BEAUTY WINS THE DAY
What is beauty?
The people of the world focus on the visible beauty of shape, form and colour. Glossy magazines are full of pictures of beautiful women garbed in the latest of outrageous fashions. They spend huge amounts of money on draping and adorning their bodies with garments and makeup to enhance their visual attraction. When the body begins to show the inevitable sagging and bagging of age, they do whatever they can to reverse the process.
However, all this focus on their outward appearance and efforts to retain their youthful looks are of no account when their lives fall apart in the process. Outward beauty is too fragile and transient to sustain health and happiness. Many of them go from relationship to relationship, from husband to husband in a futile effort to find happiness, peace and contentment but beauty alone cannot hold people together.
What is true beauty?
Peter, in his first letter, gives us a glimpse into God’s definition of beauty. He is addressing wives of unbelieving husbands. What can they do to win their husbands to faith in Jesus? Some wives resort to a variety of tactics in an effort to persuade their husbands to turn to the Lord as they have done. Unfortunately, many of their tactics only succeed in antagonising, rather than winning them.
Peter says, “I know a sure-fire way to win your husbands without saying a word.”
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives (1 Pet. 3:1).
So, what is this secret weapon Peter encourages wives to use to win their husbands for the Lord?
Here comes the word again – beauty!
Is Peter saying, “Turn on the charm”? Or perhaps, “Make yourself as attractive as possible so that he will listen to you”? I don’t think so. It hasn’t worked before so why would you think it would work just because Peter said so. No, he has a far simpler way to impress your spouse so that he will listen to you.
Cultivate inner beauty!
You beauty should not come from outward adornment such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. 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 (1 Pet. 3:3).
A gentle and quiet spirit? Did you get that? God prizes a gentle and quiet spirit – no competition for power, no selfish I-want-my-own-way attitude, no pouting and sulking when I am crossed, no manipulating with words or moods. You know what I’m talking about.
What is a gentle and quiet spirit? Psa. 18:35 throws light on the meaning of gentleness.
“Thy gentleness hath made me great” (KJV) or “You stoop down to make me great” (NIV).
The Hebrew word for “gentleness” means clemency – the disposition to show forbearance, compassion, or forgiveness in judging or punishing; leniency; mercy. (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/clemency – retrieved April 2016.
Most Bible translators use the word “gentleness” to translate the Hebrew. I love the older NIV’s use of the words “stoop down”. They give me the picture of the God who is great, high and lifted up, stooping down to my level to lift me up. That’s just what He did when He came to earth to be one of us.
The focus on external beauty, in the end, does nothing to foster harmonious relationships. In fact, most of the time it does the opposite because it focuses on self. However, when I willingly and deliberately stoop down in my spirit to show clemency – to be compassionate, forgiving and merciful to lift another up, we are drawn to one another, not alienated by selfish attitudes.
“Gentleness” pops up as the characteristic of a child of God in more than one place in Scripture. Jesus called people to follow Him, to take His yoke and learn from Him because, as He said, “I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” Did you get that? Gentleness produces rest, not strife both inside oneself and in one’s interaction with others.
How can we, who are naturally selfish and competitive, learn to be gentle, not vying for position and always wanting to be right, but stooping down to lift another up? There is only one way.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Gentleness is not a quality we can produce out of our old, sinful natures. It is a characteristic of the one who is led by the Holy Spirit. It is the outflow of His life, the nature of Jesus which He forms in us as we yield to Him, moment by moment.
Jesus explained to His disciples that greatness comes from serving others, not expecting to be served. The more we choose to serve instead of being served, the more gentle we will become, the Holy Spirit nurturing the very qualities in us that made Jesus great.
Do you want to be beautiful with a beauty that never fades with time? Work on your gentleness and, strangely enough, your outer beauty will reflect the inner, no matter how much time ravages your physical frame.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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