The Unfading Beauty of a Gentle and Quiet Spirit
1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Often when we read this verse in Peter we think to ourselves about “inner beauty” and our character and faith being more important than “outward adornment”. We meditate on being loving, faithful women who put pleasing God before our need to feel desirable in the eyes of this world. We concentrate on the phrase “that of your inner self”. We often fail to ponder the beauty in the end of this verse.
“The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” does not immediately cry out “I am a strong, independant woman and I’m ready to take this modern world by storm”! I think that sometimes we mistakenly associate gentleness with weakness.
Weakness is not a synonym for gentleness. “You were not given a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline” (2 Tim 1:7). This is NOT a contradiction. We need to strive to be gentle women whose humility and faith does not leave us spineless or speechless, but whose strength can be beautifully channelled into graceful and loving speech rooted in firm conviction and practiced with quiet compassion.
Christ was gentle. (Matthew 11:29) He humbled himself. He also unquestionably stood in truth as Truth. Gentleness is not a quiet tolerance, it is a gracefully spoken but honest reminder of God’s law without neglecting the necessity of sharing God’s love, and there is a great deal of power in it.
In 1 Kings 19 we read about the Lord appearing to Elijah, not in a powerful wind, an earthquake, or a fire, but in a gentle whisper. There was no weakness in that whisper. Consider Proverbs:
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
We put a great deal of effort into proving our strength in this world. We take pride in holding firmly to our convictions and strive to make an impact on those around us. A gentle and quiet spirit is a far more effective force than condemning and outspoken discourses on our beliefs.
The most effective weapon in this battle to win souls is not always the biggest, loudest, or flashiest. We fight to bring glory to God, and should do so as he instructs us.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
We are consistently and clearly reminded to put our pride aside and reflect Christ’s love, and when we do this we are beautiful to the only one who matters.