Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Which Wisdom?

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13

σοφία

sophia

wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):—wisdom.

This word in the Greek can mean either worldly or spiritual wisdom:

  1. wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters
    1. the wisdom which belongs to men
      1. spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs
      2. the science and learning
      3. the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
      4. the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision
      5. skill in the management of affairs
      6. devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
      7. the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living
    2. supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God
      1. to Christ
      2. the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures

(In the) meekness: πραΰτηςis, prautēs: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, humility

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James: The order of things here laid down. Envying is first and excites strife; strife endeavours to excuse itself by vain-glorying and lying; and then hereupon ensue confusion and every evil work. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion, and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such disorders raise many temptations, strengthen temptations, and involve men in a great deal of guilt. One sin begets another, and it cannot be imagined how much mischief is produced: there is every evil work. And is such wisdom as produces these effects to be gloried in? This cannot be without giving the lie to Christianity, and pretending that this wisdom is what it is not.

As I live in this world, I can embody myself (as do others around me) a wisdom that I can call my own, and which, in reality, is not true to God Whom I know wants better for me. He does not want me to think I am better than someone else or think I know more than others. I sin. I am a sinner. That is all there is that!!

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 16:25

I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

The opposite of worldly wisdom is so beautifully described in the following verses of James 3:17 –

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Pure: ἁγνός, hagnos: exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean; spiritual integrity, moral sincerity

Peaceable: εἰρηνικός, eirēnikos: relating to peace, peaceable, pacific, peace loving, bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary, peace promoting

Gentle: ἐπιεικής, epieikēs gentle, moderation, patient; able to be in hard circumstances yet be kind, courteous, patient, having no hatred nor revenge

(Open to) reason: εὐπειθής, eupeithēs: easily obeying, compliant, obedience to God’s standards

(Full of) mercy: ἔλεος, eleos: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful; of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ; the mercy of Christ, whereby at His return to judgment He will bless true Christians with eternal life; ability to forgive quickly

(Good) fruits: καρπός, karpos: fruit: the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields; the fruit of one’s loins, i.e. his progeny, his posterity. That which originates or comes from something, an effect, result: work, act, deed; advantage, profit, utility; praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering, to gather fruit (i.e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in fig. discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life

Impartial: ἀδιάκριτος, adiakritos: undistinguished, unintelligible; without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty; consistent, unwavering, undivided in commitment

Sincere: ἀνυπόκριτος, anypokritos: undissembled:—without dissimulation (hypocrisy), unfeigned

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18

Righteousness: δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosynē: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. In a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.

What I find wonderfully curious is that using spiritual wisdom, wisdom from God, in the world can convict heart and minds and souls, including mine!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Father, Your wonderful Word speaks for itself. I see the difference between the two types of wisdom far more clearly today than when I began. I have barely written any words myself. I pray you use Your Word and the words of Mr. Henry, the definitions from the Bible dictionaries to speak Your Truth to any one reading. I do not boast in myself, but I boast in You, glorify You and love You for all that You are to me for all that You do and will do through me. You teach me daily for which I am ever grateful. May I be bold with mindfulness that I am a tool in Your hands. May I be peaceable and gentle as Your heart is towards me. May I be obedient to You, to Your Truth. May I bear fruit in this world where I sojourn so that others would see the light of Christ in and through me. May these things be so, my Lord. In the Glorious Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Photo of sky/clouds: dimitrisvetsikas1969 (lives on Cyprus)

photo of James 3:14-16 – IMAGE BY JENNY KENT @ PicsArt

James 3:17 photo/graphic: https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/

“Wisdom from Above” photo: cloud photo from Pinterest with added graphics by me

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Fruit of the Spirit – Colorfully

I am just in a pondering and color-filled mood.

By repentance, admission of my sins, and acceptance of Christ Jesus as my LORD and Savior, I have received the Holy Spirit.  As I abide in Him and He in me, the fruit of the Vine can grow in me.  I must stay close, receiving the life-giving sap from the True Vine so that I will live the fruit before the eyes and hearts of others.  May this be so, Father.   

