Your 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 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
Read: 1 Peter 3:1-7; Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-8
Consider: We live in a world that is obsessed with beauty and the illusion of beauty, even into older age. The beauty industry pampers to people’s desire to remain beautiful at all costs and plastic surgeons cater for those who want their ageing bodies to look youthful again.
The Bible, however, teaches that Christians should be more concerned about their spiritual appearance than their outward looks. In 1 Peter 3 we are told that beauty should not be seen in terms of outward adornment – elaborate hairstyles, jewellery or fine clothes (v3), but instead should come from a gentle and quiet spirit (v4). Notice the words used to describe this beauty are ‘unfading beauty’. While our bodies age and lose their beauty, our spirits do not. This links to a verse from 1 Corinthians 2:4 where it says: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Reading 1 Peter 3 it would be very easy to push the responsibility for inner beauty on to the women in the church. Are they the only ones tempted to push back the ravages of time? Are they the only ones who are to develop a gentle and quiet spirit? Thankfully the Bible recognises the weakness of all human beings (men and women) to want to maintain their outward attractiveness.
Gentleness of spirit is something all Christians are called to develop. In Ephesians 4:2 we are told: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Also in 1 Peter 3:15 we read: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks yo to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. This gentleness is emphasised in Philippians 4:5 where it says: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. These passages make it clear that gentleness of spirit is something that both men and women should be seeking in their lives.
Have you wondered how this gentleness should be ‘evident to all’. Read what it says in Philippians 2:5 – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. The key, therefore, to this gentleness is to become more Christlike.
Pray: Father, we ask that our desire would not be to maintain earthly beauty, but to seek to become more Christlike, so as to develop the unfading beauty that pleases you. Amen