I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to each one of us during these four times together and that the hidden person of your heart will be molded as only our God can do.
As I, personally, meander through these verses, the fallow soil of my heart feels ready for planting, ready for the roots of God’s seeds to grow in me. I want His Word to extend deeply into me, growing me from the inside-out. As I begin to understand the significance of individual words, then words placed in phrases, and phrases in sentences, I begin to discern God’s will for my life. The woman I am in Him is distinct from any other, yet the same as His other female children. We are urged to understand the beauty of His Truth, thus growing more beautiful.
As women of this world, we naturally desire to look nice, neat, and clean. We want to wear fashionably appealing, comfortable clothing and jewelry that becomes us, our hair cut and coiffed to enhance our faces with makeup placed on neatly and naturally. As Christian woman, our call is to dress with modesty and dignity. …likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control,… (1 Timothy 2:9a). We are to do our best to care for the body given to us. It is the temple of God. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Nutrition, cleanliness, exercise, and concern for ways we do things so as not to hurt ourselves is all a part of our physical beauty. Outwardly, all these components comprise what the world sees. It is the initial point of reference as we meet people whether by eye-to-eye contact, shaking hands, hugging, in passing by one another, being introduced, etc.
In this world today, the moral standards are loose, to say the least. Outward appearances are unraveling, literally, before our eyes, leaving very little to the imagination–low-cut pants, tight revealing tops, bra straps exposed. Dressing in the manner of the world can be for a variety of reasons: a woman may dress seductively in order to attract men, to conform to latest styles or from peer pressure. Women are prone to desire attention if they get none at home, or if that attention is nothing but derogatory. We all need compliments, needing to be built up, edified, encouraged. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
1 Peter 3:3 says “Do not let your adornment be merely external–…;” This is not stating that caring for our hair, wearing jewelry, or wearing fine clothing is a problem with God. It is just not all of who we are. The word “merely” is often overlooked in this passage. Our entire person, inside and out, is truly the way others judge us. They see our mannerisms, our kindness or meanness, our love or hatred, overall temperament, our voice with volume and tone. These become keys to allowing others to see Jesus in us Who is truly the “beauty” in “the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible (imperishable) beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4). God sees us from the inside. He wants His Glory, this Shekhinah, to shine to the world. Jesus said, in John 17:22-23, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” “…so that the world may know…” brings me to my knees that I would reflect the Shekhinah Glory of my LORD. Shekhinah is usually said to be the resting place or dwelling place of God. He lives within us, His temple. Manifesting Him to this world is our calling. May it be so.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). To be sanctified is to be set apart, dedicated to God. He cleanses us externally with the Blood of Christ, purifies us internally by renewing our minds and souls. We are different. We are set apart from the world. This is certainly not an easy calling, yet as Christians, God stands with us always. With that said, our adornment is not merely outward. It certainly counts as that is what others see first. But God calls us to live reverently, using good judgment and wisdom. We are to walk in a manner honoring Him.
For these next three sessions we will take bite size chunks of 1 Peter 3:3-4. Our goal is to know what makes us precious in God’s sight.
LORD, we ask, as we draw near to You, that You teach us Your ways that make us precious children in Your sight. We want to reflect the Light and Love of Jesus to this world. Guide us and hold us close to Your heart. Clothe us with Your strength and dignity. Cover us with the beauty of Your Love. Adorn us with Your wisdom and knowledge. May we be a sweet fragrance to You. In the Beautiful Name of Jesus. Amen.
1. Picture in your mind a busy street in your town or city. It is difficult not to notice at least one girl, one woman with a revealing neckline or jeans sitting well below the belly button. What does her attire say to you as you pass her by or see others take a glance?
2….and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 What does “humility clothing” look like to you?
3. Take time this week to look up the Scriptures from today’s lesson for further study and pondering. Come back here to share for I would love to know what God places on your heart in your quiet times with Him.
Photo 1: “Chatting” by Harry Keely; stock.xchng;
Photo 2: “Belly Button Beauty” by Dewlittle; stock.xchng;