Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review

Becoming a Woman of Excellence
Cynthia Heald

"So that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ."
Philippians 1:10

(Rear Cover)
A Goal Worth Pursuing
Society beckons us to succeed -- to achieve excellence in our appearance, our earning power, our family life.  God Himself also beckons us to be women of excellence.  But what exactly is He asking?

If you're hungry for God's perspective on success in a society that bombards you with conflicting demands, feed on the truths of God's Word that you'll discover in these pages.  You will not only learn to "approve the things that are excellent" but also experience the joy of becoming God's woman of excellence.

I thoroughly enjoyed going through this study.  In my opinion, I believe it has helped me to further my goals as a young woman of God.  Each chapter lists a number of questions and Scripture passages to read pertaining to those questions, so yes, it is a study.  This will require your Bible, and the actual turning of the sacred pages to find passages mentioned.  But don't think of it as homework!  You should never grow tired of digging into God's Word.  Good gravy! how could you?? you can find something new EVERY time!

In the first chapter, Mrs. Heald begins by defining the word excellence.

Webster's Dictionary
excel -- verb  "to be superior or preeminent in good qualities or praiseworthy actions"
exellence -- noun  "the possession chiefly of good qualities in an unusual degree; surpassing virtue, merit, worth, value."

Biblical examples of women of excellence include Ruth (Old Testament) and the Proverbs 31 woman, among a few others.  

Mrs. Heald begins by quoting Boaz in his praise of the Moabite woman, "Now, my daughter, do not fear.  I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence." (Ruth 3:11, emphasis added)

What made Ruth a woman of excellence?

She possessed a "gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God's eyes." (1 Peter 3:4)

gentle -- adj.  1. b) chivalrous  c) honorable, distinguished  d) kind, amiable  2. b) free from harshness, sternness, or violence  3. soft, delicate
quiet -- noun  the quality or state of being quiet
adj.  1. a) calm  b) gentle, easygoing 
meek -- (The Greek words prays [meek] and praytes [meekness] consistently convey gentleness, humility, and consideration for others.) 2. deficient in spirit and courage  3. not violent or strong

 It is the God-honoring character of a life well lived -- not for herself, or our own personal gain -- but for Christ.  An "...imperishable quality..."  Gentleness is one of the fruits of the spirit, yes?  It does not mean violence, disobedience, or rash behavior.  No!  It means kindness.  How about a quiet spirit?  Does it mean to keep your mouth shut?  Well, yes.  It means listening.  It means thinking before speaking.  

It is not easy to have this kind of spirit, but with His help it is possible.  This is the part where submission comes in.  To possess a gentle and quiet spirit, one must die to self.  Embrace surrender.  Make a goal to work toward.  This is mine:  Strive to become a woman of excellence is EVERYTHING I do -- including attitude, character, actions, etc.  Become a woman worthy of praise.  Leave a legacy for younger ladies to follow.  

I have heard it said many times of the Proverbs 31 woman, "It is impossible to be like her!  Her standards are far too high."  True, her example is a difficult one to follow, but it is possible.  As mentioned earlier, you need His help.  He alone gives us strength.

Another key term is the word discretion.

discreet -- adj.  1. judicious in one's conduct or speech, especially with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
discretion -- noun  1. the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice.  2. the quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum.
prudence -- noun  1. the quality or fact of being prudent.  2. caution with regard to practical matters; discretion.

Proverbs 2:11 states, "Discretion will watch over you..."

Slow to speak.  We've heard this phrase.  You know what it means.  (James 1:19-20)

Another model of a woman of excellence is Esther.

Do you remember her story?  When she heard of what was to become of her and her people, what did she do?  Yes, she was afraid.  This was a matter of life and death!  And yet, she exemplified patience, and trust. Why?  God was with her!  Maybe He told her to wait, hosting two banquets, before telling her husband of the plot to destroy her people.  Perhaps she also wished to gain the king's favor, to make sure he would listen -- the reason for two banquets?  Either way, she thought carefully before speaking, waiting patiently on two different occasions before explaining her request.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, another great example.  She shows true faith, humility and trust through her obedience.  Oh, to have that faith!

All in all, I am very glad to have gone through this study and would definitely recommend it to other young women, especially those struggling with bad attitudes and selfishness.  This explains me!

My rating of this book:


Thanks for reading.

post signature

1 comment:

Missy Parris said...

This looks really good. I've looked at it before and thought about getting it for Morgan. I'll have to see if I can find it on Amazon again. Hope you all are doing well!!! Thanks, Missy