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Holiness Breeds Confidence

1 Peter 3:5-6
For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (NIVUK)

Holiness should not make people dull or dowdy.  Instead, holiness (the desire to be set apart for God and His service) should be very attractive.  The English saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" misses the key to real beauty - which is a deep love for the Lord and a heartfelt passion to please Him.  True beauty comes from a God-loved heart, a quiet conscience and a satisfied spirit; which no jewellery or fragrance can ever manufacture.  The key to these qualities is submission, the willing acceptance of God's right over us, and to accept what He allows.
 
The example of Sarah in the Old Testament is interesting. Although the Genesis text does not show her to be perfect, she recognised Abraham to be the head of their household, and the one who took responsibility for household decisions. She was not prevented from making suggestions or expressing her opinion even when she was wrong.  Indeed, the suggestion for Abraham to have a child with her maid, Hagar, had disastrous consequences which are seen to this day.  But even though she was wrong, it was Abraham who bore the responsibility, even though she experienced the pain (Genesis 16:1-16).  In the end she received the blessing of her submission to her husband's will.  Despite the strange circumstances of their lives, she learned to grow in trust and refuse to give in to fear.

Peter’s comments are not to demean women or make them in any way inferior to their husbands.  Peter is not proposing that women should be forced to submit their personalities, bodies and activities to the will of their husbands.  Instead he is advocating such a depth of love that both women (and men) will submit to each other, instead of each asserting their rights over the other.  That kind of relationship mirrors the love-bond between God the Son and God the Father (John 6:38).
 
No marriage is perfect, not even Abraham’s.  The temptation to solve our problems in our own way is always present.  Often, when we consider that matters are hopeless, we take action out of desperation or fear.  But, in the home, God has appointed husbands to take the final responsibility, under Him.   But whatever the situation, living in apprehension is not good because God will honour those who submit themselves to others because they entrust themselves to Him.

Prayer 
Father God. Thank You for the example of Jesus Christ’s submission to You, lest I become too assertive for my own good and defame Your glory. Forgive me for not trusting You and for refusing to submit myself willingly to people around me. Help me to choose to place myself under the authority of those You have given to protect and lead me. And even when they make wrong decisions, give me the grace to still respect them and to trust You to protect me in situations I cannot control. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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