Have you ever heard the phrase: “That was a well-kept secret”? Secrets contain some type of information that is hidden or concealed. It may be purposely hidden, but it may also be information of which one is simply unaware. As I have pondered the subject of submission in the Christian life, often it seems as though the truth about submission is a “well-kept secret.” Few people speak of it. Maybe even fewer really understand it.
The Bible, however, frequently refers to the truth about submission. God’s people were never to be a rebellious nor arrogant people. They are to be a submissive and obedient people. Their first and most important submission is to God Himself. He is the LORD God! And it is He who instructs us to humbly submit to others as He has directed … believers to governing authorities, servants (workers) to masters (bosses), younger to elders in the church, and wives to husbands. Again, God’s people were never to be an arrogant and rebellious, nor disrespectful, people.
Because we are believers in Christ, we must walk in submission in every area where the Lord instructs. And we must walk there because we are submitted to Him! That means we must walk in submission to all that He has placed in authority … governing authorities, bosses, elders and pastors, and (because I am a married woman) to my own husband.
The walk of submission is neither easy, nor instantaneous. It is not easy because it brings us face to face with our self and our own will, and it is there where we will struggle. Submission is not instantaneous because it is something we must learn. We are not born with a submissive heart. It is a part of the new person that we are in Christ, as we are being renewed in His image.
As a Christian woman (if married), a part of being renewed in Christ’s image is being submitted to our own husband. Remember, God’s people were never to be rebellious, arrogant, nor disrespectful. Also remember, this walk is neither easy nor instantaneous. It must be learned.
First, let us be sure we understand the biblical meaning of submission.
Submission means: to arrange under in an orderly fashion.
There are several important ideas incorporated in the meaning of submission. It is a word of order … It is also an action that we ourselves take, a willing arranging of our selves … It is a willing arranging of ourselves under … a willing arrangement of ourselves in an orderly fashion under the authority that God Himself has instructed. Take time to ponder these truths.
I humbly share one of the “secrets” about submission that I have learned through the years. Colossians 3:18 instructs:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
What does it mean: as is fitting in the Lord?
It means: as is proper or as is becoming in the Lord.
Yes, submission to our own husband is fitting and proper in the Lord. Now, I readily admit that I deeply understand the heart struggles a wife faces as she attempts to walk in this truth. So often we start in the wrong place. We start with ourselves and what we want or don’t want, or we start with our husbands, listing all the reasons that we cannot submit to him.
To walk in submission, we must begin in the right place, and that place is with the Lord. This verse is set in the context of Colossians 3 … if then you are risen with Christ … and putting on the new man (person) you are in Christ … being renewed in His image! Then a list is given of this new “wardrobe” that we should be wearing. All of these truths are given to us first … before we are ever instructed to submit to our own husbands.
So, here is the “secret” that I have learned. I must be wearing the appropriate “wardrobe” before I will ever be able to submit to my husband. I must humbly and honestly ask the Lord to search my heart:
Do I have a heart of compassion toward my husband?
Do I seek to do kind and beneficial things for him?
Do I walk in humility or do I let pride, arrogance, or disrespect creep in?
Do I walk in gentleness and meekness toward my husband?
Am I patient and longsuffering with him?
Do I bear with him?
Do I forgive him when I have a complaint against him, as the Lord forgave me?
Do I put on love toward him?
Tough questions! When I am struggling with submission, I always know my heart toward my husband is not right! What I learned was that I need my heart renewed in the image of my Lord, and then I am able to submit to my own husband … as is fitting in the Lord. True submission flows from a heart renewed in the image of Christ!
I am convinced that the truth about submission is not meant to be a “well-kept secret.” It is meant to be learned. It is meant to be lived out. It is meant to be shared with other Christian women. And it is meant to bring glory to our Lord!
