Friday, September 12, 2014

The Heart of the Matter

"Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be with the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 1 Peter 3:3-4

I was looking forward to working through 1 Peter this week and as I read I'm reminded of why. As we look at the scriptures, Peter is one of the disciples we get to read the most detailed stories about. I can so readily relate to his quick tongue and sometimes inappropriate or downright wrong responses. One thing is sure; this man was passionate. He was full of passion for His Lord and walked closely with Him during His 3 years of earthly ministry. I've had such a hard time S.O.A.P.'ing because I want to write out every verse in the first 3 chapters. Most of them stand out to me! It means so much to read these words from Peter who failed in the most significant ways. He of all of the disciples knew that what mattered to God was the condition of the heart. He also knew the joy of restoration and redemption, face to face with the risen Christ.(John 21:15-17) 

This specific challenge is for us women. Yep, they had the same desires way back then to be physically desirable and attractive and they tried to hide their imperfections by "dressing them up." Keeping up outward appearances was still common practice and The Lord spoke to what concerns Him the most with women in these short verses. 

None of what we put on the outside of our bodies matters to Him. It's what our insides are like that, "is of great worth in God's sight." It's exhausting keeping everything perfect and pretty and we go to great lengths to do it. Especially in our youth obsessed culture. I haven't checked yet, but will take an educated guess that all of the industries in which women can invest in for outward appearance are doing VERY WELL. And rightly so because we've bought the lie that our appearance matters more then then condition of our hearts. This couldn't be further from the truth. The kind of woman Solomon wrote about in Proverbs 31 indeed continues to be a rarity ..."who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10 

 God is not fooled by our pretty hair dos and shiny jewelry. He sees the things we try to hide from other people. The covetousness and selfishness in our hearts. He longs to clothe us in His righteousness. Even after He has, don't be fooled into thinking we can't have some issues of the heart. Our hearts can be bitter, unforgiving and greedy. They can be lustful and self-seeking even after The Lord has saved them because we choose to seek after the things our flesh desires and not the things of the spirit of the living God within us. Disobedience and numbness toward God are a direct result of seeking after the flesh.(Galatians 5:1) In Galatians, Paul challenges us to walk in the spirit. (Galatians 5:15-25)

What is precious in God's sight is "the hidden person of the heart."  Let's examine and ask ourselves the hard questions, so we do not become callous to the leading of the spirit of God.(Psalm 139:23-24) 

Don't get me wrong friends, we can still put on our make up, do our hair and wear our jewelry. Our Lord has no issue with that, but if our hearts are left unchecked, there are bound to be problems. We'll come up for air and realize we've been "lulled to sleep with a false sense of security." (one of my husband's favorite lines) Let's let our beauty come from the messy process of digging into our hearts, seeing what truly lies there, giving it to the Lord and asking Him to change us. When we give the broken things to Him, He always restores and redeems. Beauty for ashes. But this kind of beauty cannot be outdone when it is encountered. It may even cause someone to completely overlook physical appearance and that is powerful! 

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty for the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3

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