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self Control

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say,  rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I ponder the fruit of the Spirit, I want to live them as well as think upon such as these.  The words of my mouth should be true to You, LORD.  I pray that this would be so.  I thank You for gifting me with such lovely gifts that are useable for eternity.  I know that I will never receive a gift from You that I dislike and do not want to keep.   You bless me with each one.  I want to bless you by walking in Your Presence and clinging to You, my Vine.  Thank You, LORD.  I pray in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

 

befuschiasig

 

God's Word · Pondering

Evidence of Focus

Let your gentle [spirit] be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Philippians 4:5 NASB

philippians4_5

LORD, as I fix my eyes upon You, the Holy One of Israel, the One Who is noble, true, praiseworthy, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, may I see You, really see You.  May the truth of You envelop me, caress me, and teach me to let the candle in me shine forth to this world around me.  May Your peace enfold me, LORD, that I would be the gentle and quiet spirit You have called me to be.  “…but [let it be] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  1 Peter 3:4   May my very being be continuously filling with the evident truth that I am coming to know You in Your holiness and Your beauty.  Through this Truth, may I continue to grow to be the person You desire me to be from the inside-out.  I pray this be so, in Your Holy Name, Amen.  

 

Graphic:  Heartlight.org – http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1688.html

Bible Study · God's Word · Pondering

A Heart Adorned — Part Four of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.

May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen.
 

A Heart Adorned
Part Four

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:3-4 (NASB)

Welcome back to “A Heart Adorned”, our final day on these two verses in 1 Peter 3.  Our focus today is on what “is precious in the sight of God.”  As we walk with You, LORD, may the precious jewels hidden in our hearts be uncovered so that we would become a brighter beacon to Your world.  

Just as we can easily believe that our outward appearance is of importance in who we are, so too must we consider this outer shell to be precious to God.  He created our bodies.  His Holy Spirit dwells in our body-temple.  Caring for it should be of prime importance.  Caring for God’s temple is important and truly necessary.  Yet our bodies, clothes, makeup, and jewelry are only our outward appearance.  God knows the beautiful bodies He created and considers them all such and we must remember that.  It is important to see ourselves in the mirror through God’s eyes, seeing the beauty He created without judging ourselves by worldly standards.

In my young adult years, I really struggled with self confidence and esteem.  With a little help from a precious friend, I began looking into the mirror and saying, “I love you, Linda”.  I said that a couple of times each day, but I could not look myself in the eyes in the mirror when I said those words.  Yet I kept it up.  One day, well into the third month, I caught my eye in my reflection and turned, focusing on myself, and said, “I love you, Linda”.  I repeated the words several times, each time looking myself straighter in the eyes.  I began to see myself differently.  Over time, with repetitive reflection, I began to see the love of God towards me, knowing that He created me, beginning to discern that He loved me.  And I began to see the inward beauty of my hidden heart.  God knows the inner me, the inner you, and wants His beauty to shine and be reflected to His world.  Look at the reflection of the roses in the picture.  The reflection is near perfect in the glass compared to the actual roses.  Imagine we are those roses with all their beauty reflecting Christ as He is beautiful.  Allow the world to see Christ in us.

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 good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).   Belonging to Christ does not eliminate the pressures of the world.  In Christ, our lives are changed as we become a new creation with ever-renewing minds.  We are the dew on the roses of today, sound minds grounded in Jesus, our LORD, to discern His will.  This word “discern” in Greek is “dokimᾱzo”, meaning that “by putting something to use the worth of it can be found”.  Let’s look at some of what we can put to use for God’s Kingdom by finding that which is precious to Him.

  • Be adorned with modesty, discretionary taste, godliness–Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. (1 Timothy 2:9-10) 
  • Bearing fruit, we are God’s jewels.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • We grow from His incorruptible seed by abiding.  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
  • Embrace hope, chasteness, submission, obedience, reverential awe as many women of the Bible displayed.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear (1 Peter 3:5-6).  Mary, the mother of Jesus, Ruth, Esther, are just a few of God’s examples of holy women for us to ponder.
  • As we abide in the Word, we become an epistle, a letter to the world.  We speak His Truth without fear.  In purity, we do not malign the Word of God.  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:31-32)
  • Trust, hope, and love for God produces inner peace and a deep-seeded joy reflected in our countenance.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  (John 15:11)
  • Adorned in respect, dignity, integrity, security, consistency, graciousness, we bring light to the world.  A gracious woman retains honor,….  Proverbs 11:16a  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  (Titus 2:3-5)
  • Wisdom, discernment, and an inward righteousness are precious to God.  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11).
  • Glorifying God in all we do, in all we are is truly a part of our heavenly adornment.  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him!  Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;  (some versions of the Bible read – in the beauty of holiness, or in holy attire) (1 Chronicles 16:29).  “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us” (Psalm 90:17). 