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
Several years ago, my husband and I were given the opportunity to babysit our youngest two grandchildren while our son and his wife, along with the older children, traveled on an extended vacation. Sweet memories still come to mind from those special days. My young granddaughter was at the age when she was just beginning to walk. She was so insecure about her new venture, and at times, even fearful.
I had the privilege of helping her learn to walk. At first, I would walk behind her, leaning over and holding both of her hands, as she stepped carefully, but joyfully, holding tightly to me. As the days passed and we walked together, she became steady enough for me to hold only one of her hands as we walked. The day came when I knew she was strong enough to walk without holding to me, but she didn’t know that she could. I would sit just a little distance away and hold out my hands, gently coaxing her to take those steps ahead of her. Sometimes she would falter. Sometimes she would flat refuse. I even remember the time that she was taking those sweet steps toward me, crying the whole way. But, oh the joy, in both of us when she would successfully make that walk and climb up into my arms.
Those early steps were challenging and difficult for her, but both of us rejoiced in the outcome. She is now six years old, and we still walk hand in hand together.
I share this precious memory because it seems like an appropriate picture of my walk with the Lord. Putting off the things of the fleshly old person (that I was before salvation) and putting on the new person in Christ (being renewed in His image) have been so similar to the sweet story of my young granddaughter learning to walk. Sometimes I faltered. Sometimes I wanted to flat refuse until the Lord “coaxed” me on, and sometimes I have cried as I was attempting to walk where He called me to walk.
Let us look into the Scriptures to understand where He calls us to walk as we put on the new person we are to be … created in His image.
Colossians 3:12-13 instructs:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Because we are His people, we are to reflect Him. We are to “put on” Christ according to the provision He has already made for us. What will that look like?
First, we must note that all of these qualities are matters of the heart. They are not visible, in and of themselves. They are only visible as they are worked out.
Secondly, every one of these actions are relationship words … they have to do with how we relate to others. We are to treat others in the same way that Christ has treated us.
(You may use Bible dictionaries to help you understand the meaning of these words, and a concordance will help you find a wealth of Scriptures regarding these truths. I have included only very brief notes to prompt your thinking.)
Tender mercies (a heart of compassion): A deep emotion of the heart moved to help alleviate another’s physical and/or spiritual suffering. Our God is a God of compassion, and we are to be a people of tender mercies and compassion.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Kindness: A goodness extended to another for their benefit. How often our God is called the God of lovingkindness. We, therefore, should extend His kindness to all.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
Humility: lowly in spirit, the opposite of self-exaltation or pride. Never has there been one more humble and lowly in heart than our Lord. In His image … may we, too, put on humility.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Meekness (Gentleness): Mildness of disposition, without complaining or resisting, trusting God’s goodness in all circumstances and with all people.
Jesus said: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
1 Peter 3:4
rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
Longsuffering (Patience): To suffer long; patience with respect to people. A different word is used for patient endurance in circumstances. This word has to deal with how we relate to people … especially difficult ones. Our God is a long-suffering God, and calls us (in His image) to be long-suffering and patient with others.
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.
Forbearance: To bear with; to have patience with, in regards to one’s errors or weaknesses. Surely, our God is a God of forbearance. Help us, Lord, be a forbearing people.
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
I (Paul), therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Forgiveness: This is a word that originates from the same word as grace. Surely, our God is a gracious and forgiving God. Therefore, it is imperative that we are a gracious and forgiving people.
Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
In Christ, we are a new creation. We are being renewed in knowledge, according to His image. We are meant to reflect Him. He is compassionate, kind, humble, meek, longsuffering, forbearing and forgiving. In order to reflect Him … in His image … this is the kind of people we must be.
We must take time to ponder these truths. Have we put them on? What “wardrobe” are we wearing? Remember, they will begin in the heart and be lived out from there. Also, remember they are directed toward our relationships. Are there particular aspects of these truths that need to be reflected toward your husband? Toward your children? Toward others in your life? Toward those who you don’t even know their names? Let the Lord speak to your heart.
