Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as arranging of the hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
To my female readers, have any of you ever asked yourselves what it means to have a “gentle and quiet spirit”? Perhaps you have a strong personality, a loud voice, a boldness about you. God made us all differently, and if you really take the time to notice, we all mimic the four seasons. Some of us are soft and flowing like summer. Some of us are bold, reflective, and deep like the winter. Some of us are passionate and fiery like autumn. Some of us are fresh, bright, and fun like spring. Some of us are a combination of more than one. No season is superior to another; God created them all equally—different but equally.
It’s possible to be both bold and gentle, assertive and calm, strong and meek. It’s possible to have a full voice that projects and still possess a quiet spirit.
“Gentleness is strength under control. It is the ability to stay calm no matter what happens.” -Elizabeth George
One of the ways Google describes gentleness is “the quality of being kind”. Kindness is very much a choice. Infants are not usually referred to as kind; we can’t really call someone kind if they don’t have the ability, the choice to be unkind. Likewise, the term “gentleness” implies one has the power, the ability to be harsh or aggressive. We don’t call babies gentle, do we? We call them vulnerable, soft, or delicate. When I think of “gentleness” I think of a tamed lion. Lions certainly have the ability to be aggressive and cause a lot of damage. When they are tamed, they can be seen as gentle.
We must all learn to tame the lions/lionesses inside of us. The aggressive lion and the tamed lion both have the same amount of strength, but only the tamed lion can be used effectively by it’s trainer. Likewise, it’s only when we learn to tame the wilderness inside of us that we can be used by God.
Have any of you ever read 1 Peter 3:3-4 and questioned whether or not this was in alignment with who you are? When hearing the words “gentle” and “quiet”, some have a tendency to picture a particular archetype. A woman—dainty, ultra feminine, and delicate with a soft spoken voice. We tend to imagine a woman with specific physical characteristics. But if you notice, the verse isn’t talking about anything physical at all. In fact, it specifically uses the words gentle and quiet spirit.
So what does it mean to have a quiet spirit? For one, it has absolutely nothing to do with having a quiet voice. Having a quiet spirit, much like having a gentle spirit, means having tameness, self control. The one with the quiet spirit doesn’t harbor resentment, hatred, nor jealousy. They don’t engage in gossip nor slander. They respect authority. They don’t feel the need to compete nor boast. They don’t have to have the last word nor win an argument. They respect people’s boundaries while maintaining their own. They aren’t exempt from anger, but they are slow to anger; they don’t let it control them, and they don’t hold on to it. They respond not react. A quiet spirit is a peaceful spirit.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:6)
We see many times in Scripture the affinity God has towards the meek, the gentle. This is in fact how Jesus describes Himself.
Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
I pray that each of you find rest in Jesus, that you find a quietness within your souls. I pray you become more gentle with each passing day, and I pray you’ll remember me in your prayers as well. I too am a work in progress.