Did you know that only 4% of women see themselves as beautiful? It’s no wonder that most women I know crave for people to recognize their inner beauty.
That inner beauty is the kind of beauty God commands each woman that loves Him to cultivate. It is accessible and achievable for all that call on Him as Savior and LORD.
Unfortunately, the meaning is of the words in modern Bible translations can be confusing if reading them at first blush. 1 Peter 3:4 talks about the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”
But I’m Not A Quiet Person!
Many women balk at the words- Gentle? Quiet?
For the extroverted, boisterous, passionate woman, these words signify that beauty is beyond reach. For the shy, perhaps they are misleading.
Let’s look at what is meant in these passages and discover hope for all women that we can depend on the LORD to work true beauty in our spirits.
1 Peter 3:3-4 Says
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 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.
Is Beauty Out Of Reach For Me?
I remember studying these words with great concern when I began following Jesus at 13. My grandmother always knew where my mother was as a child, because my mom was loud. My mom always knew where my brother and me were, because we were loud. And in any group of kids, it seems my boy’s voices are decibels louder than their playmates.
I am not the kind of person who is subdued, shy, and closed off. That is the kind of picture I thought of when I heard “gentle and quiet spirit.” An endless ear of listening with no emotive response, save a tender, reassuring smile. I’m boisterously happy when exciting things happen. I sob heavily at the pain of others. At the end of In America and Holocaust movie called Life is Beautiful, I sobbed for a long time- past the credits rolling to a silenced end that only served to turn off the background music and highlight the sound of my somber weeping.
Between me and the pletora of vastly different professionals I’ve taught through the years, I’ve studied a vast lot of topics from zombie attacks to building rapport with subordinates to the detrimental environmental impact of bottled water. I’ve likely got something to excitedly add to a conversation, even if I can’t find a way to politely weave it in. I’ve been known to hug friends too hard in undue excitement- repeatedly, apologizing for my forgetfulness each time.
These make me wonder- is beauty out of reach for me?
The comforting reality is:
None of these characteristics are the problem.
Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing. Perhaps your beautiful, unique personality has traits that seem passionate, exuberant, and strong, and you’re wondering if beauty is out of reach for you. This passage is not saying that being passionate, boisterous, extroverted, and confident is a sin by itself. If those traits in and of themselves are not the problem, what is?
The problem for me are the lists I’ve been known to place on my shoulders stretching to the sun. As I carry them, my heart rate races, adrenaline pumps through my veins late into the night, as it is even as I’m writing this. I can’t turn it off to sleep, as my mind races with lists of things to do and conversations to have and conversations I have had… I rush around with over 5 kettles on a 4 burner stove throughout the day, smiling pleasantly when all of them are coming to a boil at the right time and prone to snap too hastily at my children when they aren’t.
If my husband comes home to a full day of five kettles, which of course change faces and colors tens of times throughout the day, I am frazzled running from kettle 3, the potty, to kettle 2, a crying child, to kettle 5, the rising bread, to kettle 1. As he walks in, I shove my hair back over my ear, finish rinsing off my hands and greet him not to sit and listen gazing into his eyes, but to rush around to get dinner on plates. Usually, half of the food is downed by the time I actually get to sit down from grabbing Jude a clean fork, Eli milk, washing that pot, getting my own food, sitting down, getting up again to get the cup of tea I forgot, and finally sitting down to eat.
This is NOT “gentle” and “quiet.”
The problem is made more clear when we look at the definitions of “gentle” and “quiet.”
So, What IS “A Gentle and Quiet Spirit”?
According to the Strong’s definition, “gentle” means
a disposition toward God in which we accept His dealings with us as good, without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament, this word was used to talk about relying on God (rather than one’s own strength) to defend them against injustice.
Quiet has to do with your spirit being quiet– not you being quiet. The idea of “quiet” is
“tranquil,” having possession of your mind, and being steadfast.
Be an Invitation To Rest
If you want to know if you have the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, ask yourself:
Do I invite others to rest?
Is being in my presence an invitation to rest?
Essentially, that is what this verse is talking about. When we be still and know God is God (Psalm 46:10), when we see God clearly- all He is, and see ourselves rightly, inside we rest. We depend on Him. And as a result, we invite others to rest in our presence.
THAT is “a gentle and quiet spirit”- no matter what kind of personality you have.
My personality traits and yours can be bent and used for sin. There is no question to that. We can express our extroversion or introversion motivated by pride or humility. We can use our strength to defend ourselves or to defend the weak and oppressed. We can use our introspection in conceit or love. We can be confident in ourselves or confident in God.
Whether we are outgoing or introverted, we can seek God to help us be our best self, reflecting Him who designed us each so uniquely. We can do what we do best in humility. We can be an invitation to rest. We can be beautiful.
So, The Good News Is: Beauty is Within Reach!
We can all rely on God to help us know and rely on Him more, so that He can work in us to have a spirit stilled by His presence- One that invites others to rest.
What About Braided Hair, Gold Jewelry, and Fine Clothes?
Does this passage mean that I can’t braid my hair, wear a golden wedding ring, or wear nice clothes? To understand this, you have to understand the culture of the day in which this passage was written. Follow the blog so you don’t miss my upcoming post on this topic!
What Do You Think?
Does this passage encourage you? Does obeying it seem more attainable than you perhaps thought before?
Please share this post on your favorite social media site so it can encourage others, too!
Want More Like This?
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- Carry Yourself Light
- Can you hear God whispering, “I love you!”?
- God Longs To Do This For You
- 5-Minute Self-Assessment that Could Change Your Kid’s Lives
- The Power of the Names of God in Your Life
Copyright © 2019 Angela Edmonds. All rights reserved.
7 thoughts on “Unfading Beauty: What Does Gentle and Quiet Really Mean?”
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powerful message here. am so blessed with this write up. God bless you real good