Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Session 3...

A big thanks to Taylor for blogging Session 2. I would periodically glance over at her and see her fingers flying!

Wow, gals! This has been such an exciting time and I wish all the ladies from our fellowship could be here, but I reckon this is the next best thing! There was such an awareness last night of the Spirit’s presence with us. He is so kind to condescend to us and minister to all believers.

And now for Session 3…

A Woman’s Beauty Regimen- Carolyn Mahaney

All women have a daily beauty regimen; some regimens are simple, and some are very complicated. The point is, we all do something to amend what we look like when we crawl out of bed each morning. But Scripture gives a beauty regimen that guarantees to make a woman beautiful, regardless of age, weight or color.

Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing- but lwt your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. I Peter 3:3-4

Please note: God is not opposed to women making themselves beautiful. On the contrary- the above verse gives various ideas. God delights in beauty; consider the beauty of creation! An elegant flower, towering trees, majestic night sky, a meandering river; all are displays of God’s love of and delight in beauty. And we are created in His image; it is in our very nature to make things beautiful. In this way, we are imitating our Creator!

This taste for beauty, however in many cases it may be altogether corrupted in its object, wrong in its principle, or excessive in its degree, is in its own nature an imitation of the workmanship of God, who, ‘by his Spirit has garnished the heavens,’ and covered the earth with beauty.” John Angell James, Female Piety

How can we use this taste for beauty to glorify God. Certainly, we want to adorn ourselves in such a manner that doesn’t detract from His glory.

I. The Beauty Regimen God Condemns

This verse does not forbid the sober and moderate use of decent ornaments, when the use is according to the quality, place, and station. But it forbids the inordinate love and excessive use (that is, the abuse) of them. There may be the plaiting of the hair, and the wearing of gold, and there must be the putting on of apparel. But we must not make these things our adorning: that is, we must not set our hearts upon them, nor value ourselves by them, nor think the better of ourselves for them, nor pride ourselves in them, as if they added any real excellence to us.” Matthew Henry, The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit

‘Adorning’ refers to what one uses to make oneself beautiful to others. The point is that Christian women should depend for their own attractiveness not on outward things like braiding their hair, decorations of gold, and wearing fine clothing…Peter’s point is not that nay of these is forbidden, but that these should not be a woman’s ‘adorning,’ her source of beauty.” Wayne Grudem, The First Epistle of Peter (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)

So, these things are not forbidden, but these things aren’t the source of our beauty. What is forbidden is the dependence upon them. Our society today focuses solely on outward beauty. BEWARE your hearts: we are so prone to be sucked into this philosophy.

II. The Beauty Regimen God Commands

We are to adorn the hidden person of the heart- our inward nature. God requires us to be occupied mostly with what is hidden. We behave in the opposite of this! How do we clean our homes? We start with the obvious- what is seen. But we dare not apply this same approach when it comes to making ourselves beautiful. Scripture is clear that priority is to be given to what is on the inside. So how do we do this?

We do this with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This is not referring to a woman with a quiet personality. One can be quiet and not have a gentle and quiet spirit. So what is it?

A gentle and quiet spirit is an inner disposition of humble contentment and quiet tranquility rooted in an unwavering trust in God and His purpose. ‘Gentle’ carries the idea of humility (not thinking one is too important) that results in patiently accepting whatever comes one’s way- especially wrongdoing from others, hende, humble contentment. ‘Quiet’ doesn’t just mean ‘not talking.’ It has the idea of calmness and tranquility that delivers one from both selfish assertiveness and anxious striving. In the larger context of this passage, this clearly has to do with calmly trusting in God and patiently accepting wrong from persecutors an unbelieving husband.” Jeff Purswell

How do we display a steadfast peace when someone has sinned against us? What is our reaction when someone wrongs us in some way, whether insignificant or serious? Is our reaction sinful, or gentle and quiet? Do we remain gentle, or do we lash out and retaliate? Do we display a peace that cannot be shaken? How is it possible to maintain this unshakable peace? We continue entrusting ourselves to “ Him who judges justly.” This is how it’s possible! This is a resolute and steadfast trust in God.

Love to God disposes men to see his hand in everything; to own him as the governor of the world, and the director of providence; and to acknowledge his disposal in everything that takes place. And the fact, that the hand of God is a great deal more concerned in all that happens to us than the treatment of men is, should lead us, an a great measure, not to think of things as from men, but to have respect to them chiefly as from God - as ordered by his love and wisdom, even when their immediate source may be the malice or heedlessness of a fellow-man. And if we indeed consider and feel that they are from the hand of God, then we shall be disposed meekly to receive and quietly to submit to them, and to own that the greatest injuries received from men are justly and even kindly ordered of God, and so be far from any ruffle or tumult of mind on account of them." Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruit

III. The Beauty Regimen God Commends

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. I Samuel 16:7

What is the most endearing thing for a woman who adorns her inward spirit? She attracts God’s attention! It is precious to Him! Why? Because He delights in being trusted. Hebrews 11:6- “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

We want to die to sin and live to righteousness. We can only do this because of Christ’s death for us. And because of his death for us, we can cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit. Jesus, thank You for the cross.

Comments:
Hi Sherri...I just found you! You have an awesome blog and I am totally blessed by your posts!!! Thank you.
 
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