Look Inward

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority if their husbands. 1 Peter 3:3-5

I love fashion.  Cute shoes, stylish clothing, stunning accessories you name it I am there.  When I first heard the first section of these passages, it was in the form of a lecture by my father in attempt to curb my overarching desire to be a part of the fashion-forward elite, especially when the attire tended more towards the revealing. The product of these encounters was an exasperation and frustration with this verse as I couldn’t understand the disparity between my desire to look appealing and God’s instruction.

Initially, on the external I was living by the first part of this verse. My hairstyles weren’t that fancy, forget expensive jewelry and my parents were the ones who for the most part was instrumental in the purchasing of my clothing, so I had no choice but to look chaste and wholesome. But my heart rebelled. I wanted more and would sneakily borrow and eventually purchase items that I thought were trendy. I never once realized that my heart was what was in the wrong place. You see outside of my desire to look appealing was an underlying heart issue. I was focused on looking appealing instead of being appealing. No, I am not talking about some late night seductress I am talking about an embodiment of the type of temperament that all people can embrace regardless of one’s outward presentation.

What God desired was not a disregard for looking nice. He looked at His own creation and said it was good. He gave Solomon great, beautiful things. What my heavenly Father was after was a focus on being meek. A gentle and quiet spirit is the most attractive thing a woman can adorn themselves with. You know those women; they are so absolutely sweet and everyone wants to be around them. Their mannerisms are so affable and even their general tone is sweet-tempered.

In a society of women’s rights, independent women and single-mother homes such doctrine sounds flaccid and many may think I am making an attempt to shove women back a couple centuries but bear with me a minute and look at the type of woman the Word describes. In the book of Proverbs when the King Lemuel’s mother describes the type of woman her son should seek after she is anything but subservient and weak. On the contrary she is a hard-working ,diligent,  strong woman.

She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks. She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.  She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm. She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].  She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]. She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet. She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made]

Proverbs 31:15-22

The woman the Bible describes is strong, intelligent, and prudent; the Lord values a strong woman.  God isn’t asking us to swap our amazing God-given talents in order to be gentle. He isn’t asking for mindless weaklings. What He is requiring of us is to have this strength under control. Regardless of our culture, family up-bringing, or level of influence the Lord is calling us to trust Him and accept authority. I hope you caught that instrumental part. We are trusting HIM, not others. The gentle spirit is precious to Him, and pleasing Him is so much more important than asserting our independence. I encourage you my sisters walk upright before the Lord. Seek after a gentle spirit, that type of beautification will always be well-liked, current, and in vogue.

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