Friday, March 25, 2011

the heart of her husband trusts in her...

Beauty is greatly prized in our society. If we were to hear that we could have -- free of cost-- the secret of lasting beauty, our interest would be intrigued. In I Peter 3:4 God does tell us the secret of a beauty that lasts forever and that is precious in his sight. It is also how we make ourselves continually beautiful to our husbands.
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle (Greek word praus) and quiet (Hesuchios) spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. I Peter 3:4
Praus, which is translated into English as gentle or meek, has a lot to do with our relationship with God. It has to do with our trust in God, the way we accept his dealings with us as good, without disputing or resisting or fighting. It is closely linked to humility.

Sometimes, in English, we hear the words meek or gentle and associate them with weakness or fragility. The original Greek word doesn't have that type of meaning. Instead, we should think of strength yielded to God's control. After all, Jesus is described as being gentle, and He had the infinite resources of God at His command. Someone who could still the seas with a word and raise a widow's son from the dead and walk right through an angry crowd without suffering harm could in no way be seen as weak. He was, however, surrendered to His Father's will.

He said of Himself, "Take my yoke upon you and learn form me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

The Greek word for quiet is Hesuchios. That means tranquility arising from within, undisturbed, peaceable, and quiet.

If you would like a word picture to help you understand the concept of hesuchios, think of a spring bubbling up into a quiet pool. The pool has a deep source -- the spring. Yet, it is quiet, calming, peaceful, refreshing, and a lovely place to be.

Jesus was the perfect example of hesuchios. He was constantly surrounded by large crowds who were needy, sick, hungry, and constantly trying to figure out who he really was, all the while trying to push him to be who they wanted him to be. How patient and calm would you be under such circumstances? I confess that I would be tempted to get flustered. Yet, Jesus was unruffled by the crowds. Once, when people were crowding him and when he was on an urgent mission to save a dying little girl, he calmly stopped and gave attention to a hurting woman who had bled without relief for ten years. He did not let the crowds steal his poise. He calmly carried out his purposes.

When we sense that the presence of another person is soothing and calming, it's likely because they have within them the God-given qualities of praus and hesuchios.

We all need these qualities within. We need them if we are single; in whatever stage of married life we might be in; if we are widowed. Young girls might note that the more you grow in these qualities before marriage, the easier it will be to develop them when married.

Tips to acquire gentleness and meekness:

1) Pray, pray, pray. We know that Jesus prayed often and passionately, with reverent submission to God. If He prayed thus, how much more should we?
2) Study the goodness of God. Meditate on God's love, mercy, and forgiveness. Read about people in the Bible who were in desperate situations which God worked for good. Joseph and Hannah are two examples. View trials in your life as an opportunity for God to refine your faith and to make it stronger.
3) Meditate about the fact that a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious to God. Think about the price God paid to bring us into a relationship with Him. Resolve to care more about what God thinks than what the world thinks, and be at peace even if others do no understand.
4) Remember the verse "He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the King for a friend." If you want to go deeper in your relationship with both god and with your husband, cultivate these qualities of a pure heart and gracious speech. Consider how gracious the Lord is to you. Do you show grace and favor in your conversations with your husband? When you speak about your husband, does it sound like you have favor for him? Gracious speech is not easily summarized, but it has to do with being kind, respectful, considerate, encouraging, affirming, truthful, grateful, and full of compassion and forgiveness. This does not mean that you always avoid conflict, but that you conduct yourself in times of conflict with your husband with compassion, understanding, and respect for him.
5) Think of women in your life who have a soothing presence and who are meek and quiet. Women with these qualities come in many personalities, and some might even be strong leaders of women. But, notice these qualities in women and how women put them into practice. Follow their example insofar as it is godly. Men are also called to have these qualities in other contexts, so you might learn from the example of godly men, as well.

For more study, read "A Gentle and Quiet Spirit" by Virginia Lefler.

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