The inspiration for the title of this post comes from Proverbs 31. The author of Proverbs 31 is believed to be the mother of King Solomon, who ruled ancient Israel in the 10th century BCE. In Proverbs 31, she advises her son to avoid alcohol, speak up for the voiceless, and to seek out an excellent wife. It is from this passage that we get the famous “Proverbs 31 wife trope”–a description of the ideal wife that you can check out on your own time.
However, there is another verse, verse 3, that does not get as much press but is equally eye-opening.
Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.Proverbs 31:3
A few things to note:
First, the verse is talking about women plural, not the woman singular that gets described in terms of the exemplary wife. (Proverbs 31:10).
Second, the author of the Proverb does not say what she means by strength, but most commentators think she is likely referring to a combination of work, labor, time, energy, and money.
The irony here is that women are the exact thing to which the writer of 1 Kings attributes the turning away of Solomon’s heart from God (1 Kings 11: 4-8). Clearly King Solomon did not heed his mother’s advice, and he paid a dear price for it, including the forfeiture of the family dynasty (1 Kings 4:11).
Many men today, like King Solomon, waste a ton of time, energy, emotions, and money chasing women and sexual pleasure instead of pursuing their life’s purpose. Some of this activity is downright sinful when it takes the form of porn and lust; other times, it is simply a waste of life.
Keep in mind, this outcome is not always preventable. You can’t possibly know if someone is marriage material for you until you get to to know them. Whenever a relationship fails, you may feel you have wasted various amounts of time, energy, emotions, and money. I’ve spoken about the painful lessons I learned from my own heartbreak (here). In these cases, what we lose gets compensated by valuable experience, knowledge, and growth.
However, many of us, myself included, have also wasted time, energy, emotions, and money on people of the opposite sex knowing quite well that the relationship had no future. An inability to manage loneliness, sex drive, and time is often the culprit here.
Solomon was a king, and his life purpose was to rule. We all have a purpose in every season of life. It may be to be a good student, employee, father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, friend, and, ultimately, a worshiper of God in every moment.
A lifestyle of purpose, as it turns out, actually best positions us to build a successful relationship with a member of the opposite sex. It makes us more attractive, and develops in us the character and capacity to be a blessing to another human being.
Today, let’s put our purpose first.