I began this writing by sharing with you how my young granddaughter learned to walk. We, too, must learn to walk spiritually. We will falter. We may have the desire to refuse. We may even cry as we surrender and make those steps forward. But walk we must. Step by step, as the Lord holds our hand.
Compassion … kindness … humility … meekness … longsuffering … forbearance … forgiveness.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. Ephesians 4:1
How many times have we stood, looking into our closets, trying to decide what we were going to wear? Maybe it was for a special event, or perhaps a casual gathering with friends, but nonetheless, we wanted to wear just the right thing. We wanted to dress appropriately. We wanted to dress in a way that was suitable or fitting for the occasion.
Similarly, as believers in Christ, there are certain things that we should be wearing … and things we should not be wearing! Today – I am not referring to physical clothing … the clothing woven and fashioned here on earth. I am referring to “spiritual” clothing … “clothing” implicitly fashioned to reflect our living Lord. As Christians, we should be “dressed appropriately.” We should be “dressed” in a suitable and fitting way. A reading of Colossians 3 will explain these thoughts.
Colossians 3:12 says:
Therefore, as the elect (chosen) of God, holy and beloved, put on …
There are certain things that we should be “wearing”… because we belong to Him … because we are chosen by Him … because we are holy, set apart unto Him … because we are beloved by Him. There is a beautiful “wardrobe” that we should be wearing. But before we examine those garments piece by piece, let’s understand the overall significance of this “putting off” and “putting on.”
Colossians 3:9-10 says:
… since you have put off the old man (person) with his deeds, and have put on the new man (person) who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, …
We have put off the old person (with her behaviors) that we were before salvation, and we have put on the new person that we are in Christ. Do not miss the phrase according to the image of Him who created him.
The new person that we are created to be in Christ is according to His image. We are being conformed to the image of Christ. If you recall, in Genesis, God did create mankind in His own image. That image was lost at the Fall. Sin entered the heart of man, and man spiritually died.
In salvation, because of Jesus Christ, God makes us alive as we are born again into a spiritual birth, and are once again being renewed in His image. That is why the old, torn, tattered, and filthy “garments” referred to in verses 5-8 must be put off (literally, stripped off) and be wholly laid aside. They have no part of His image.
That is also why the beautiful “garments” referred to in verses 12-25 are to be graciously put on. Those are “garments” of His image. They reflect Him. A Christian wearing such garments will be “dressed appropriately” to bring glory to her Lord.
You may study in Colossians, comparing the sinful and fleshly deeds of our old person (that must be put off) and the beautiful qualities of the new person (that are to be put on), but I humbly submit to you this truth to ponder … being renewed … according to His image.
If we desire to bring glory to Him, we must reflect Him as He is. He desires us to reflect His image. And He wants to renew us according to His image. Then both within our homes, and outside of them, He will be reflected through us. How humbling!
Perhaps you feel a deep desire within your heart to reflect your Lord well. These “garments” cannot be purchased, nor can they be made by your own hands. The “garments” have already been provided and the Lord has chosen us to wear them. He knows us, yet we are chosen, holy, and beloved. He knows our weaknesses, yet we are chosen, holy, and beloved. And He is renewing us in knowledge, according to His image. Do you want to be “dressed appropriately”? Do you want to be “dressed” in a suitable and fitting way? He will help you.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. … Hebrews 4:14-16
He will clothe you at the throne of grace.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness … Isaiah 61:10
Have you ever had to introduce yourself, or perhaps a friend? The natural way of introduction begins with our name, where we are from, if we are married – to whom we are married, and how many children and/or grandchildren we may have. The introduction may go on to include experiences we have had, or perhaps particular accomplishments. Yes, that is a natural introduction and gives, as it should, identifying information.
