Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting
the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be
hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the
a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great
price.For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in
God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands... 1 Peter
In part ONE of this study I really saw how the plan for a woman to live out her faith in Christ as a wife, is really no different than it is for any other born-again one. We're all to be living our lives here as sojourners and pilgrims, characterized by:
- fixing our eyes on our living hope of eternal life not on this world and it's troubles
- living as obedient children not conforming to our old fleshly habits but being holy in our conduct
- abstaining from fleshly lusts which war against our souls
- being submissive to earthly authorities, doing good without fear
- having pure conduct around unbelievers (Gentiles)
In part TWO what really stuck out to me was that God uses wives (and other people too, but He DOES USE WIVES) to win husbands the same way He uses the rest of His sojourners and pilgrims to win unbelievers and earthly authorities- BY CONDUCTING OUR LIVES IN SUCH A WAY AS TO EXCITE REVERENCE! And that "winning" is not just for unbelieving husbands but for believing ones too since, as Jesus said, if a brother listens to us when we talk with them about their sin we gain them.
I realized that no matter if a husband is a believer or not, God may very well use that man's believing wife to bring him to Christ AND to grow him up in Christ, not through nagging or teaching him, but through living that "exciting reverence" life around him.
So that brings me to today's part THREE of this study:
A Sojourning Wife's Adornment
A sojourning wife is a very important description. See, the instructions to wives in the Bible are not just arbitrary or demeaning assignments from God because we're women. Rather being a woman or wife, is just one area of life where we live out our Christianity. God's word emphasizes that being a wife does not make us exempt from living out our lives here as strangers and pilgrim's by faith, not by sight, in holiness, not in fulfilling our every desire, etc. Just because our husbands are our loves, our closest buds, our knights-in-shining-armor (or even if they're modern-day Nabal's) doesn't leave room for us to slack off on living this sojourning life as one who has been born again around them.
Just as a sojourning wife is to live a life which excites reverence while she willing submits to her own husband, doing good in her day to day, a sojourning wife is also to adorn herself differently than a carnal wife.
I found the original meaning of the word adorning in these verses very interesting.
Adorning means: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
ornament, decoration, adornment.
So adorning means cosmetics and clothes and such (ornament, decoration...), but it also means a harmonious arrangement or order. PERFECT! Why am I so surprised!? Of course God's word is perfect! This is why I get so jazzed about looking up the original language, cause it just is perfect!
Okay, let me explain my excitement there. See, the description from Peter in this passage about how a wife is not to be merely concerned with her outward appearance but with being meek and quiet and submissive to her husband in regards to how she "adorns" herself basically spells out the definition of adorning in the Greek. There is to be regard to our ornament or decoration, but not MERELY with that. For that's only part of the definition of adorning. Overshadowing our ornament and decoration is to be what's hidden: the harmonious arrangement of meekness and quietness in the God-designed order of submission to one's own husband.
Yes, we are to "paint the barn" so to speak (maintain our outward appearance) and cover the windows (put on modest clothes) but what truly decorates us from God's perspective is what isn't seen with eyes.
As I read through these two verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4 three characteristics of our adornment as sojourning wives stand out to me:
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3
As I've studied out what meekness means and as I've listened to wise teachers teach on this subject I really hear the Spirit saying, "It's confidence Sheila. Not self-confidence, or haughtiness but just the opposite- true confidence. It's knowing God is on the throne and not having to bring about your own justice. It's being calm, gentle and mild while God deals swiftly and perfectly with any injustice."
In fact Crosswalk.com has this definition:
Praus- mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. Meekness
toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us
as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the
meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend
them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is
permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect,
and that He will deliver His elect in His time.
Now ladies our husband's DO look at our outward appearance, they DO see how we care for our "barns" and windows :) So we must not neglect to care for our appearance as though that's what God is saying here. But even if our outward appearance isn't to our own or our husband's or the latest-trend's satisfaction, we are not to be consumed or burdened by that care. We are to be concerned with what others "see" without their eyes and what God always see whether others notice or not. And that is the hidden person of our hearts.
There is a wonderful feeling of peace and acceptance that comes with being around a truly meek woman. She's no doormat. She's not sheepish or prudish, rather she's about the business of doing good and she's so concerned with you that you barely even notice how she's done her hair or what she's wearing. She doesn't draw your attention to her, she draws your attention to Christ as she displays a quiet confidence in His sovereignty over her life.
When I've been around these kinds of women I feel I'm in the safest place in the world! They just emit confidence in God. They aren't worried about every little thing, nor are they looking to be sure their lipstick or hair hasn't been disturbed. They are rather those who you'll hear giving thanks for things that are easy to miss in the stresses of life and the consumption with self that we can all easily slip into. And when you get to know them, they don't live lives free from turmoil either, on the contrary, many are dealing with terrible trials and some with daily drudgery, but either way they are confident in God's love and sovereignty.
Well, this is turning out to be a longer post than I anticipated so I'll just stop there. Next time I'll take up quietness and submission.
As you go your way today though, seek the Lord on these things. I know I am going to. Studying these things out makes me long for more of Him to be lived out and seen in me!
Oh King Jesus, hear me now! I want to walk in that confidence, that meekness that is only found in You daily. I know You live in me and I know I've fed the flesh and not walked in the Spirit many, many, many times when it comes to this. I've been concerned with my outward appearance but not consciously concerned with displaying confidence in Your sovereignty. Rule me Lord! Search me and know me. Try me! See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way that is everlasting!