Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 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
(1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT).
Have you ever met a Christian woman and knew immediately that there was something different about her? It was probably her gentle and quiet spirit that you admired about her. We see in this verse that a gentle and quiet spirit is precious to God, but it also is attractive to others.
I looked up the words "gentle" and "quiet" in the dictionary so that I would know exactly what they mean. Webster's Dictionary defines gentle as: Not harsh, severe, rough or loud and it defines quiet as: Silent, making very little sound; still; tranquil; calm.
Unfortunately, many times the opposite has been true of my life. I certainly don't have a calm spirit all the time, but I can see how I've grown in this area. I think the number one way that has helped me to grow is just being aware of the things that make me lose my peace.
Cynthia Heald, in her book, Becoming a Woman of Excellence talks about some hindrances that can cause us to stumble in this area. Allow me to share the ones that I most struggle with and tell you how I deal with them...
Strife/anger (Ephesians 4:26): If I have a strained relationship or have no harmony in my home I will feel like a little black cloud is hanging over my head until I make peace with that person and ask God to help me in this situation. I try to get rid of that anger as soon as I can.
Unconfessed Sin (Psalm 32:3-4): When I do not confess my sins I am weighed down. When I confess them I am lifted from it and find forgiveness every time.
Unforgiveness (Ephesians 4:32): If I am holding unforgiveness in my heart, I will most definitely be unsettled in my soul. There will be no peace for me. When I am honest with God about this He helps me overcome this negative emotion. I pray to be a woman who forgives easily.
Self-centeredness (Philippians 2:3-4): This has caused more disturbance in my heart than anything else. When my mind is on myself too much, I am miserable, but when I start looking out for the interests of others and not just myself, it helps me to be more God focused and less me focused.
Anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7): When I am stressed about anything it causes me to feel agitated. I have discovered that when I make it a habit to pour our my heart to God when I'm worried, then I receive His peace.
Neglecting My Responsibilities (Proverbs 31:27): When I am not doing my best with the job God has given me, I know it immediately. Also, if I have over-committed myself I can feel that as well. I have a sense that something is not going right. I feel right when I live right.
Fatigue (Psalm 127:1-2): It's important that I am doing my work, but it's also equally important that I get my proper rest. When I don't get the amount of sleep that my body needs, I get grumpy and I find it very difficult to be kind and gentle. Getting in bed on time is a high priority to me.
These are only a few hindrance, but also a real enemy to having a gentle and quiet spirit. There are many more hindrance than these, but you get the idea. I made a list of these things and put it in my Bible. I review it often so that I can be aware of how I'm doing with this. I've added it to my prayer list so that the Lord will change me where I need to change. Whenever I find myself slipping in one of these area, I try to quickly get back on track.
If having a gentle and quiet spirit is pleasing to the Lord, I want to pursue it with all my heart. I don't want to take this lightly and miss out on being the kind of woman that God wants me to be. It all begins with being honest with Him about my current condition and not being satisfied where I am. Asking God to intervene in my life and to teach me how to be a woman of God is the first step to lasting change. Jesus promises us in Matthew 11:28-30,
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Lord, thank You that You are my Great Teacher. Thank You that You are the excellent example of someone who is gentle at heart. Help me to be more like You. Help me to make the necessary changes so that I can please You with my attitudes. Help me to be a gentle woman and to love You and others well. In Jesus' name. Amen.
May 27, 2008