But have you ever thought of what a “spiritual” introduction would sound like? It is extremely humbling to ponder the way the Word of God refers to believers in Christ. Some such references that come to mind are that we are the children of God, accepted in the beloved, adopted sons, a redeemed people, saints, faithful brethren, the body of Christ, and that He is a Father to us and we shall be His sons and daughters.
Each of those statements should cause our hearts to bow before our Lord and worship. It is with that thought in mind that I would like for us together to consider another phrase.
In Colossians 3:12 the Apostle Paul begins an exhortation to believers with these words:
Therefore, as the elect (chosen) of God, holy and beloved …
What an amazing statement! What an incredibly humbling “introduction”! If we are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Scriptures call us chosen of God. What a truth to ponder! God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of all things, reached down and chose us. Not because of one single quality or goodness in us, but by His Sovereignty, His Great Mercy, and His Great Love, He chose us. He chose me, and He chose you!
Chosen of God … chosen of God … chosen of God. We could stop and ponder that truth for the rest of our lives on this earth. God chose me … for Himself! How utterly humbling!
But the phrase doesn’t stop there. It calls us holy. Now, if we are true believers, we fully understand our unworthiness, yet, God calls us holy.
What does the word holy truly mean?
Holy: Separated, consecrated; set apart unto God to be used for His purposes
God Himself says that we have been chosen by Him to be used for Him! What awe that should inspire within us! God Himself chose us, in spite of who we were, saved us and set us apart to Himself. He treats us as His special treasure. He desires to use our lives for His specific purposes.
And then, He calls us beloved!
Beloved: Dearly loved; loved with an active and abiding love
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
God calls us His beloved. He has such a deep, abiding, incomprehensible love for us that it caused the Apostle Paul to cry out in Ephesians 3:17-19:
… that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Words seem so inadequate to describe what God calls you and me …
chosen of God … holy … beloved
Such truth to ponder!
After thinking deeply upon those truths, let us return to the phrase with which we began:
Therefore, as the elect (chosen) of God, holy and beloved …
The phrase begins with the word therefore.
The word therefore indicates the idea of:
Based on this; or because of these truths
Scripture will say … therefore (because of these truths) … and an action or instruction will follow. Therefore sums up the reason the action should be taken.
It as though the Scripture is saying because you are chosen of God, holy and beloved behave in this manner. Because of who you are!
Because of who we are in Christ, every attitude of heart, every thought, every word, and every deed should should reflect Him! Because we are chosen by Him, because we are holy, set apart unto Him, because we are beloved by Him, we should live in the light of those truths!
Because of who we are… Because of who we are! … Because we are His!
In the next few days we will expand this verse, as we only examined the introductory phrase, but for now I would like to return to my original question. Have you ever been asked to introduce yourself or a friend? If you are a true believer in Christ, I would like to submit my heartfelt “introduction” of you.
I would like for you to meet my friend. She is chosen of God. Her heart and life are holy, set apart unto her God, and she is dearly beloved by her God. Her life will be a blessing to you!
In our current, fast-paced world of hurry, busyness, and nonstop news and entertainment, many things ferociously compete to consume our hearts and minds. However, as believers in Christ, we desperately need to unplug from these thieves which steal our time. The need for quiet, uncluttered, and unhurried time to ponder the truths of the Word of God is as great or greater than it has ever been.
For several years, the Lord consistently pulled at my heart, to release certain things. I, on the other hand, consistently reasoned why they were not bad things … and they were not bad, in and of themselves. The problem was that they consumed my time, and I could agree that they were often a waste of time. I have since come to understand that how I spend my TIME is how I spend my LIFE! Therefore, if it was a waste of time, it was, sadly, a waste of my life.
It all began with a question that the Lord placed on my heart. The question was:
What is entertainment?
As I so frequently do, I headed to the dictionaries. What I found could be summed up in these phrases:
Entertainment: To pleasurably occupy the mind, to divert the mind, to amuse the mind
What I realized was that the role of entertainment was specifically directed to the mind. Several definitions focused on the diversion of the mind. And then came the next questions:
What does the word divert mean? And … to divert the mind from what?
