Monday, 11 November 2019
…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. 1 Peter 3:4
Peter’s words are only a part of a greater thought which began in the previous verse –
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 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.”
Instead of focusing on the externals, which may look great but actually hide a soul full of wickedness, Peter says that the woman of God should rather display “the hidden person of the heart.” The idea here is comparable to what Paul says in Romans 7:22 –
“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.”
The things described in the previous verse are coverings which reveal nothing of the true character of the person. But that which is hidden in the heart is what reveals the individual’s true nature. It is concealed and is not readily discernible from a first glance.
However, the true nature of a person will always eventually become evident. All of the fancy external adornments will eventually be exposed as false as a man grows more intimate with the woman. If he cares about anything except externals, he will come to realize that she possesses “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”
The arrangement of the hair will someday no longer be able to enrapture those around her. The gold can get lost, stolen, and so on. The fine apparel will eventually wear out, get moth-eaten, or the like. These things are temporary and they reveal nothing of the true character of the soul. But a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit possesses that which is enduring, and which will never fail to satisfy a man who understands that true source of her beauty. To him, it is of more value than all of the flashy and expensive externals, and it is also “very precious in the sight of God.”
The word translated as “precious” signifies “extremely expensive.” It is seen just three times. The first is in Mark 14:3 and refers to the costly perfume which was poured over Christ. Paul uses it in 1 Timothy 2:9 when referring to “costly clothing,” which he dismisses as of no value in comparison to moderation in such things. Peter now uses it for the last time to show that the gentle and quiet spirit of a woman is of great value to God.
This is evident from quite a few passages in Scripture, and it highlights the fact that God is looking on the internals when evaluating the people of the world. That which is external is temporary, fleeting, and of no true value. How odd it is, then, that this is what the world mostly focuses on!
Life application: What do we know about Sarah from Scripture? Do we know how her hair was arranged? Does someone still have the bracelets she wore? Even if they were still around, they would be completely worn away by now. The beautiful handmade clothes she wore disappeared thousands of years ago. But we still have the knowledge of who she was, and what her attitude toward her husband and toward God was.
Likewise, the fleeting beauty of those in Hollywood, or in fashion magazines, will be gone within a very short span. The only thing left of any value at all will be their character. Looking at the examples of today, it is a sure bet that most of them will be completely forgotten in the same amount of time – multiple divorces, drug addictions, arrests for abuse, etc., mark the character of most of these shallow and unreasoning people.
What they need isn’t a new silk dress or a new fancy hairdo. Rather, they need the covering of Christ. They don’t need more gold and diamonds. Instead, they need that which costs them nothing and yet which has infinite value. If only we could pursue that which is truly worth pursuing – Jesus! What we need is Jesus!
Lord, may the women of God look in the mirror and realize how precious they are – simply for who they are, and not because of what they wear. When they apply make-up, put on earrings, or buy a new dress, may they remember that these things don’t make them beautiful. Instead, it’s a pure heart and a gentle and quiet spirit which shows their true beauty. Amen.