Gentle and quiet are not two words I would use to describe myself. Like, at all.
More like clumsy and loud? Or spastic and noisy?
I trip over nothing on the sidewalk. I laugh way too loudly.. borderline obnoxious. And I close the door too hard and it slams. Always.
So, when I read the verse, “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 in very precious….” (1 Peter 3:4 ESV) I get confused. And maybe a little discouraged. And anxious. Because I do not feel gentle nor quiet.
Maybe you can relate.
But dear friend.. wait just a moment.
Sometimes our English translations and cultural implications may alter the original meaning of the Greek word.
In other words, there’s hope.
In American culture, gentleness can be seen as weakness. Powerless. Lacking strength.
The Greek word used for “gentle” in this verse is praeos. This word, praeos, can also be defined as meek. Meek is not a commonly used word.. it’s, “strength under control.”
But, friends, the gentleness that Paul is talking about is not the American gentleness. He is not telling ladies to be weak nor powerless. He is not telling us to simply walk with a flowing pace, to slowly close doors, and to strive to not spill our coffee.
In fact, I don’t think gentleness, in the first place, has anything to do with that physical stuff.
It’s not a matter of things we do. It’s a matter of the state of our heart.
It’s our “strength under control”.
No, not physical strength. (Because in that case, I would lacking big time.) Heart-strength.
Ladies, in Jesus, we have strength. We have power. We have boldness, courage, authority. We get work done. Like, big time. The very One who overcame this world lives in us. And because of that, we are more than conquerors. That’s power.
Our strength, under the control of our God. My She Reads Truth devotion for the Fruit of the Spirit describes it like this: A beautiful, strong stallion trained with a harness. It is powerfully strong, yet it uses its strength according to its Master’s lead.
Ladies, we too are powerfully strong. But I think what Paul is implying here is to harness that power, to control it and use it in accordance with God. With God’s lead. In God’s way.
So never mind getting so discouraged from spilling my coffee, accidently slamming the front door, or tripping on sidewalk. My gentleness, which God finds so pleasing, isn’t a physical issue. It comes from me using the power, the boldness, the authority that He has given me.. all for Him.
But.. quiet. That’s another story.
I literally can’t even whisper. Whenever I speak into a microphone, my first word always booms, startling the people in the crowd. (At least I get their attention.) And when I get around my girlfriends.. dirty looks from tables around us because we are being too loud is a common thing. Expected, even.
But just like gentleness, the Greek word for quiet is rooted in a specific idea that maybe our English version skews.
Quiet, in Greek, comes from a word which can literally be translated as, “keeping one’s seat.” Or, in other words, humble.
Knowing our role. Our role of daughters of the King. Our God-given role of mothers, sisters, daughters, wives. Of a redeemed woman. And talking, acting, living with regards to that.
Not a matter of laughing quietly. Or if we can whisper or not. But rather, loving the Lord and loving people in our God-given roles.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling super relieved.
Gentle and quiet are, now, maybe two words I could use to describe myself. Not in the American sense, but rather in the original Greek sense. Of being strong, yet controlling that strength and using it for the Lord. Of knowing my role, and faithfully leaning into that role and glorifying my sweet Jesus.
Friends, remember the verse: “..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 in very precious.”
Your beauty comes from your heart.
Why? Because the Lord determines your beauty. And He looks at your heart.
He fashioned your heart exactly the way He wanted it.
If He made you enthusiastic, be enthusiastic. If He made you quirky, be quirky. If He made you soft-spoken, be soft-spoken. If He gave you a big laugh, girl laugh it out. And if He gave you good balance… girl that’s a blessing.
My dear sisters, always remember that the Lord looks at your heart. It’s always a heart-issue. Always. Don’t get so caught up in the little physical mess-ups. (Like tripping over nothing and snorting while you laugh.)
Have a heart that the Lord finds ever-so beautiful. One of gentleness and quietness. Strength under control, leaning into our God-given roles.
You are beautiful, absolutely beautiful in the eyes of your Lord.
With much, much love. And some gentleness and quietness. –Melissa
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