Back to the dictionaries I went:
Divert: To turn aside from a path or course; to draw off to a different course or purpose; to distract from serious occupation
So the question I had to face was:
What was turning aside and distracting (diverting) my mind from the things of Christ?
Clearly, if we are honest, we can see that entertainment (as well as other things) does divert the mind from reality and from the things which are truly important. But for the believer, a much more serious problem arises. It serves to divert the mind from the Lord Himself and from His Word.
When I came to that realization, I so wish that I could say that I quickly and readily laid aside those things which were stealing my time (my life) and diverting my mind. I didn’t. I continued to falter. Lay them aside. Pick them back up. Waste time. Diverted mind. Lay them aside. Pick them back up. Waste time. Diverted mind. Ashamedly, I tell you, I remained in that pattern for quite some time.
What I finally came to understand was that God had something infinitely better for me. He wanted that time for something incredibly more meaningful. He wanted that time (my life) for Himself. He wanted that time for me in His Word. And He wanted me to have time to meditate … to ponder … on His Word. (By the way, one can ponder the Word of God as she is at the kitchen sink, as she folds laundry, as she nurses a baby, as she rides a lawn mower, and on and on and on.)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. … Psalm 1:1-2
Blessings lie within meditating on the Word of God. Quiet, uncluttered pondering on the Word serves to settle our hearts in truth and guide our paths. It helps us think and walk rightly.
But along come all of the things that will divert our minds. That is why it is so necessary to be keenly aware of where our thoughts are going. If we are His, we must set our minds on our risen Lord and the things above.
Colossians 3:1-2 exhorts us:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. …
For the believer in Christ, it matters where our thoughts are. It matters if our thoughts are diverted to fleshly and earthly things, rather than things above. When our minds are set on things above where Christ is, He then shows us how to properly live on this earth. He will teach us to be the person He wants us to be. He will teach us to be the neighbor He wants us to be. If we are married, he will teach us to be the wife He wants us to be. If we have children, He will teach us to be the mother He wants us to be. He will teach us that whatever we do in word or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. And it will all be for His glory!
Lord, help us to guard our hearts, for from that heart flows everything about our lives. Help us, Lord, be willing to lay aside those things that divert our minds from You.
Keep our heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
First things first. What a common saying! If you were raised in the generation in which I was raised, you probably heard that saying somewhat frequently. I will let your own memory serve to bring examples to mind. Yes, certain things were to be first. Then, something else would follow.
The actual definition of the word first is:
Being before all others, with respect to time, order, rank, or importance
First is a priority word.
In the Christian life, there are some things that should be first.
When Jesus was asked by one of the lawyers what was the greatest commandment, He replied:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22:37-39
Our love for God should always be first. And then our love for our neighbors.
Likewise, in Revelation 2:4, when Jesus rebuked the church at Ephesus, after commending them for all their good works, He declared:
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Yes, our love for Him is the most important. It is first. Be sure, a thousand other things, often “good” things, will try to usurp that place, but we must not allow it. First things first. He must be first. He is our Lord and Savior! He is worthy! He is preeminent! He must be first!
But, what I would also like to draw our attention to is a brief phrase in 1 Timothy 5:4:
… let them first learn to show godliness in their own household … (ESV)
This phrase is set in the context of care for widows. Children, grandchildren, and family were to learn to first care for those widows in their family. Those widows were a priority … they were to be cared for first … before others outside of that family. It was a truth which needed to be learned. Those widows had cared for their families, and the families were now to care for them.
Embedded within that truth is the priority of family. Let them first learn to show godliness in their own household. In our homes, with those who live in our homes, with our own family members … it is there where we are to first learn to show godliness. Those family members are priority. We are to love them and care for them as the Lord cares for us. It is there where we are to show godliness. Does it ever seem as though those are the most difficult people? But it is there where we learn. They are a priority because God Himself created the family. He created the man and the woman to be joined as one flesh, and from that union to bear children. Yes, the family was God’s design! It is a priority.
