My new neighbors had me over for dinner. They have a two-year lease for a house that couldn't sell and is now a rental. They told me, over a lovely Sicilian eggplant dish, that when they did the walk-through of the place they found it charming, but that it took only a week of living in it to discover everything wrong with it. Then the husband made the comment that stuck with me: "It was renovated to sell, not to live in."
He proceeded to point out all the slapdash, slipshod, shoddy, cut-rate, half-baked, haphazard, perfunctory, and rinky-dink features that the blush of first love had masked: the lack of cupboards in logical places, the hastily erected food island too snug to fit around, the hairline cracks in the ceiling, etc.
I thought about relationships. I thought of Jack Nicholson saying to Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets, "You make me wish I were a better man." You know how it goes: You fall in love with someone and then feel sorry that you're such a fixer-upper of a person; you wish you had not been so lazy, or so angry, or so immoral all your life. And now you try to be on your best behavior, and you hope against hope that you can become a loving, thoughtful person-by next Tuesday.
The book of Proverbs is all about roads. Desirable destinations are reached one step at a time. The fear of the Lord is the first step on that path, and also the second, and the third, in an extreme makeover that is arrived at one choice at a time-this moment's choice to walk in love and not selfishness, to carry your cross. God gives the command ("Put on love"-Colossians 3:14), and He always gives the power to carry out his commands ("My grace is sufficient for you"-2 Corinthians 12:9).
"The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day" (Proverbs 4:18).
Whether for houses or people:
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).
She is a woman not for "leasing" but for "living" with.