Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Precious in God's Sight

And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NAS

I will never forget reading this Scripture for the first time. I was a new believer and I was reading it in the King James which translated it as “a meek and quiet spirit.” That sounded so foreign to me and to my personality. That description of a woman whose spirit was precious to God honestly seemed to me about as attractive as a cold bowl of oatmeal. Meek sounded wimpy and quiet?....well, that wasn’t going to happen. I was in a real quandary. I had been gloriously saved and loved the Lord with all my heart, but this woman was so far removed from my opinionated, “let’s both wear the pants” attitude. My husband and I had been married about a year and a half before we were saved. Strong patterns had already been established and none of it had to do with me being gentle and quiet. Unfortunately, I never had the blessing of an older woman taking me under her wing and giving me wise counsel. It seemed that everything I learned came the hard way and through trial and error. Fortunately, I have an extremely patient husband who loved a very headstrong and stubborn woman. We have been married for thirty-seven years and love each other dearly. So here are some things I learned.

I am a flower quickly fading here today and gone tomorrow. My outward beauty, what there ever was of it, is fading, but inwardly I know that I have grown lovelier. God looks at the imperishable quality of my spirit and He wants to see me looking more and more like His Son. Jesus yoked me together with himself and asked me to learn of him. He described himself as meek and lowly and he gave me a promise that I would find rest for my soul. (Mathew 11:29) As I read the gospels over and over I fell in love with the meek and lowly one. Nothing about Jesus’ personality was weak or insipid. I did find rest for my soul. My soul started out large and in charge, but slowly and surely my spirit grew and became meek and quiet.

Instead of trying to enforce my will in any given situation, I learned to tell my husband what I thought was the right course of action and then pray that God would give him the wisdom to make the right choice for our family. The result has been that my husband seeks my opinion. He values my opinion and doesn’t perceive it as an aggressive drive to have my own way. We can disagree without strife and rancor entering our relationship. I am not claiming we do this perfectly, but I can say that we have a very peaceful relationship and home.

I also learned that when my husband hurt my feelings that I didn’t have to retaliate. He is usually a soft spoken guy, but we were both under a lot of pressure. During that time he had really offended me. I was having this conversation in my head plotting how I was going to tell him off. Into the middle of these vengeful thoughts came this word into my spirit, “Carol, you will never know me as Defender. You are just too good at it yourself.” Of course I just melted into a confession of how much it had hurt and how if I didn’t stand up for myself who would? I laid down my right to retaliate. About a week later my husband came to me and apologized. He said the Lord had really convicted him about the way he had spoken to me. Then the Lord told him in no uncertain terms to stop it. Do unkind words still fall from our lips? Yes, we can still fall prey to our flesh, but it is pretty rare.

What I learned at home didn’t stay at home. I have found myself in situations within the church, in friendships, and business where a gentle and quiet spirit prevailed. The Lord has proven to me over and over again it is not a position of weakness but power. I don’t have to vie for position or try to manipulate people for my own advantage. When we walk in His ways, in His truth, empowered by His life within us He will direct our path and put us right where He wants us. Others around us may scheme and manipulate, but I would rather trust in the Lord and his ways. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
MY PRAYER: Lord, I thank you that you value the hidden person of the heart. You say a gentle and quiet spirit is precious to you. I thank you that the work you have done in my heart is a lasting and eternal work. How grateful I am that you have changed me to be like You. In Jesus wonderful name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: The outward appearance is fading but my spirit is eternal. I will allow you to continue to mold me inwardly into a gentle and quiet woman. This is imperishable and precious to You. I stand on your word!

No comments: