Betty Dodge is Coordinator for Family Life at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This article was written for the Bethlehem Star newsletter at hopeinGod.org. We post it here with our thanks and her permission.
Women want to be thought of as beautiful. A little girl wants to know her daddy delights inher. A wife wants to know her husband is pleased with her. God has put in women a desire to be a joy to him and a blessing to the men in her life. But our sinful hearts twist this God-given desire into an ugly caricature of his original design and plan for us. Instead of seeking to be a joy to God, we go about trying to entice man. Proverbs 11:22 says it best-a woman's fleshly attempts to be noticed and desirable make her look like a pig with a gold ring in her nose.
Ouch! The truth compels us to come to Christ for cleansing and transformation. His desire for women is the "hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" deemed very precious in God's sight. Not just precious to God, but very precious in God's sight. Eternal beauty in a woman is hidden from human view, but God sees it and delights in her.
Put on Christ
The transformation begins by embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord and then experiencing growth in the mercies of God as we "put on Christ" every day (Romans 13:14). There is only one place in the Gospel accounts where Jesus talks specifically about something you should take from him and wear. This text also is the only place in the Gospels where he gives a self-description of his character:
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB).
Sharing the yoke with Jesus brings us close to him, lightens our load, and teaches us his gentleness and humility of heart-the very qualities we are to cultivate as holy women of God. Have you come to Jesus and put on his yoke? Have you put on Christ?
Look to Holy Women
In 1 Peter 3, temporal things like the clothes we wear and the jewelry and accessories we puton are surprisingly linked to holiness and hope. "The holy women who hoped in God" were women set apart by God according to his sovereign will and glorious plan, who adorned themselves with imperishable beauty and good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10). They were modest, discreet women-Sarah, Abigail, Ruth, Mary, and Elizabeth. They hoped in God, not man. They were women of the promise-the reality of their hope fulfilled in Christ. Their qualities of obedience, bravery, gentleness, and humility sparkle and shine beneath God's penetrating gaze. Strength, dignity and confidence in God's promises clothe these holy women who fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:25). Certainly, they were not perfect, but their hope in God did a sanctifying work in their hearts.
The Hope Within
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
Holy women sanctify Christ as holy in their hearts. The "hidden person of a gentle and quiet spirit" is concealed, but their hope in him becomes obvious to others. Outward appearance is representative of the hope within. (We are the bride of Christ.) Holy women fearlessly and respectfully speak the gospel with anyone who asks them about that hope. Our hope in God should be on display in good works done in gentleness and humility-so much so that people ask us about it. Immodesty and preoccupation with outward appearance will darken and even conceal from others the hope of the gospel in us. God has not told us where our hemline or neckline should be, but we are given a calling with that grace: Let the gospel shine, clothe yourself in strength and dignity, adorn yourself with good works, rise to the holy standard of gentleness and humility set by God for women who belong to Christ-the standard for women who are imperishably beautiful to him.
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