Tonight in my reading, I hit upon that famous phrase from 1 Peter 3 that I formerly disliked intensely:
[Your beauty] 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: 4 (NIV)
I used to think, “Well, I guess I don’t have inward beauty – because I am neither gentle nor quiet!”
At least the NIV doesn’t say that the gentle and quiet spirit is “precious” in God’s sight as the ESV does. I can’t imagine being called “precious” as in “My, isn’t she precious?” Nope. Not me!
Ok. I am now going to cheat. I am going to use part of a post I wrote a few years ago about this very passage:
I think that most Christian women carry around a definition of the phrase “gentle and quiet” that does not necessarily reflect what the Bible means.
The word for gentle in scripture is also translated “meek” and is often used to describe Jesus. The English translation doesn’t do justice to the meaning of the word. It makes Jesus seem weak. The true meaning is far from that.
“Gentle” is an attitude primarily exhibited towards God. It’s that trust by which Jesus accepted God’s will at Gethsemane. There is great strength and power in such gentleness, that which allowed Jesus to move forward to the Cross.
When we rest in the circumstances God brings to bear in our lives, thanking Him for the difficult as well as the easy, when we don’t dispute or resist His will, we are likewise gentle.
When we rest in God’s sovereign care, no matter our life circumstances, we are being gentle. We rest in His hands peacefully, trusting Him with our lives.
Our Gentleness before God is reflected towards men in our Quietness. Quietness in this case isn’t being quiet as in mealy-mouthed or not talkative.
Instead, quiet is an attitude of tranquility that arises out of gently trusting God. Quietness doesn’t disturb other people. We can be very talkative, yet be quiet within and towards others. And we can be very outwardly quiet while our inward turmoil negatively affects those around us. (And that inward unquiet is often expressed in less obvious forms of control – like being passive-aggressive or codependent.)
When I think now of being Gentle and Quiet, I think of rest, of trust, of letting go of control, of feeling loved and cared for no matter what happens. I think of a Dove, not a Pigeon (see The Dove and the Pigeon post).
So, that’s what I wrote a few years ago.
I am still not so gentle and rather loud on the outside, but hopefully, I am becoming gentler and quieter within.
I do believe God brought pressure to bear to help me trust Him more and to quiet down – and stop complaining.
He transformed me just a little using the storms in my life these last few years, the “dusky hour” (not so bad as dark night) of my soul, and his felt (but not real) absence (no, He did not hang up… He just turned down the volume).
And I am so grateful! AMEN!!
Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 45:1-46:24, Psalm 137:1-7, Proverbs 29:8, 1 Peter 3:1-22. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).