An Undervalued Quality of Godly Womanhood
The PBS television show Antique Roadshow is blazing into a new season with no signs of slowing down. This 13-time Emmy Award nominated show has captured the hearts of people around the globe who love the surprise of the average person finding a treasure. The basic format of the show is simply a string of 5 minute segments filmed at an antique-appraisal event. People bring in items for learning the history of a piece and getting an appraisal. The show is a testimony to the fact that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Millionaires have been made through the show, and others have discovered their prized possessions aren’t worth the gas they used driving to the show. The greatest thrill, however, is the often-told story of the innocuous garage sale purchase, costing only dollars, that ends up being a valuable piece of American history or a rare item of cultural importance. It’s always amusing to watch both the “matter-of-fact” responses and those shocked and ecstatic about their windfall.
The one consistent theme of the show is the appraisal. People simply don’t know what they have and what it is worth. Often times a person will explain how their item sat in the attic or the junk drawer for years, only now to discover it could buy them a new sports car for the ride home. If this was only the case for paintings and pottery, we could sit back and enjoy a good television show. Sadly, it can also be true regarding the habits, practices, and attributes that make up a person’s very life.
In 1 Peter, the apostle makes a stunning statement of appraisal that would seem to fit perfectly on the Antique Roadshow. Peter’s chosen word is “precious.” With this word, Peter aims to let women know the value of what they have, or the earnestness with which they should seek an often ignored character quality.
Before we identify this quality, let’s first march out some comparables. Worth is better understood when compared with things of like value. With a simple search of the word “precious” in 1 Peter, we see instantly the kind of value that Peter has in mind when using that word.
1 Peter 1:7 (NASB95) — 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 1:19 (NASB95) — 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
1 Peter 2:4 (NASB95) — 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
1 Peter 2:6 (NASB95) — 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
1 Peter 2:7 (NASB95) — 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,”
5 out of 6 times this word is used, it speaks of the highest spiritual realities that exist. It speaks of a person’s saving faith which unites them to Christ, it speaks of the redeeming blood of Christ, and it speaks of Christ himself and the promised centrality of the Messiah. You really can’t get any higher than this. Peter doesn’t use this word lightly.
So what is the last use of this weighty word?
1 Peter 3:3–4 (NASB95) — 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 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.
Does this seem mismatched to you? How could the value of Christ and the value of a gentle and quiet spirit be tied together by the same word? That is a very good question, and one every woman should seek out diligently.
First, how does this quality of a gentle and quiet spirit relate to all different types of women? There are very outgoing, gregarious women, and there are very introverted, calm, genteel women. Does this second category get a free pass due to helpful genetics? Does the first category of women need to be pressed into a mold where their personality doesn’t show? None of the above. A gentle and quiet spirit can be possessed by the gregarious woman, and it can be completely absent in the soft-spoken introverted woman.
Peter explains what “a gentle and quiet” quality is in verse 5 and 6. He says “For in this way…the holy women…used to adorn themselves….” He is showing us how the quality manifested itself. There are two features Peter highlights. He says these women were submissive and they were not frightened by any fear. Those are the corollary qualities of gentle and quiet. Instead of being a forceful, manipulative woman who will do whatever it takes to get her way, she is gentle. She expresses her thoughts, but not with a ramrod. She lays out the evidence and reasons as she sees them, but not with the crossed-arms, narrow-eyed stance of demand. She gently and willingly places the decision in the God-ordained hands of her husband’s leadership. This is the gentleness of submission.
Not only is she submissively gentle, she is also quiet. Peter says she leaves the decision to her husband and does not do that with fear. She is not anxious, she is not inwardly frantic. There is a calm quietness that pervasively covers her soul.
Where does this gentle and quiet spirit come from? Trust in God.
Do you see how this can exist even in an extroverted woman? That outgoing woman can talk and talk and talk with laughter and volume and still be willingly submissive and inwardly quiet as she noisily follows her husband. She knows her God and her husband will see it. Likewise, can you see how this can be absent in the introverted woman? She may not say anything, but she is plotting how to get around her husband’s leadership. She is forcing her way through a thousand subtle actions. Additionally, she might be very quiet, but inwardly she is as tense as a snare drum. The anxiety medication might numb the feelings, but numbness is not the same as a quiet confidence in the love and control of God.
Lastly, why is this quality appraised so highly? Surely it is not equal in value to the blood of Christ. I believe the word “precious” is used because this quality is tied to these infinitely precious features. Jesus himself, through His blood, has created this quality through faith. Let’s recall a few verses. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, including the work of a gentle and quiet spirit. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says that we have this treasure in jars of clay. The blood-bought presence of the Holy Spirit in us is producing a gentle and quiet spirit.
Women, there is only one way you can bear forth this precious quality. It is in resting completely on the finished work of Christ and the love that is now poured into your hearts. When you do that, and consequently bear forth gentleness and quietness, God sees faith in action and He rejoices. He is being glorified in this. And everything that displays God’s glory is precious. This is no garage sale attribute; it is the Hope diamond of godly womanhood.