body, the heart and the mouth. Believe in your heart that Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected on the third day. He came out from the tomb alive. Then confess with your mouth  that Jesus is Lord. When you are born again, you are no more united with the fallen Adam who was made a living soul, but to the last Adam (Jesus Christ) Who is a lifegiving Spirit. If you are going to be virtuous, therefore, you must be united with the Lord Jesus Christ. The result of this union is a heart controlled by God, bringing out the words that bring joy.

Controlling the Tongue
A virtuous woman must be able to control her tongue. The heart (mind, will and emotion) is the fountain and the words are the streams. If the heart is corrupt and evil, then the words will be evil. Evil words are the natural products of an evil heart, just as streams are the overflowing of the spring. Our words reflect our spiritual condition. A sin-dominated person will utter evil; a good person, dominated by God and saved by Him, will utter good. Our Lord Jesus says: O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12:34-37

The wrong use of words could earn the same punishment as murder or as adultery. There shall be condemnation on the day of judgement. The Apostle Paul said in his epistle to the Church in Ephesus:

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks, For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ  and of God.” Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience; Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light." Ephesians 5: 3-8

Controlling the Heart
If truly you are now a Christian, then abstain from the works of the flesh, from fornication, adultery, covetousness, foolish talking, jesting and all uncleanness; (otherwise you are still walking in darkness and not in the light). As Christians, Jesus is the One living His life through us. If we allow Him, we will start to live a victorious Christian life. Let us see the steps we need to take to make this a reality.

1. Yield yourself to the Lord.
There are descriptions of some types of women in the Scriptures like “strange women” (Proverbs 6:24); “contentious and angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19), and “odious woman” (Proverbs 30:23). An odious woman is an unpleasant and hateful woman. Our spirits always grieve when we read these things about women. Yet the Bible has not been unfair to them. We just have to look inwardly and yield more fully to the Lord.The Bible says:

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yields ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Romans 6:11-13

If we are going to yield ourselves to God we must lose complete interest in sin. The Bible says we must be dead to sin, and then yield. To yield is to surrender to someone else’s leadership. When you drive on the highway, and see the sign ‘yield’ you are to allow someone else to have the right of way. The Lord is saying you should allow Him to lead.

Surrender all the members of your body to Him. No more sin. Present all parts of your body to the Lord. Jesus is not only a Savior, but also the Lord. A lord is one who has authority over another. Apostle Paul said,

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. "Romans 6:16-17

If truly you have received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, it is very important that the same heart you use at your salvation be used to obey the instructions of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Make your soul wait on the Lord.
"Truly my soul waiteth upon God; from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. "Psalms 62:1-2

When our heart rests in the Lord, we are saved from worries and stress. Our knowledge of who God is shall increase; we don’t just have a head-knowledge of who God is, but we have a revelational knowledge of who He is. The Psalmist continues,

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

"Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." Psalms 62:6-8

It is to our advantage if we give our hearts to the Lord. We receive strength; we run to Him in the time of trouble as our refuge, He defends us from the attack of enemies. Completely surrender your heart to Him today.

3. Have pure thoughts.
The Bible says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

There are just two wavelengths in the human heart. You either think wrong or you think right. There is no common wave. We need to ask God to help us switch to the right station. The virtuous woman does not switch to the station of hell through her thoughts, but to the station of God. It is then that she can think pure thoughts. The things you think about will determine your actions and your actions will show your personality.

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Study Questions

1. Who is a virtuous woman?

2. To enter into an intimate relationship with the Lord we need essentially which two parts of our bodies? (Romans
10:9)

3. As the streams are overflowing of the spring, so are evil words the natural products of an evil heart. Every idle word shall be judged. What efforts are you making to control your tongue to escape the danger of hell?

4. What are the steps of entering into relationship with Jesus Christ?

5. A virtuous woman is expected to live a victorious Christian life by yielding herself to the Lord, by waiting on the Lord and by thinking right. Which of these steps are you struggling with?

Get Your Copy of
The Virtuous Woman:
A meditation on Proverbs 31:10-31
by Olufunmilayo Elizabeth Bankole

How is it possible for a woman to be virtuous? It is not a mystery. By following principles set forth in the Bible, women can be recognized as those who have been molded by the Holy Spirit to reflect the strong character of virtuous women.

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