An old woman with white, almost blue hair leans over me, a young child. She shakes her pointer finger at me, lecturing me about how “I need to have a gentle and quiet spirit. The Lord doesn’t like little girls to run in church like that.” Then she probably called me a hoodlum or something.
No, as far as I know, that never actually happened. But for the longest time that’s what I envisioned when I thought the idea of a gentle and quiet spirit. That was something sarcastic, opinionated, stubborn me didn’t have – and therefore, I was in the wrong. I was sinning. I needed to be one of those sweet Christian women – you know, the ones who listen to your problems with sweet, caring, puppy dog eyes, and then sweetly say “let’s pray about it right now.” (If that’s you, that’s AWESOME. I’m not saying you’re in the wrong here! I wish that could be me) Instead, I’ll listen, counsel you, swap thoughts back and forth, say something sarcastic to get you to laugh, commiserate on your pain by complaining with you, and THEN we’ll turn it over to the Lord. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me.
If my definition of a gentle and quiet spirit is wrong, then what’s right? Let’s go straight to the text (1 Peter 3)…
3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—4 but let 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.
“Do not let your adorning be external” Are these verses commanding us to dress frumpy and not give a care in the world for how we look? No! What it is saying is that the things we care about should be the internal not external. It is our spirit, not our body that is of value. God looks at our heart and views it as precious. No matter how good we try to make ourselves look on the outside, he focuses completely on our spirit.
I think these verses can be summed up quite well with 1 Samuel 16:7 – For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
Let’s break “a gentle and quiet spirit” down and truly look at it’s components (and yes, this is why it’s awesome having a hubby who’s learning Greek):
Quiet (Greek: hesuchazo) – peaceful, quiet, and tranquil in your existence (not used to define moments or actions)
With these definitions, it appears to me that “gentle” and “quiet” in our English language are not ideal translations for the Greek words. The Greek is so much deeper and encompasses our whole spirits, not just our day to day actions.
These words do not imply that we women have to remain silent, pet furry baby animals, and sing along with the birds. These words are about our deep inner workings of our hearts. You know, what makes us tick.
In looking at my own life, I feel as though my stubbornness, opinionatedness, and sarcasm isn’t in direct conflict with this idea of a gentle and quiet spirit. Looking into my soul, the heart of how I interact with people, I can wholeheartedly say that I have a gentle and quiet spirit (or at least am growing closer and closer to having one each day). I am loving, forgiving, gentle, and peaceful. I strive to care for others. I desire for my life to lead others to the Lord.
*If you want to dig into this passage further, take a look at who it’s addressed to in verse 1 – Wives of unbelieving husbands. Even though this idea of a gentle and quiet spirit relates to all of us, it’s ultimately spoken to women who are desiring to lead their husbands to the Lord.*
A huge thanks to Hayley from A Beautiful Exchange for helping pick this topic and for cohosting this month’s faith and fellowship linkup! I hope each of you head over to her blog, read her post, and stay a while!
If you’d like to brainstorm and cohost next month’s topic with me, feel free to email me at susannah.kellogg(at)gmail.com
Please linkup your Gentle and Quiet Spirit posts below and PLEASE hop around, gaining encouragement from one another. Who knows, you might find your new blogging BFF and the two of you could spur one another on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). The Linkup is open until next Friday so feel free to take some time and meditate on this truth and write up your post sometime next week! I’m excited to read what each of you have to say!
Hi friends! Welcome to Simple Moments Stick. I’m Susannah – wife to Nate and mama to three precious little boys. I’m so excited that you’re here to join me in reclaiming the beauty of living a simple life.
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September 27, 2013 at 8:34 am
This is great, I had the same point of view for a long time until I read a Bible study on it and it really put things in perspective! Thanks for putting it so simply!
Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly
September 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm
I hear you! I sometimes wish I was a quiet person, who listens, who is NOT sarcastic, who is more patient, etc. But then again, will I be any help to my friends if I never give them my (brutally??) honest opinion? Don't get me wrong, I don't say things to hurt people on purpose, but I am the one who dares to speak the unomfortable truths.. Good topic, Susannah!
Jennifer – The Deliberate Mom
September 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm
I love your take on this. I also love that you shared the Greek translations of quiet and gentle. Gulp. I won't read anyone else's until I post mine tomorrow… otherwise I may lose my nerve ; )
Beautiful perspective. Thank you for sharing and for hosting this opportunity to dig deeper and search our hearts.
September 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Wonderful! I love how you used the examples of the different women in the Bible…they say a lot about the character of a godly woman. Wish I knew some Greek 🙂
September 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm
Grrrr! My comment didn't post so here's the condensed version. Lol. I really love where you said that a quiet spirit is deeper than ever day actions. I have to agree with that. I believe that quietness is more about how react or reflect Christ more so than when we are having a good time with friends. Also the examples you used of women in the bible is awesome. Thank you for challenging me to search my own heart for what this scripture means to me.
September 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm
I love reading these. It's my meditation for the day. I hope your weekend is fabulous, relaxing, and as lovely and inspiring as you! xoxo, Rachael
September 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm
so good – SO GOOD.
I've always struggled with this myself – having a gentle and quiet spirit. i'm bold, brash, and out there…so I felt like I was sinning, or not good enough, or would never measure up. it took a while for me to come to the conclusion you presented today – and I love the greek breakdown. it's crack for a theology addict like me 🙂
September 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm
the photo of you is just gorgeous! your spirit shines through 🙂 thanks for sharing your meditations on what the verses mean and how they can apply to us
September 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm
I absolutely love this, that photo of you is amazing.
September 28, 2013 at 1:31 am
Wow. Just….wow. I just loved this post. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to link up this month, but I'm SO glad that I can still read your post! We are kindred spirits because I am also stubborn, opinionated, and sarcastic. But I do genuinely care for others and am gentle and kind (most of the time!). You know what really hit me, though? The people you noted that this scripture is addressing. Because that's me. 150% me. I truly need to pray and meditate on this! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
September 28, 2013 at 2:33 am
I love your perspective!! And the difference in the Greek translation makes such a big difference in how we interpret this passage. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the linkup! I always love hearing (reading) what you have to say!
September 28, 2013 at 5:06 am
Loving this link up! I love learning about the translations, that definitely changes the meaning of the verse!
September 28, 2013 at 9:00 am
I think you are right! 'Quiet' doesn't have to mean, what we imagine when we hear the word. Also silent and so on.
Thanks for the post, it made me think! 🙂
September 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm
You are so right, this passage is often misinterpreted by our english definition. I love your analogy with the older woman…that's totally what we tend to think of, instead of focusing on the heart condition. Great post 🙂
September 29, 2013 at 11:48 am
Absolutely wonderful post, friend! I really love how you broke down the "gentle and quiet spirit" so that we can see what it truly means. I'm the same exact way when it comes to listening to problems, too! I never felt like some of my personality really qualified as gentle and quiet, but the further we dig into that I see that they don't conflict at all! Thanks for sharing some truth, girl!
September 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm
Love 1 Peter – thanks for sharing!
September 30, 2013 at 12:33 am
I think you are a beautiful person and you have one of the sweetest kindest spirits of anyone I have ever "met".
Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights
September 30, 2013 at 2:49 am
Thank you for the reminder that a gentle and quiet spirit doesn't mean you can't be sarcastic and opinionated 🙂
September 30, 2013 at 3:51 am
I read Charity's post first, and she got me good. But here- your fine print: "Wives of unbelieving husbands." HELLO. I really need to meditate on this and get better! Lord knows He needs to help me here!
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