“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves… Do good and do not fear anything that is frightening… Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:3-6,14-16
“Panic is contagious, but so is calm.” This was the mantra of a special forces agent in a novel I recently read, and one that rings true in getting to the hidden person we cultivate. What we practice in our day to day becomes a continuing habit for us, permeates our attitude, and spreads in our atmosphere. What we hide inside and allow to take up residence will unfurl its aroma and personality in the external and visible.
Effort I expend on outward appearance will result in just that– external adornment, where eventually hair thins, skin wrinkles with age, jewelry corrodes, and clothing fades. Flattery is fleeting. Effort I spend on keeping a quiet heart, maintaining a gentle spirit, will result in something far better that is beautifully imperishable, and have its effect on the way I manage life’s onslaught of good and bad, including suffering, precarious situations, bad news, loss, and disappointment. The hidden person at peace will attract others to the hope, contentment, and serenity that shows, and open opportunities to speak of Jesus. (Matthew 5:16; 6:19-22)
We have limited time, energy, material means. In what are we investing? Do we separate these resources into ‘buckets,’ and squander whole segments on what does not matter or last? (Do we separate our Sunday spiritual from the rest of our week’s practical?) Or do we see that in Christ, every resource is interdependent on the others, since God is the Giver, and all should be filtered through the same eternal lens and filter? (James 1:17)
What need we adjust to reverse “when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” in our homes and workplaces? Where can I integrate graciousness, cheerfulness, and quiet calm into my demeanor and reactions, my expressions, body language, and words, so my attitude that is caught is life-giving? How can I better reflect Jesus to others, and make Him winsome?
Father, adorn me with Your Spirit. May peace and gentleness and my hope in You cause others to regard You as holy, and put their hope and trust in You, too.