We all love beautiful things, but what one person sees as beautiful another does not. The saying is that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ Our thoughts rotated around this subject as we came across the phrase, “imperishable beauty” in ch. 3 of Peter’s 1st Epistle.
What beauty is “imperishable” – that is, cannot be destroyed? There are many beautiful flowers in our garden at the moment – but they will fade away – and some already have. But Peter is not writing of flowers, he is writing of the influence wives can and should have on their husbands and others; there is beauty, as God sees beauty, in a holy character.
Peter tells them, “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with theimperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” [v.3,4] This is not what the world counts as “very precious” – but God does! Surely the same spirit is expected of those who are not yet married, or who are now widowed,
It is a beauty which cannot perish! May all develop it and portray real “beauty” in the sight of God. Husbands must clearly see their role, noting Peter’s counsel, “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” [v.7] Think about this from God’s perspective – how many prayers are “hindered”?
Women are usually physically “weaker” than men but there are many occasions, it seems to us, that they are stronger in other ways – consider how strong the mother of Jesus became, a strength obviously developed from her deep awareness of God’s words which she evidently she brought into the words she used in magnifying the Lord (look at Luke 1 v.46-55)
Peter ends his Epistle with some further challenging points addressed to all believers, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.” [ch.5 v.6,7] Even so, let us care for each other, and let us admire the “imperishable beauty” we see the sisters have developed or are developing, all learning “to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” [ch. 4 v.10] .
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