Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit - Part 1

"Your adornment must not 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

In Scripture, God has given specific instructions to women regarding their character which together paint a beautiful picture of what a godly woman is to be like. One of these sections, found in 1 Peter 3, I have found to be greatly convicting, especially verses 3-4. As I read these verses, I long to become this gentle and quiet woman. Oftentimes I wonder, though, what do these words really mean? What would these qualities look like lived out in daily life? How would I implement these?

Looking at the meanings of the words, brings a whole new understanding of what our adornment is to be. Gentle (or meek as used in the KJV) means gentle, meek, the positive moral quality of dealing with people in a kind manner with humility and consideration. Vine’s dictionary adds another element to this word ‘meek’ as it defines it as “gentle, of a soothing disposition” and that “Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.”

As ladies, then, we should strive to be calm, having a soothing nature in spirit. Our voice should be gentle and calm, not loud, boisterous, or hard. Our words should be ones of humility and gentleness, soft and kind (though not to be misunderstood as compromising or weak). Speaking the truth, but with mildness and calmness. Not seeking our own, but seeking to serve and bless others.

By the definition, another aspect of meekness is to be “neither elated, nor cast down”. These are two extremes. Things go well, one soars and is exuberant, elated. Things don’t go as one plans, one crashes and has a downcast face and spirit. But the young lady with a gentle/meek spirit will not have these extremes in her character. Instead it will be: things go well, she praises the Lord. Things do not go well, she praises the Lord. She knows that He will work in both of the circumstances for His glory.

'Quiet' is a word closely associated with meekness and it refers to the spirit or disposition of a person. The Websters 1828 Dictionary of the English Language defines 'quiet' (as used in 1 Peter 3:3-4) as peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble; mild; meek; contented.

Peaceable: Christ promises His peace to His children, not as the world gives, but a peace which passes all understanding. (John 14:27, Philippians 4:7). “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” Colossians 3:15. This peace should reside in one’s heart no matter how terrible or heart-wrenching the circumstances. The spirit of one resting in Christ will not be turbulent when trials or difficulties arise, but will respond with calmness and tranquility, trusting in the Lord. This peace comes in knowing that our God is in control; that He loves us; that He is upholding us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10); that He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Not giving offense: It is important that we not be a stumbling block or an offense to others by not having this special quality of a gentle and quiet spirit being exhibited in our lives. (Again, not to be confused with compromising the truth). We are to be “giving no offense in anything so that the ministry will not be discredited” 2 Corinthians 6:3 and “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18. One thought given in the Vine’s dictionary is that offense refers to something which leads others into error or sin. If we are exhibiting the opposite of a gentle and quiet spirit, this could easily happen as others respond to us.

To be continued . . .

-Posted by Sarah

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