Yesterday morning, I got an email from Lowe's with the subject line: "It's what's inside that counts." It made me chuckle to myself because it confirmed my previous thoughts about these verses I had been meditating on:
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror." 1 Peter 3:1-6I remember laboring over this section..."a gentle and quiet spirit"...because I like to talk and I thought somehow that being gentle and quiet spoken on the outside was somehow more righteous. I'm so glad that I was wrong!!!
Whenever we have a hard time understanding a section, we need to go back and read the whole chapter again. There is a logical progression of thought that the author is taking us through and we can find the clues in verses around it.
First of all, it does say the "hidden person of the heart"...hmmm, I'm not quite sure how I missed that! The next clue is this bit about trusting in God, being submissive and and not being afraid with any terror.
The holy women, like Sarah, "put on" trust in God (notice the Who that they are trusting) being submissive to their own husbands. In other words, the holy women were following their husbands as they lead them where they were going both physically and spiritually. It doesn't say that they put their trust in the husbands, no, they put their trust in God to lead their husbands, so they could follow the direction their husbands were going in. And here is a key piece...they could follow without being all fretful and terrified...inside.
When we have things in our lives that are causing us to tremble and be fearful, the first thing that we are called to do is:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness (graciousness or forebearance) be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7So how in the world can we rejoice unless we are putting our trust in God? When we pour out those things that make us tremble and fearful in prayer to Him, we are saying, "Lord, I can't do anything about this, I need you to intervene" and when you know that He can do anything and He will do whatever is good, because He is good, then your faith in Him is activated in your thanksgiving.
The peace is that "quiet spirit" that we get on the inside. So we can go forward with a quiet spirit even if there is no change in the circumstances because we know that God will take care of it in His time and in His way.
"Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus...that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2; 11May we "aspire" (to seek to attain or accomplish) to lead a quiet (Absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm) life...it's what's inside that counts!
Rejoicing in Him!