From The Heart

Publish date: 12/18/2011

The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated 2 by your life of holy beauty. 3 What matters is not your outer appearance — the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes —  4 but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 5 The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. 6 Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.  1 Peter 3:1-6 Message Bible

Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; 4 But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them]. 6 It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].  1 Peter 3:3-6 AMP

The Greek word “adorning” is “kosmos” – meaning: fashion; ornament; decoration. The outward adorning mentioned here is referring to clothing, jewelry and hair-styles. Some people have used these scriptures to ban jewelry and make-up for women, but then they should also ban clothing because Peter mentions clothing as well. This is not what Peter is saying at all. He is not condemning these things, but he is talking about the difference between outward attractiveness and inner attractiveness and which is most important. Many people go to extremes in dress and decoration. Being dressed nicely is not sinful or unbecoming to a Christian; however, extravagance is discouraged in both Peter and Paul’s letters to the Church. God does not want us to display arrogance or haughtiness in our outward appearance or our inward appearance. Many people pay way too much attention to the outer man and the appearance, when it is the inner man that is most important!

God does not want us to be obsessed with outward appearance – neither does He want us to neglect ourselves – being clean and neat and well groomed are important. You have to understand that more important than these, are your attitude and your spirit. True beauty starts within. No amount of clothing, make-up or jewelry can cover or beautify a mean-spirited, selfish, self-centered woman. Men may be initially attracted to an outward appearance, but what they treasure in a wife – for life – is a sweet and gracious spirit. You will win your husband over – not by your dress or outward appearance, but by your Christ-like spirit!
Peter refers to Sarah as a role-model. Sarah was Abraham’s wife and they were very wealthy people. You can be sure that Sarah had some nice clothes and jewelry and that she wore these things. When their servant went to find a wife for Isaac – Rebekah – he brought with him a great deal of jewelry, which he gave to her as a gift from Isaac and his family. God is not against nice clothing or jewelry – what Peter is saying here is that the outward decorations cannot cover or make up for a lack of godly character. The things that make a woman truly beautiful are the things that come from within – from the heart.

While looking to attract a great husband, many women make the mistake of presenting only a pretty appearance, when it is the qualities of a godly life that a good man is attracted to. A good husband wants a wife that is going to be faithful and committed to him. A good man is looking for a pretty, yet modest woman, who has strength of character, dignity, confidence and self-respect. If you think that men are so shallow that all they want is a pretty woman, then you are going to attract only shallow men. If you cultivate godly character and you allow that to shine through whatever you wear, then you will attract a man of character and integrity.

There is nothing more beautiful than a woman of godly character, who walks in modesty, kindness and gentleness:

Proverbs 31:10 AMP - A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman — who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.  
Proverbs 31:26 AMP - She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].  
Proverbs 31:30 AMP - Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!  

No matter how pretty a woman is on the outside, it soon fades away completely when she is mean and nasty on the inside:

Proverbs 21:9 AMP - It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.
Proverbs 21:19 AMP - It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a contentious woman and with vexation.
Proverbs 27:15 AMP - A continual dripping on a day of violent showers and a contentious woman are alike.
Proverbs 19:13-14 AMP - A self-confident and foolish son is the [multiplied] calamity of his father, and the contentions of a wife are like a continual dripping [of water through a chink in the roof]. House and riches are the inheritance from fathers, but a wise, understanding, and prudent wife is from the Lord.