“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair, and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
Ahhh the famous and frequently quoted passage about wives! Many a female feather has been ruffled through the ages at the thought of this ideal yet thoroughly plain, unadorned, unbraided wife, quietly being submissive to her man!
However, these verses are perfect fodder for misinterpretation- we (especially women) are ready to roll our eyes with all the drama we can muster when we read about this apparent beauty. Most of us love our fine clothes. And what girl doesn’t like a little gold jewelry? And our hair… we may not braid it per se, but we kind of enjoy having a good hair day!
Before we get hyper-defensive, it doesn’t actually say, “Thou shalt not wear nice clothes and accessorize with a little bling”. It merely states our BEAUTY should not come from these added extras. Generally, we feel better about ourselves when we look good, and I’m pretty sure most husbands appreciate the effort made on the prettiness scale. But the outward appearance isn’t the whole picture. True beauty comes from something much deeper, something hidden below the exterior.
These days it’s relatively easy finding ways to improve our outer appearance, and we are enticed into trying all manner of beauty preservation; spa treatments, regular exercise, hair stylists, healthy eating, flattering clothing, dental work, even drastic plastic surgery!
But what about ways to improve our “inner self”? How can we make the inside so beautiful that it shines through no matter what the shell looks like?
Our western world now seems to be acknowledging the need for taking time from our crazy rat race pace and nurturing the inside as well as the outside. It comes in various forms from meditation, yoga, New Age exercises, to “finding ourselves” and “being one” with nature.
Sadly, these methods of centering ourselves, listening to our inner voice, and looking inward are not the answer. We are looking in the wrong direction- within US. Dwelling on our own shortcomings and imperfections are not going to give us a “gentle and quiet spirit” which translates into beauty.
We will only find unfading beauty in Jesus.
I happen to believe the Creator of every magnificent sunset and each perfect pink rose knows a thing or two about beauty, and this beautiful gentle and quiet spirit we read about here is ours for the taking, and is “of great worth in God’s sight.” If it’s worth a lot to God, it should be worth a lot to us, too.
No amount of time primping our appearance or even digging within ourselves will ever compare with looking to Jesus; gazing at Him with our full attention, allowing His beauty to work in us, and ultimately shine through us.
Carving out precious moments to be in His presence, learning from His Word, enjoying His love and peace as we commune with Him- that is the beauty regime to strive for. When we live in the light of His love, we share something of Him with those around us.
No potion, lotion, or tip of gorgeousness can compare.
The outer shell is just that- a shell. But we have potential to let the beauty of Jesus shine through us from the inside out.
And it is… beautiful.