"You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."
It’s not a cheap cop-out. The God of the universe created you and designed you in His image [Genesis 1:26; Psalm 139:13; Job 10:10] Before you click on another post because you think you've heard this one before, stick with me for a minute.
The lips you think are too small, the forehead you think is too wrinkly, the acne scars that you’re buying serum for: the world is constantly trying to get us to obsess over them. Instagram says you need a filter, your pores are too big, your hair need extensions, and you need to erase your wrinkles with that free editing app. Obsession with how we look is exactly what Satan needs to keep you from focusing on your God given call in life, your identity in Christ, and your purpose on earth.
So often I hear that verse [1 Peter 3:4] being used as a chastisement, that I forget it's also an encouragement: you are free from being a slave to your physical appearance!
There is absolutely no shame here in taking care of your appearance, having a 7 step skin care routine, or getting cosmetic procedures. You’re reading from a woman who gets Botox on a regular basis, has had filler, wore bad extensions for far too long, and has tried it all. The problem is not with doing things to enhance our natural beauty, girl fill your lips if you want to fill your lips! Taking care of the body that God has given you is taking care of the temple of the Holy Spirit God has made us [1 Corinthians 16:9].
You should definitely invest in your health, your body, and use your appearance as a tool to tell the world who you are [a strong, smart, godly, woman]. The problem is in thinking we need procedures, products, and knock off Bottega Veneta sandals to be beautiful. [Speaking from years of experience] The problem is when we have debilitating anxiety about not wearing makeup or someone posting a bad picture of us on Instagram. The problem is thinking we need filler, Botox, or extensions to be beautiful, and if we don’t get those things, we think we are ugly and will obsess over those “flaws” until we take care of them. The problem is letting the way we look, and taking perfect shots of our cute outfit for our next post, drive the direction of our lives. The problem is being a slave to how your face and or body look. Satan doesn’t even have to try that hard to derail us when those things take over our priorities, self worth, and life’s destiny, we are doing the work for him!
Your identity is in Christ [Romans 6:7-11; 1 John 5:1].
Your value is in Christ [Matthew 10:29-31].
God made you wonderfully [Psalm 139:14] .
Choosing to invest in the beauty of your spirit is what is going to help enhance your beauty.
Let’s be really honest, you’re probably going to get old. If we live long enough, we are all going to get old. No matter how much preventative Botox you get, no matter how many chin lifts you have, no matter how many face masks you do, if you live a long life you will get wrinkles, your hair will probably gray, and your skin will sag. That’s how life is. It’ll happen. And that's not to say that elderly people aren’t beautiful, but the things you’re letting control your mind, schedule, and finances are going to change with time. And I know someone is reading this thinking , “Yeah I’m going to get old, so I should spend my time looking hot now! If I’m going to get wrinkles I should take all the photos of my beautiful collagen while I still have it!” And let me say, you do you honey bunch! Take photos, admire what beauty God has given you if that's what you want to do! You are your own woman with your own life. But if you let it drive your whole life, then your mind, your thoughts, your quality of life, and the beauty of your spirit will suffer. You will become a slave to a thing that has no eternal weight or value. When the gray hair and wrinkles come, there won’t be a beauty of your spirit.
The choices you make now, the things you practice each day, will change the course of your life, good or bad. If you are creating habits to invest in God’s calling on your life and the unfading beauty of your spirit, then you are setting up your future self to do the same. Likewise, if you are focusing only on your face and your waistline, you are making decisions to set up your future that way. Don’t get me wrong, you can break those habits. I was deep into obsession with vanity, and it took years, actual years, to break those deep habits. I did it by God’s strength and the guidance of the Holy Spirit alone, and sometimes I still struggle, but I wasted years of my life spending all of my time and thoughts worrying about how many people actually liked my Instagram photo and thought my glow up was good.
Let’s take a second to dig into 1 Peter 3:4: “You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God...”
In context, Peter was writing to Christians who were all around Pontus, Galatia, Asia, Bithynia, and Cappadocia, which were regions of what was then Asia Minor [now Turkey]. In 1 Peter 3, Peter addresses women and directs them to lead people to Christ with their conduct and actions instead of sexually seducing/manipulating people with their sexuality or appearance into doing what they want. The last part of that verse is applicable to wives, "and [they] accepted the authority of their husbands." I read the word quiet and thought “oh boy, it all goes down here" because I might be gentle, but I am definitely not quiet. But it’s important to understand the etymology of the word “quiet” in this passage.
1 Peter is written in Greek, and the Greek word used in this passage is “ἡσύχιος” [“hēsýxios”]. HELPS Word Studies explains the definition as
"("calmly quiet") describes being "appropriately tranquil" by not misusing (or overusing) words that would stir up needless friction (destructive commotion).”
This word is used twice in the Bible. The other place it is used is 1 Timothy
2:1-2 “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”
We can see in these passages that “quiet” doesn’t mean a woman who keeps her mouth shut and is audibly not loud. This is a woman who is “not misusing (or overusing) words that would stir up needless friction (destructive commotion).”
A woman who isn’t tearing down others, isn’t stirring up needless conflict, and is keeping away from starting destructive commotions.
That means you can be a godly woman with a voice, an opinion, and it’s okay if you talk loud [truly great news for me, halleluiah Lord Jesus].
So, if we understand this, we can understand that investing in your spiritual beauty means investing time, thoughts, and energy into becoming a woman who does not start fights, refrains from gossip, steers clear from nonsensical drama, and doesn’t stir the pot for no reason. Not only should we stay away from those toxic behaviors, investing in the beauty of our spirit means becoming the antonym of that.
We have to also invest into being women who
And that's not even the full list! God's Word is chalked full of ways to be a woman of Him, a woman of beauty.
This was one of the best pieces of wisdom I received from someone: “no one is up at night thinking about you and checking your Instagram”. It definitely stung and I cried in my car in the parking lot after I heard that, but it was so freeing and so true! Girl, no one is zooming in on your forehead to check your wrinkles, no one is up at 1am searching through your grid to save all of the bad pictures of you, no one is obsessed with you like you might be obsessed with yourself. If you’re a former bachelorette contestant, Kardashian, or the start of a Disney Channel show and they are, then please understand that those people are so broken, hurt, and obsessed with their own insecurities that they are spending their valuable time trying to point out any flaw you have to make themselves hurt less.
I spend a lot of time [way too much time, don’t look at how many pins are on my Pinterest account] researching beauty treatments, skin products, and the perfect skin routines. Every morning and night I do my skin care: cleanse, tone, apply serums, moisturize, put on eye cream, etc. I have invested [way too] many days of my life into this, and so very often I forget to seriously invest in the beauty regimen of my spirit.
We have to research God’s Word, consult Him often in prayer, like our spiritual esthetician [don’t quote me on that it’s a very loose theological term here], and apply his Words many times daily to our lives.
Do not derail God’s destiny for your life or miss out on precious time to be spent beautifying your spirit by making your appearance your value. Your selfies, filler, and really pretty hair do not define your life. God gives you your value, your identity, and your beauty. Invest in that and live your life to the fullest.
Be so encouraged! You are probably going to get old, your physical appearance will change, but the beauty of your spirit will not if you take time to invest in it with God, the creator of beauty and all things.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;