It is so easy to let all of the things outside of our homes draw us away. Just as they can draw us away from the Lord, they can draw us away from serving our families. We get our priorities misplaced. We can be so busy “doing good things” outside of our homes that we fail to show godliness within our homes. I have been there … far more often than I wish. What then is the solution? When Jesus rebuked the church at Ephesus, He also gave the solution:
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,
Recall that those at Ephesus were commended for many good things. However, they had left their priority … loving Jesus. Their instruction was to remember, to turn back to Him, and do the first works of loving Him once again.
It is the same for us with our families. If we have forgotten that it is there where we are to first show godliness, loving them and caring for them as a priority, we should remember, turn back, and get first things first.
Does this mean we do not serve outside of our homes? Absolutely not! Though some may tire of that Proverbs 31 woman, I never do. She always encourages me. She is a woman who lovingly fears the Lord … She is a woman who does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life … She is a woman who lovingly and diligently cares for her children … She is a woman who looks well into the ways of her household … Yet, she is a woman who reaches out her hand to the poor and needy … And she is a woman who speaks with wisdom and kindness.
May I submit to you that she is a woman who keeps first things first!
Lord, help us all, by your grace, turn back where we need to and put first things first!
When I was a child, about ten years old, we embarked upon a family vacation which included a trip to the Smithsonian Institute. I recall very little of that experience, except for one portion of the museum which I shall never forget. As we strolled through the museum, I was absolutely captivated as my young eyes beheld the magnificence of those sparkling gems in the Smithsonian Gem Gallery. Never had I seen such beauty as the lights shined upon those remarkable stones, radiating an elegance and loveliness which I had never before seen.
In years since, I have unsuccessfully searched for photographs or images of gems which reflect that beauty. I have repeatedly found that only the real life experience of viewing those radiant stones, as the light shined upon them in those displays, could ever reveal their true magnificence.
I share this experience for one reason. I am fully persuaded that the words which I will write on this page are totally incapable of reflecting the beauty of a “meek and quiet spirit.” It will take the Lord Himself to shine His light upon these truths in a life for anyone to truly experience the deep beauty referred to as a “meek and quiet spirit.”
Why do I say that a meek and quiet spirit is full of beauty? Let’s examine the Scriptures. In contrasting outward beauty with inward beauty, the Word of God says:
… rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle (meek) and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4
A meek and quiet spirit is beautiful because God calls it beautiful. It is found hidden within the heart, and it is an incorruptible beauty. Outward beauty will most certainly age, fade, and ultimately decay, but inward beauty is incorruptible. It doesn’t age, decay, or fade away. And what is this inward beauty? It is a meek and quiet spirit … and when God sees that kind of spirit within someone, He says it is of great value, that it is very precious. Now don’t misunderstand. The world and most people would not consider it valuable at all, but it is precious in the sight of God.
Since we can see that it is a beauty that God commends, we must be sure that we truly understand what a meek and quiet spirit is. First, it is an inward beauty of the heart. Knowing that the Word of God says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), how could it ever be described as incorruptible beauty? What a contrast!
So let’s examine our words.
If you check multiple Bible dictionaries, you will discover these basic meanings for meekness and quietness.
Meekness is that disposition of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament the meek were those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation.
Meekness, therefore, is complete trust and confidence in God’s goodness toward His children. It doesn’t resist or complain. It trusts God.
Quietness carries with it the meaning of stillness, calmness, and tranquility. It is not disturbed by outward circumstances, and also causes no disturbance to others.
Therefore, a meek and quiet spirit is an inner attitude that is calm, undisturbed and undisturbing because that heart is trusting in God’s control and His goodness toward His children. And God says that it is of great value, very precious in His sight.