 
LORD, we ask that You teach us Your ways so that we are clothed with Your beauty.  May we open our hearts and minds to Your revelations.  May we be willing to change, to grow, to cleanse our hidden hearts.  We love You, LORD, and want to please You in all we are and in all we do.  LORD, I love each precious woman joining us for this study.  Guard, guide, and grow Your daughters to be more precious day by day.  Remind them as they seek You that You created them beautifully.  Amen. 

CULMINATING QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:

What image are you reflecting to your world?
In what ways does your image affect the ripple effect?

Are you seeking the true beauty of holiness in your own life?  In what ways would you like your holy attire to change (permitting that we are not perfect!)?

 

Photo 1: “Rose Reflection” by Beverly Taz@stock.xchng  http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1147813 Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; permission granted

Photo 2: “prayer 7 alt” by KHRawlings@Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/khrawlings/3925045109/; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license;permission granted

Photo 3: “Ripples” by clix@stock.xchng; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; notified

Bible Study · God's Word · Pondering

A Heart Adorned — Part Three of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.
 May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen. 

 

A Heart Adorned
Part Three

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:3-4 (NASB)

Welcome back to “A Heart Adorned”.  Today, we reach toward understanding “the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit.”

Oh, I so wonder how I could shelter anything within me that is “imperishable”, “incorruptible”, “unfading”.  I am human.  I am just me.  Yet, God’s Word tells me that I am to “let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality”,  revealed in other versions of the Bible as “with the unfading beauty”,”with incorruptible beauty”.  The words “incorruptible” and  “imperishable” mean that something does not decay, or become corrupt or worsen with age.  The Revised Standard Version of the Bible says “imperishable jewel.”  Think of the diamonds, the rubies, the amethysts buried beneath the surface of the earth, covered, hidden, and even disguised by layers of rock and dirt.  We don’t know they are there until they come into the light, have the layers of dirt cleared off.  We have that precious jewel within us awaiting the indwelling of Christ.  The value of me increased when Christ came to dwell in me and even more so with each layer of worldliness removed.  I become more Christlike with every particle of dirt that is washed away.  Value grows with our years when we stay near to the LORD.  Our preciousness to God seeps out from the inner heart touching those we are with and near.

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides,….” 1 Peter 1:22-23 brings me to my knees as my heart wraps around these truths.  I am reborn, remade, renewed by the “incorruptible seed” of the Word.  I am new and beautiful because of His sacrifice for me, FOR ME!  FOR YOU!

This precious commodity is described as “a gentle and quiet spirit”.  Colossians 3:12 tells us that Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.   Humility is often translated as meek, quiet, gentle.  None of these words should be treated as inferior, weak, or worthless.  Being meek is wholly relying upon God in all situations, good or bad.  I have heard it described as “strength under control”.  A horse trained to plow a field is strong yet gentle, able to be guided, under control.  The etymology of the word meek in Old English is “soft, mild, gentle”, and “easily flexible” from the Middle English; from the Old Norse, is means “gentle, courteous, kind”–nothing negative in any of the original meanings.  God calls us to clothe ourselves in these characteristics.  A gentle person does not center upon the self, and is able to trust in God’s goodness and control over any situation.  Of course, this is not about us, our will, or determination.  It is about the Holy Spirit at work in us.  As we wear meekness and gentleness, we carry an easy temperament and a quiet obliging behavior.  We refrain from pride, jealousy, and uncontrolled anger.  Our soul becomes more beautiful to the eyes of the world.

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:19)  LORD, may we know this fresh joy, this incorruptible seed, know it as it flourishes within us.  One day the dirt and grime will be washed away.  May the sun hit upon this precious jewel.  And may we shine brightly to all those around.   May it be so in me, LORD.  May it be so in me.  May I exult in You, my Holy One.  May I shout in exultation.  Amen.

THINK ABOUT:
What are you clothed with this day that shines upon your world
speaking of your relationship with Jesus?

Has the word “meek” been a word you have disdained?  If so, how can you change that to fit with the Scripture in 1 Peter 3?

