I must confess and be totally honest … As I write this week’s WOW Weekly Moment, I do so feeling very ill-equipped. Here is my disclaimer: I have not arrived. I am not an A-plus student when it comes to displaying the “gentle and quiet spirit.” I mess this up – a lot! Finally, every time I study about having a gentle and quiet spirit or try to grow in this area, the enemy taunts me, and I end up being the opposite of who I want to be. Like I said … I’m just being real!
Last week we began the section in 1 Peter that talks about submission. This week we continue with that same theme, but we will move to a different area of submission. In this portion of Scripture Peter talks about being submissive to your husband. Now if you’re not married, please don’t stop reading. There is a really special verse in here that we can all learn from whether married or single and it is that verse this post will focus on. So … stick with me!
Let’s search the Scriptures by reading 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Now let’s do some discovering …
For the purposes of this devotion, I want to focus on verses 3-4. If you want to go deeper into this entire passage, I encourage you to check out our Online Bible Study here.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but 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 3:3-4
Adorning – (Greek – G2889 kosmos) We get our English words “cosmos” and “cosmetics” from this Greek word. It refers to a lack of chaos. Orderly is the word that comes to mind. Peter is reminding women that they are not to focus on external decorations but on internal character. In other words, our insides need to get in all spiffed up and in order!
Peter was not saying that women shouldn’t care about what they look like, wear make-up if they choose, or wear jewelry. He is simply saying that we should be working on our internal character more than our external appearance because that is what is most important to God. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Our most important “cosmetic” or our most treasured piece of jewelry should be “a gentle and quiet spirit which in God’s eyes is very precious.”
Are there days when you just look and feel better than others? Of course there are! Some days I have a really good hair day. Some days I have a glow about me. Some days there is a twinkle in my eye. Some days I can put an outfit together that is just awesome. Usually those external manifestations are a result of external modifications – hair spray, hair gel, a curling iron or flat iron, make-up, more “beauty rest,” a good mood because things went my way, a shopping trip. All of the things mentioned are great, but they don’t play a factor in my internal character. If I spend a good 45 minutes taking care of my outward appearance, how much time do I need to devote to my insides (heart and soul)?
In her book, Having a Mary Spirit, Joanna Weaver talks about this internal force (we’ll call it that). She actually gives her a name – Flesh Woman! Do you have a Flesh Woman? Yes, we all do. For me she comes out when things aren’t going my way, when I’m tired, stressed, overly emotional, hormonal … you get the picture. She’s the opposite of a “gentle and quiet spirit.” In fact, she’s anything but gentle and quiet.
Elizabeth George defines the gentle spirit and the quiet spirit in her book, Putting On A Gentle & Quiet Spirit.
Gentle (or meek) – has to do with the condition of the mind and heart, and is a characteristic of one who does not create disturbances. It has to do with affections and feelings.
Quiet – has to do with a tranquility arising from within, causing no disturbance to others, and it means bearing with tranquility the disturbances caused by others. Quiet applies to our words, countenance, and actions.
In other words, because I have a gentle spirit I am characterized as someone whose feelings are so under control that I don’t create issues or disturbances.
On the other hand my quiet spirit is recognized as my responses (words, actions) remain tranquil when others cause disturbances around me.
Let’s dig a little deeper:
Gentle (Greek – G4239 praÿs) mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isaiah 41:17, Luke 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Galatians 5:23). (blueletterbible.org)
Quiet (Greek – G2272 hēsychios) quiet, tranquil, peaceable, harmonious, immovable, steadfast. Quiet has nothing to do with personality (being a quiet person), but rather everything to do with the calm and peace of your heart on the inside.
God’s Word from 1 Peter tells us that we should cultivate our inner beauty because that is Precious in His Sight. Verse 4 tells us that the gentle and quiet spirit is imperishable, as well. In other words, unlike our make-up, clothes, or highlights, the gentle and quiet spirit doesn’t fade, rot, or decay. It is eternal.
Ladies, we can’t do this on our own! We cannot even begin to cultivate a “gentle and quiet spirit” without surrendering our will to God and without the help of His transforming Word. (Romans 12:1-2) We also need the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. He is the One who manifests the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23) That fruit can become more evident if we fertilize it with God’s Word, prayer, and a little bit of self-discipline.
Apply Truth to Your Life …
- What are your “Flesh Woman” triggers? Identifying them will help you watch out for them!
- What will you do when you feel “Flesh Woman” rising within you?
- Prayer, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, and self-discipline are the tools you need to cultivate a “gentle and quiet spirit.” What are you doing to sharpen these tools?
- Will you choose to please God today by maintaining that “gentle and quiet sprit.”
Sisters, this is no easy task. I struggle not to let things around me cause negative reactions and disturbances. I want to so totally trust God and His leading in my life that I “go with the flow” and spend my time experiencing joy in His presence rather than creating chaos in the presence of others. How about you?
Precious Father, help us! Help us to so trust You that we rest completely in Your goodness, grace, and guidance. Help us adorn ourselves with a “gentle and quiet spirit” so we can be precious in Your sight in that area of our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jacqueline Heider if the Director of Women’s Ministry, Prayer & Resource Specialist at Warren Baptist Church.