Now to magnify the beauty of this spirit, let’s place the meaning of these words in the context where we find them in Scripture. In 1 Peter 2:13-3:17, the Apostle Peter is instructing believers to properly submit to authority. Within the passage he exemplifies how this is to be done, even if one has a difficult or unreasonable authority. He gives that instructions to servants. He gives the same instruction to wives that have difficult husbands – those who are disobedient to the Word. But, more magnificently, He uses Christ as our very example of meekness and quietness when he was so unjustly treated.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO committed NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; … 1 Peter 2:21-23.
Examine the passage closely. Can you see Christ’s meekness and quietness, completely trusting the Father who judges righteously? That magnitude of trust is beautiful indeed! And for us to walk in that kind of trust will take God Himself working in and through us. Yes, meekness is a part of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Meekness and quietness … very precious in the sight of God.
May I return for a moment to my reference to the magnificent, sparkling gemstones that radiated so beautifully in the Smithsonian? Did you know that in study of gemstones, one finds a few common facts. Gemstones are always considered a rare formation. Amazingly, they are formed right within the earth. However, either intense heat or intense pressure (or both) is the catalyst required for the formation of those rare, but radiant stones.
In a similar way, God often uses “intense heat and intense pressure” (difficult circumstances) to form the rare beauty of a meek and quiet spirit within His people. As the Scripture declares, it is incorruptible beauty! And it is very precious in His sight. May we learn more and more to trust God’s control, God’s goodness, and God’s great love in every aspect of our lives! What beauty He is able to form!
… for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, … Philippians 2:13-15
A.M. Reading: Genesis Review
We have completed the book of Genesis.
Return to the beginning of Genesis and turn through the pages of your Bible, looking at the titles and or subtitles that have been written in the chapters.
As you skim through those sections, recall these truths:
What did you learn about God?
What did you learn about human beings?
What did you learn about God’s relationship with His people?
How, then, do these truths relate to your life?
Don’t hurry through these truths. Think deeply upon them.
May the Word of Christ dwell richly within!
A.M. Reading: Genesis 49
Genesis 49 Questions Worth Pondering:
As Jacob prepares to die, why does he call his sons to him?
What does “what shall befall you in the last days” mean?
These prophetic utterances would in many cases be fulfilled in their lives, as well as in their tribes for many generations to come. Some remain yet to be fulfilled.
How do we know that some of these proclamations were based upon the character and lives of these men? Give examples.
Which two of the sons received the most attention in these prophesies?
Which son was the one to whom the scepter belongs?
Judah’s line would be the one through whom the Messiah would come.
Read Revelation 5:5. What is Jesus called in this verse?
Isn’t it amazing that from the first book in the Bible to the last, God fulfills His Word!
Reread Genesis 49:22-26.
What has Jacob come to understand about Joseph’s life with God?
What names does he use to refer to God?
Does Jacob say those things about God to any of the other sons?
Where does Jacob request to be buried? Why?
P.M. Reading: Genesis 50
Genesis 50 Questions Worth Pondering:
What do we know about Joseph’s great love for his father?
How is Jacob’s body prepared?
Even though they followed burial customs of Egypt, how did Joseph fulfill Jacob’s burial request?
Once Joseph’s brother saw that their father had died, what did they fear?
What did the brothers request?
What was Joseph’s immediate reaction?
What does Joseph mean when he said, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?”
How did the brothers mean evil toward Joseph?
But how did God mean it for good?
What was God’s ultimate purpose in sending Joseph to Egypt?
How would Joseph demonstrate his forgiveness to his brothers?
How did he speak to them?
As Joseph ages and prepares for death, what request does he make? Why?
A “think” question: How can we see God’s faithfulness to Joseph throughout his life?
How can we see God’s faithfulness to all His people?
What do we learn about forgiveness?
How would that apply to our lives today?
Think upon these things.
May the Word of Christ dwell richly within!