Becoming a Sanctuary of His Presence
In my tiny bathroom, there hangs a shelf lined with little lovelies: my go-to nail polish in Ruby Slippers, a jar of eye cream that promises miracles, a tube of lip gloss squeezed inches from its life, and my favorite bottle of perfume. One morning not too long ago, I overslept and, in my haste to tame my mane while simultaneously tweeze the bush that had grown overnight above my puffy eyes, my elbow hit the edge of the shelf. Did I mention that my shelf hangs directly above my commode? All I could do was watch as my perfume bottle slipped from its secure perch and – with a splash – sink to the bottom of my toilet. Sinking to my knees, I quickly fished it out and rinsed it off, desperately trying to salvage the sweet smelling fragrance. But it was too late. While the outside of the jar looked fine, my almost empty bottle of perfume was now a full bottle….of toilet water.
Today’s woman faces immense pressure to conform to the perfect physical ideal. We have become so focused on our outer appearance that we have disregarded our inner sanctum. If we would be honest with one another, most of us would agree that our inner sanctuaries resemble that perfume bottle of toilet water rather than the virtues of a godly woman found in I Peter 3:3-4.
While 1 Peter 3:1-6 is a passage primarily for wives on the beauty of biblical submission, it offers a jewel of a message for women in every season of life, whether single or married. The Lord has not left us in the dark in how to adorn ourselves as women. Did you know that, as women of God, we are called to adorn the gospel? Please do not misunderstand me, the gospel needs no enhancing! The gospel cannot be improved! However, as women devoted to the Lord, we can commend the gospel with the very fragrance of our lives. His Word teaches us that that the attitudes of our hearts should be captivated by and be rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Did you catch that? It all comes down to His lordship. What passions are reigning in your life? Are you allowing Christ to reign or your fleshly passions to rule?
Adorning Ourselves as Women (v. 3)
I absolutely love the definition of adornment! It means to put in proper order. How fitting! When we begin to put our lives in proper order in accordance to the Word of God, the fragrance of our lives is pleasing to God. So how do we tend to the hidden persons of our hearts? How do we abandon fleshly lusts and allow Christ to reign? How do we abandon ourselves to His Lordship and pursue His design for beauty? It all begins with two little virtues. First Peter 3:4 describes these two virtues as being hidden, imperishable, and precious to God. Does anyone else want to run to the bathroom and throw away their makeup bag? Before you toss that lip gloss, keep reading.
Cultivating a Gentle Spirit (v. 4)
The first virtue listed in this passage is a gentle spirit. To cultivate a gentle spirit is to adorn yourself with meekness and humility. The very word itself implies to be still, undisturbed, and peaceable and deals with our actions. As women who adorn the gospel, we are to resist the temptation to be upset in our hearts because we trust in God. Rather than reacting emotionally, we are called to respond to God by faith, trust and delight in him as Lord. I have found that my daily quiet time with the Lord is vital to maintaining a gentle spirit. It is during my intimate time with Him that He shows me how to be still, to cease striving, to let go, to relax and to know that He is God (Ps 46:10). The humbleness that ensues helps me to approach the circumstances of the day with a gentle spirit.
Cultivating a Quiet Spirit (v. 4)
The second virtue listed is a quiet spirit. To cultivate a quiet spirit is to adorn yourself with a meek, soothing, and humble disposition. While cultivating a gentle spirit refers to our actions, cultivating a quiet spirit has to do with the condition of our hearts. A quiet spirit is a temperament of spirit which comes from understanding that God’s dealings with us are for our good and for His glory. And as we begin to put our lives in proper order, peace is an overflowing reward. One thing that I have found helpful in cultivating a quiet spirit is to meditate upon Scripture. I post Scripture passages in my bathroom and kitchen so when I’m curling my hair or washing my dishes, I am reminded that quietness and trust in God shall be my confidence (Is. 30:15).
A Sacred Sanctuary Worthy of His Presence
I dare say that there are few things that adorn the gospel more beautifully than a woman who learns to cultivate a quiet and gentle spirit. These virtues are evidence of a habitual desire to constantly reign in fleshly passions. They are evidence that Christ is Lord of their lives. They are also beautiful reminders that the gospel is life-changing to women who obey and learn to delight in it. In speaking of the inner beauty of a woman, Carolyn Mahaney* says, “If I keep my eyes on the One who is loveliness incarnate, I will grow more beautiful by reflecting Him.” It is this type of beauty that Jesus finds most alluring.
- Is beauty merely ornamental for you? Do you look to the models splashed across the latest issue of Vogue to define beauty? Or do you look to God’s plan for adorning ourselves as women with a gentle and quiet spirit?
- What passions are reigning in your life? Have you abandoned yourself to the Lordship of Christ? Or do you wrestle with fleshly passions?
- To whom are you making the object of your pursuit for beauty? As single women, we have only one Person to please (I Cor 7:34). Married women, are you making the Lord and your husband the objects of your pursuit for beauty?
I’ve since replaced my favorite bottle of perfume. It sits perched on my bathroom shelf as a daily reminder of the hidden and imperishable beauty that God finds precious and pleasing to Him. As a twentysomething gal, I am still learning the ins and outs of putting my life in proper order. May we be women who adorn the gospel by daily seeking to put the springs of our hearts in proper order. May our hearts be sacred sanctuaries for the Lord to dwell and our lives an irresistible aroma that adorns the gospel of Jesus Christ!
*Carolyn Mahaney, “True Beauty,” in Biblical Womanhood in the Home (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2002), 46.