God Sees The Heart. So Should Everyone Else.
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. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Culture teaches us that we need to be noticed. And the only way to be noticed is to flaunt what we have. Women in particular have been listening to this lie for millennia. During the time when the writer of this Scripture lived, they women adorned themselves with beautiful hair styles, heavy perfume (quite costly and showed the potential of their dowry if unmarried, or the affluence of their husband if they were married…), and precious metal jewelry.
Today, it is how much skin can you show, how tight can you make your clothes, and how much bling you can safely wear without tipping over. And while that certainly will get a woman attention from all who see her, is it the type of attention she is truly seeking? Fishermen know that whatever you bait your hook with will determine what type of fish you will catch. For disciples of Christ, this type of adornment is not at all in keeping with God’s plan for attractiveness and beauty. This type of adornment is designed to evoke worldly desire from men and envy from women. While that may seem desirable because it provides immediate feedback to the woman, it underscores the problem that the Christian community has in general: Disciples of Christ have adopted modern cultural definitions of beauty rather than the Biblical model for beauty.
Peter then goes on to remind women (remember, this is nothing new – it was going on two thousand years ago as well…) that they should adorn themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
If a woman dresses like a street-walker, there should be no surprise if salacious men cat-call and undress her (and more than she already is) with their eyes. If a woman dresses in Armani and Pravda and (name any other fashion mogul who designs outlandishly priced clothing and accessories), they should not be surprised when thieves and burglars stalk her to lighten her burden of wearing and carrying all of her clothing and accessories, or the vacuous playboys who will try to woo her heart to make her their sugar-mama. People will crowd around like friends until the money dries up. Then the leeches of society will move on to other feeding grounds.
Women must ask themselves a question: What “bait” will I put on to attract a Godly man? Godly men are attracted to women who have a gentle and quiet spirit. Godly men attune their eyes and hearts to women who display this type of beauty.
When women put on a gentle and quiet spirit, they exhibit the character that Godly women of old used to display. They showed great respect for their husbands and others, didn’t gossip, and dressed modestly so as not to entice LUST in the hearts of potential suitors or even other Godly men trying to keep their hearts pure. When people can’t determine what’s beneath the clothing, they look to see what’s in the character. When women show respect to God and others, that is like a bright light to moths for potential Godly husbands. Proverbs has a lot to say about women and character. Proverbs 31 tells of a woman of noble character. And here are a few choice other ones as well:
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
of a leaky roof in a rainstorm;
restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.
A foolish child is a father’s ruin,
and a quarrelsome wife is like
the constant dripping of a leaky roof.
Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
Women are prone to fear. Their very nurturing nature predisposes them to assess potential dangers and to avoid them. While this is a very useful skill, it has a tendency to bleed into all other areas of life, and can cause great distress as they try to fight the response to flee. Women are able to summon great courage, and fiercely protect their families, but this generally comes out when they are cornered. It is when they are blind-sided or can see danger at a distance that fear envelops them.
Peter encourages women to let go of fear, for God is sovereign and is MORE THAN ABLE to protect them through their circumstances. When women can let go of fear, God is able to use them more powerfully in every situation. While the fear response has its place (seek shelter from tornadoes and lightning storms, lock the doors and go to the panic room when crowds come shooting up and burning down the town, etc.), so does trusting God in every circumstance.
A Qualifying Question
Women, let’s ask a question: Do I exalt myself before men, or do I let God exalt me before men?
Men, let’s ask a question: What attracts me most to the woman I desire?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have shown me that it is You that I need to please, and not men. Help me to dress in a way that honors You. Help me to cloth myself with the character of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to live this life free of fear, for You are sovereign over all. Help me to do what is good and right so that I will honor you with my body, words, and thoughts. This I ask in Jesus Name, Amen.