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Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Hidden Beauty

I think one of the greatest struggles for women, is the temptation to be vain. We all want to look nice and there's nothing wrong with that, but the problem is that we make it our goal, our obsession. We can get so wrapped up in the way we look to ourselves and to other people that it becomes the only thing we ever think about. I struggle with this myself almost from day to day, fretting over the way my hair looks or the appearance of my clothes, etc. Now I'm not saying it's wrong to routinely put on makeup and fix up your hair or whatever. I'm just saying that I think we have other things to focus on. For instance, 1 Peter 3:4 says that our beauty should be "the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,..." Peter tells us in this passage that it's not the exterior beauty that counts, but the inside. What is a gentle and quiet spirit? To be honest I don't know exactly; it's not like I have all the answers. But I was thinking about this passage recently and what it means to have a gentle and quiet spirit. In the first two verses of chapter 3, Peter is giving a command to wives, "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct."(verses 1-2). Wives should be subject to their husbands and this especially helps in a marriage situation where a Christian woman is married to an unbeliever. Peter is saying that the husband may come to see the light through his wife's respectful character and pure conduct. So then when this continues in verse 3, "Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear--..."(verse 3), it seems to point us back to the previous verses talking about wives. "...But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,..."(verse 4). So as well as being respectful and pure, wives should let the beauty of the hidden heart be the ultimate piece of adornment. And this also would be a testimony to an unbelieving husband, as well as a biblical life style for any wife. So a gentle and quiet spirit might be submissiveness, willingness, respect, pure conduct, etc., and Peter is saying that this is what a wife's adornment should look like. Now even though this passage is specifically talking to wives in relation to their husbands, that doesn't mean that women who are unmarried shouldn't learn from this. It's not like these qualities can only apply to married women. We think so much about what we look like on the outside, but what about other qualities such as a quiet and gentle spirit? Are we focusing on things like respect, willingness, and purity? Like I said before, I don't know exactly what it means to have a quiet and gentle spirit, but maybe it's all the things that make a Godly woman. And that, I believe, can be sought after through prayer and obedience to God.    
   Sometimes I start feeling down about the way I may look, or sometimes I'm just too wrapped up in my appearance. And on those days I turn to this passage, "but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,..."(verse 4). And then the best part, "which in God's sight is very precious."(verse 4). Did you get that? It is VERY precious in God's sight. So much prettier than a particular hairstyle, and so much more beautiful than any pretty face. So who do we want to please: men, with the passing beauty of the external, or our heavenly Father with "...the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit."

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