What Makes a Woman Great
There is so much talk these days of breaking through the glass ceiling. Shattering gender roles and making a name for ourselves. At times, the gender card is thrown out there regardless of qualifications or character. The lone fact that I am a woman is all that matters, apparently.
What is even more disturbing is the way women treat each other, especially online. I am not on Twitter. And most days, I am glad I am not. Sometimes Tim gives me a peak at the Twitter wars, and what other women are saying to each other, and it's enough to make one cry.
I'm told there is now even "blocking" done, where you can stop someone from making a comment you dislike. If this is how to make a name for yourself, something is wrong.
Why do we feel the need to tear each other apart to get ahead?
I think it's important to look at the holy women of the past to see what makes a woman great. In I Peter, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is held up as an example of someone we are to emulate. Peter offered stellar advice that continues to be true through the centuries:
"You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful." (I Peter 3:4-5a)
The Hidden Person of the Heart
The beauty that comes from within is translated in the NASB as the hidden person of the heart. Not the persona, witty banter, or social stances we outwardly display. It's what is on the inside that really matters. We have heard this so often, I fear that our familiarity with its truth has outworn its welcome in our lives.
What is in our hidden person?
There are two qualities Peter says comprise an unfading beauty. The first is a gentle spirit.
In Greek, this word possesses the strong connotation of inner strength of character. It is the exact same word Christ used to describe Himself when He said: "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29) This sort of gentleness creates rest.
How are the volatile words we fling so flippantly today creating rest? Are they evidence of inner strength of character?
The second quality of an unfading beauty is a quiet spirit. Lest you right me off too quickly, I am not saying a women should be completely passive and rarely speak words of truth. If you break apart the Greek word here, it carries the idea of submission. Communication is not the key per se. It is not referring to how often a woman speaks or necessarily what a woman speaks. Rather, quiet spirit refers to the "spirit in which a woman communicates." A spirit of submission, one to another.
A woman who possesses a quiet spirit tempers everything she does throughout the day with kindness. She accomplishes a great deal, and asserts her personal opinion, but does it without clamoring for attention.
When I look to other women for wisdom and guidance, I seek out those women who are not clamoring for attention. They're not difficult to spot. They possess a quiet spirit that speaks volumes.
What makes a woman great is when we are making His Name great, not our own. And the best way to do this is by the hidden person of the heart. This is a beauty that does not fade. This is a beauty that is precious.
Peter says that this beauty is "so precious" to God. The Greek word for "precious" in this verse is only used two other times in I Peter. Both of the times it is used, it is employed in connection with Jesus Christ. First, in relation to the "precious" blood He shed. And second, that Jesus is the "precious" cornerstone of our faith (1:19; 2:4).
What stands out to me is that this quality is costly. It is associated with the blood of Christ Himself. It cost Christ to die and become our pardon. It will cost us something to obtain unfading beauty.
We may lose the following of the masses. We may never have our name in lights. Our most significant endeavors may be relegated to the four corners of our prayer room. But this is precious. This is great.
It cannot be understated, extreme value is placed upon this quality of a woman. This is what makes a woman great. I'm afraid we may be losing sight of this in today's Christian culture. What makes a woman great is not the number of likes we have on Facebook, the length of our email subscribers, or even the number of hearts our Instagrams accumulate. Instead, let us ask ourselves, what is precious to God?
"...the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."
This unfading beauty is rare, and it comes with a price. We all too often buy into the lie that to become known, we must clamor and be unkind. We can exhibit real spirit. We can voice our own opinions. But above all else, effort needs to be given to the hidden person of the heart. This aspect of Biblical womanhood does not change regardless of what society claims.
Let's shine from an inner beauty. Let's be women who know the value of self-control, taming the tongue, and kindness. Let's be precious... to one another.