 

 

Graphic 1:  Zach Fonville/redferriswheel @ Flickr; http://www.flickr.com/photos/redferriswheel/3060090408/; Some Rights Reserved/Creative Commons license; permission granted

Statue: “Gentle Woman” by Quinn Dombrowski @ Flickr; http://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/3389946008/; Bonaventure Cemetery Set; Some Rights Reserved/Creative Commons license; notified

Bible Study · God's Word · Pondering

A Heart Adorned — Part Two of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.
May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen.

A Heart Adorned
Part Two

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:3-4 (NASB)

Welcome back to “A Heart Adorned”.  In session one, we pondered “Your adornment must not be merely external”.  We are called to shine from the inside-out so that the world will see Jesus in us through that which is our outer shell.  Today, we are peeking into “the hidden person of the heart”.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)  Oh, how we think so much about how others perceive us.  We dwell on being accepted, appreciated, or ridiculed, rejected.  As God’s daughters, we truly must take this scripture to heart and allow Him, and only Him, to mold us and make us into His image.  He is our judge and sees us for the women we are, from our heart.  He sees the spiritual beauty that is enveloped by the outer self.  He knows the steps we take towards becoming more beautiful each day.  The life we live, the speech we utter, the works we do, the care of our body-temple, the reading of His Word, the utterance of prayers to Him, the thoughts we think, our care of our children, respect for our husband, the integrity of our walk and our talk, and so much more makes up this hidden person of the heart.
A Heart Adorned -- Part Two of Four

The heart is not only for loving, but it is where the Holy Spirit dwells.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9)  The heart is our soul, the very center of our being.    The heart is where we are to live our days, dwelling in the wisdom and love of the Holy Spirit so that we are transparent to the world.  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

Another beautiful reminder is Psalm 51:6:  Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.  Oh, that we should be steadfastly listening with the ears and seeing with the eyes of our hearts.

When we asked Christ to come into our hearts, we were crucified with Him.  Our sins have been hung on that Cross with Him.  We have been made new.  Everyday is a new day for us.  Everyday is the beginning to live anew with our LORD.  We do not need to look back with an unforgiving spirit upon ourselves.  We do not need to wish we had not done something.  We start fresh by asking for forgiveness, by seeking His Ways, by being willing to be yoked with Him, that He would help us carry burdens, guide us in our steps, teach us as we go.   I love Luke 24:32:   They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”   Should not our hearts be burning, be set on fire as He teaches us from His Word?  As He speaks to us on the Way?  Oh, that my heart be ablaze!  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

There is a lovely song written by Albert W. T. Orsborn (1886-1967).  It is called “The Beauty of Jesus”:

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All His wonderful passion and purity
Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
When somebody has been so unkind to you.
Some words spoken that pierces you through and through.
Think how he was beguiled, spat upon and reviled.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. Amen.

LORD, may You refine me as silver, removing the dross, that I would be made more pure as You want me.  Abba, You love me as I am for You created me, yet I have wandered in and out of Your life during mine, and know that is not Your way for me.  Please take me as I am and make me wholly Yours.  Bring the parts of my heart that are unlike Christ to the surface so that I may be refined and purified.  Show me the hidden parts that are You that I may reflect them and glow before others in Your Holy Name.  Let Your Beauty be seen in me, LORD Jesus.  Amen.  

PONDER AND SHARE WITH US AS YOU WILL:
As you thinks about the words to Mr. Orsborn’s song, what is on your heart?

What is hidden in your heart that you reflect to others … positive and negative?

Have you asked the Holy Spirit into your heart?  If so, what is He teaching you?  Is your heart on fire?

And if the Holy Spirit has not been invited to dwell in you, please feel free to contact me @ BeingWoven@gmail.com  —  He desires to lives within you, sweet sister.
 
 

Photo 1: “Hidden” by Thomas Norsted, Denmark/stock.xchng; http://www.sxc.hu/photo/776852; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; permission granted

Song by Albert W. T. Orsborn:  “The Beauty of Jesus”–date of publication—1947

Image 2: “Branch with Hearts” by Renate Kalloch, Germany/stock.xchng; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1254865; notified

Bible Study · God's Word · Pondering

A Heart Adorned – Part One of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.
May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen. 
A Heart Adorned
Part One
    Let us consider 1 Peter 3:3-4–Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  (NASB)

     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.

As you are led please share with us any thoughts and answers to one or all of the following questions:

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;