but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.1 Peter 3:4(NASB)
Although Peter deals with the general conduct of Christian men and women in their church fellowships and wider communities, he also gives specific advice to different groups of believers, and in this passage addresses the conduct and character of wives, and the relationship they should foster with their husbands.
First, he advises them to be submissive; chaste and respectful towards their men, because godly behaviour and a gracious attitude will more quicklyf win love; respect and praise, than paying meticulous attention to having beautifully braided hair; adorning oneself in golden jewellery, or dressing-up in expensive clothes.
Peter not only addresses the need for outer modesty and to avoid ostentatious behaviours or the excessive pinning-on of trinkets, he taught the importance of developing an inner beauty, which is a lasting and a godly characteristic, and is of rare value in God's eyes. He encourages these women to beautify "the hidden person of the heart', and explains that inner beauty is expressed, "with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit - which is very precious in the sight of God.
This verse lists the things that made a wife most attractive and appealing to her husband, and Peter calls it "the hidden person of the heart." The beauty and virtue that comes from within and honours the Lord, flows from the heart of a gentle and tranquil spirit, and far surpasses any allurement that might be triggered through some outer adornment of the body.
All women should seek to develop this inner beauty of the soul, which only comes as the fruit of the Spirit begins to bud, blossom and grow. A gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God's sight, will not only win the heart of their husband but is a quality that is lasting and will not fade away.
Peter is not advocating that women should be careless in their grooming and not take care of their outer appearance. He is not advocating that wives should be shoddy and unkempt, but that they value the things that develop a godly character, which is not only attractive to their spouse, but is also well-pleasing to God.
No amount of make-up or outer preening can develop the precious fruit of the Spirit, which is so treasured by the Lord. No wardrobe of expensive clothes will compensate for a jealous, spiteful or bitter nature. No perfume can mask an unforgiving heart and no amount of jewellery can embellish mean-hearted women or prevent them from murmuring or being discontented.
The spiritual fruit of gentleness, goodness, kindness and grace comes from a tender heart that honours the Lord. The imperishable qualities that are so precious in the eyes of God are the ones that every husband desires to see in his wife and every woman should nurture. They are born out of a submissive and respectful spirit, which is at peace with God and owns the peace of God in her heart - because she trusts in Him.
May the desire of every Christian wife be to develop the inner beauty of her heart in her marriage - knowing that this is honouring to the Lord. May each one of us who are born from above similarly seek to foster the same internal qualities of heart and mind - the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious in the sight of God.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would let the hidden person of my heart produce the beautiful fruit of the Spirit, which is so precious in Your sight. Prevent me from developing ostentatious behaviours, that are so unseemly and help me to seek after the imperishable qualities of a gentle and quiet spirit. I pray that Christian women everywhere would recognise the eternal value of growing in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus and pray that in my own marriage and relationships I would honour You in spirit and in truth - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.