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What Is Beautiful?
This is the second part to an earlier post by Jen
Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. - 1 Peter 3:4
I am not naturally a quiet or gentle spirit. I was raised in a household with six children, four of them boys. Being tough and loud were the best survival techniques I knew. I've often struggled with what this verse could possibly look like in the face of an opinionated and talkative woman. I have even felt shame for my personality and hoped for a more “acceptable” version of me, believing that a silent, always agreeable shadow of a woman certainly would be more pleasing to God.
God desires the hidden person of our hearts to be submitted to and ruled by him.
The pendulum does not need to swing from loud, talkative, and opinionated to silent, invisible, and hidden. Somewhere in the middle ground is a place called redemption. God desires the hidden person of our hearts to be submitted to and ruled by him. What pours forth from us then is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. We cannot hope to become beautiful on our own; we can believe that God is committed to our beauty even more than we are.
What Is a Gentle and Quiet Spirit?
Gentle does not mean mousy or weak. It does mean strength derived from and under the control of the Holy Spirit. The default response of our hearts is often harshness. It feels powerful and usually gets the job done. Children and husbands alike can be effectively and sinfully shut down by a harsh word or glance. A gentle woman will trust her Father’s provision, identify with the righteousness of Christ, and be filled with the Holy Spirit to such a degree that she will be known for her strength that shines brightly for God’s glory alone.
Quiet does not mean silent or without opinion. It does mean without noise. Quietness in our hearts is drowned out by the cacophony of voices of fear, worry, anger, and doubt. Difficult circumstances or trials turn up the volume and we succumb to the chaos. We lose the voice of Jesus in the midst of the cacophony. Peace prevails and rest ensues when we are quieted before our Savior and listen for his voice alone. Out of that quietness, the words of our mouths will be fitting, life-giving, and pleasing to God.
Not All Ms. Nice Girl
Maybe you are a naturally quiet and gentle woman. Don’t jump too quickly to a pat on the back for yourself. Quietness that is self-protective or driven by fear of what others think is not pleasing to God. Neither is gentleness in the face of peril or temptation that requires the strength to fight back.
Under the covering of the powerful blood of Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit, we must battle the lies and let the peace and gentleness of God wash over us.
Ironically enough, there is a time and a place for a non-gentle response, but it isn’t towards people in our lives that irritate us. It is against our enemy. Nothing short of all-out war waged against his deception and accusation is what is required of us as women. Under the covering of the powerful blood of Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit, we must battle the lies and let the peace and gentleness of God wash over us. A true beauty clings to God’s promises for her life and believes them as the most important thing about her.
God Doesn't Mince Words
God spells out his heart for us when he tells us that this gentle and quiet spirit is pleasing to him. How much more clear does he have to be? He is graciously giving us his definition of beauty and yet, we often operate as though we are justified in our peeved, frustrated, controlling countenance.
It pleases him greatly to know that his daughters care about true beauty. He wants us to rely on Christ to cultivate a spirit that pleases him: one that is quieted by his love and offered in gentleness to others