“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. 4 Rather, 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. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” NIV
In the central section of 1 Peter, which runs from 2:13-3:7, there is an over-arching theme of submission in relationships – relationships to the state, in the workplace and at home. Going hand-in-hand with this, we find a repeated emphasis on the power of goodness.
Not long after I went to Bible College, I heard the testimony of Graham and Treena Kerr, when they spoke one Sunday evening at Guildford Baptist church. At one time, Graham was quite a celebrity, famous for his television cooking show, ‘the Galloping Gourmet.’ But behind the scenes, domestic life was a train-wreck. Their marriage was falling apart. Then something happened to Treena. She became a Christian. As I recall their story, she didn’t preach to her husband. She simply prayed for her him and quietly lived a Christian life. He noticed the difference, and this caused him to seek Christ for himself. He too was converted, and their marriage transformed.
Today, what is regarded as beautiful by many, often looks plastic. There is a cosmetic beauty that is stuck on from the outside. But true beauty flows outwards from the inside (4), and, what is more, age cannot wither it. I don’t think we are to understand Peter as saying that jewellery or make-up or nice clothes should never be worn. But he does want us to understand that these things do not make a person truly beautiful.
Although the direct application here is to wives, I remember that Jesus said, ‘’I am the good shepherd’’ (John 10:11). I understand that the word translated ‘’good’’ can mean ‘beautiful’. There is a beauty about Jesus, and it will be reflected in all who are being changed into His likeness, whether male or female.
PRAYER: ‘Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.’