1Pe 3:3-4 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
According to Strong’s, the word “adorning” comes from a Greek term meaning an “orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]).” I do not see this as a prohibition against women having their hair done or dressing nicely. Rather, this is instruction that self is not to be the focus (world) of one’s existence. Having a good outward appearance is not necessarily indicative of what is on the inside. True beauty is found in living a godly life.
The best ornament (decoration) that a sister can have comes from the “hidden man of the heart.” Hidden, as used here, refers to the inward thoughts and attitudes of our being. When obedience to God is manifested in a sister’s behavior, it is indicative of a heart that has in it adornments that are not corruptible. We know that, as human beings, we are all corruptible in Adam. However, if we understand that we are not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the blood of Jesus, then we also have confidence that this corruptible will someday put on incorruption. Peter is teaching that, in obedient service to God here, women are blessed to already manifest that which is not corruptible. A spirit of true humility (meekness), and a quiet (still [undisturbed, undisturbing]) spirit come from an incorruptible source and are of great value in the sight (before the face) of God.
While this is good, moral advice for women, I believe there is a deeper meaning here. This is not just Peter’s counsel for how women should behave, but God’s counsel for how church congregations (as women compared to the “manhood” of Christ) should behave. It is not my intent to be critical of any of God’s children, and it is with much prayer that I continue my thoughts here.
Our love and piety toward God is not found in how impressive our meeting houses are. Neither is godliness shown by ignoring the condition of our place of worship. I believe we should be concerned that we present a pleasant and well-kept place of worship for the community to see. However, I do not think it is in keeping with God’s purpose for us to tear down or abandon a nice meeting place so we can build something bigger and more ostentatious in order to catch the eye of men. While men might be impressed for a while with a fancy hair-do, flashy dress, and sparking jewelry, that will not endure the test of time; all of this is corruptible.
According to God’s word, the sheep of Jesus need green pastures and still waters. We need a place of worship where meekness is in evidence. I am not talking about being timid in standing for God or in speaking the truth. Meekness is not weakness; rather it is the quiet confidence that we really can do all things through Jesus Christ.
Have you ever wondered why we are instructed to “study to be quiet” (1Th 4:11)? It is not mankind’s nature to be undisturbed or undisturbing. We have to study (be earnest) in our desire to be still. It is a true adornment of the church to be undisturbed by the turmoil of the world. Note I said undisturbed, not unconcerned. When our confidence is in the work and power of God, then we have a peace that keeps the strife of men from disturbing us in our service to Him. That peace further keeps us from getting caught up in the debates of men that often divide congregations, so that we are not disturbing the fellowship of God’s children.
May we, as the church, the bride of Christ, be content with being adorned with the incorruptible gifts of our Husband!