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Gentle Spirit

May 20, 2011

“Instead, 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.”

The ladies in the house should recognize that passage. Or am I the only woman who struggled with that portion of scripture? It ranks right up there with Proverbs 31.

But in case you don’t remember it, or avoided it for so long you no longer know it:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” 1 Peter 3:3-5

 

I avoided it for quite a while myself. You see, I am not a gentle, quite spirit, not by nature. I am loud, and passionate, and boisterous and bossy and confrontational. When I started really having a relationship with God and trying to be what I thought of as a meek Christian, I’d often fall into condemnation. I’d cringe when I would come across this passage in Peter particularly. One day the Holy Spirit patted me on the shoulder and imparted I should skip that part while I didn’t know what it meant. Now, because this is what my burning ears were longing to hear I didn’t even question if it was me or God!

In the mean time I went to reading Proverbs through the month. You know, the old stand by of a Proverb a day. I was such a young and “on fire” student, eager to do and know more. It wasn’t long after and our pastor promoted a yearly Bible. I’d tried a few times to read the Bible all the way through and, as so many, trying to start from the beginning, I got stuck in the “begats”. But I did actually make it past there one time and got all the way to Job.

As I was going through this Bible, minding my own business, one day I saw it coming. The dread began to gather like storm clouds on the horizon. What was I going to do with this passgage from Peter? Nothing to it but to forge ahead.

So, I took a deep breath and plunged in: “… the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…” Another tap from the Holy Spirit. Um… that means, don’t be a nag to your husband…

IMMEDIATELY passages from Proverbs (remember the Proverb a day?) popped into my head:

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Proverbs 21:9 & 25:24

God thought so much of that he said it TWICE!

I got excited: HEY! I can DO that! I can’t be a more timid person – I’ve tried, and I hated it. But, I CAN gripe less. I CAN be less argumentative. I CAN say something in a kinder way. And I CAN definitely learn to keep my mouth shut and not nag about something I’ve already expressed an opinion on. I felt a great freedom not oppression. It was oppressive when I tried to use my definition of being a different personality, temperament, “spirit”. But when I waited on the Lord to show me HIS definition and application, then I was not only given knowledge and understanding, but wisdom. I was so thankful.

Gentleness expresses itself like this: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Eph. 4:29

And that is the gentleness of a meek and quiet spirit submitted to God.

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