What comes to mind at the mention of a “gentle and quiet spirit?” Do you imagine strength or weakness? An opinionated voice or a doormat? Bold or mild? When I hear these words, it feels like I don’t measure up. I forget to think before I speak and say things “like it is.” I have opinions and I share them. To me, the world is more black and white than gray. So how do I fit into this celebrated phrase? It’s a little like squeezing into a too small pair of shoes and trying to walk five miles. Pretty soon we kick those shoes off and do what feels right.
Our society places a great deal of emphasis on outward appearance and actions. But internal transformation creates consistency in outward behavior. Gentleness and quietness are character traits that we develop over time. It’s difficult to measure heart growth, so emphasis gets placed on behaviors. But when this happens, we run the risk of misinterpreting the Bible, and personal preferences and convictions rule the day rather than God’s word.
1 Peter 3:4 is one such verse. It states, “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.” We must examine this verse within the biblical and historical context. God’s word is living and active, applicable to our everyday lives.
So what does it mean to have a gentle and quiet spirit, and how do we apply it to our lives?
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