I recently sat at the dinner table with a group of college students. It seems that one of the female students had, in the midst of a bad day, unleashed her tongue on some well-meaning business man. She told us of the anger in her voice and the “let him have it” spirit in her words. Then several of the students at the table applauded her saying things like “You go girl!” and “Way to stick up for yourself!”
We live in a world of feminism; a culture which gives its respect to the loudest and most crass women; a society that gives its nod to the modern Madonnas and Brittanys who trample the time honored values of modesty, decorum and femininity.
So how do Christian women respond to this world of feminism? Does living in the “I am woman! Hear me roar!” era give us a pass to ignore scriptures such as the following?
Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well being (I Cor.10:24)
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Therefore “IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom.12:18-21)
When thinking about the latter part of Romans twelve, it serves us well to think about the first two verses of that same chapter. They tell us in no uncertain terms that Christians are to live sacrificial and holy lives. They call us to moral and spiritual non-conformity. They give us a clarion call to be distinctive from the society in which we live. While sometimes when we think of worldliness we think of drinking, illicit sex or reckless affluence, we must remember that worldliness is simply caving in to societal norms. For us, as women in the dawn of the twenty-first century in America, there is no greater temptation to be like the world than that of adapting its feminist “it’s all about me” mentality. The devil must surely be gloating over this attitudinal saturation even within the Lord’s church. We must guard our hearts, words and decisions from this invasion of culture. We must, like Caleb of old, reject the spirit of our contemporaries and be filled with “another spirit” (Numbers 14:24).
What is that spirit?
It’s the spirit of modesty. It’s found in I Peter three, verses three and four:
Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Have you ever considered the change in society that would be affected if women en masse committed themselves to this selfless spirit? Let’s prayerfully consider the meaning of a meek and quiet spirit and the amazing implications that adherence to God’s will for our spirits can have for our relationships.
What is a gentle spirit?
The word Peter uses here means just what you would think: gentle and meek. We know what it means to be a gentle person. It’s the way good mothers handle their newborn babies…gently. It’s the way we speak to a godly grandfather who has just lost his companion of sixty years. It’s the way we instruct our toddlers to hold the kitten. It’s the mildness in our voices as we thank the Father for our safety through a tornado or hurricane. We know what gentleness is.
But meekness also carries with it an idea of submission. Meekness is having a cause bigger than oneself. It’s the ability to be about my father’s business (Luke 2:49) rather than my own; to fall down before Him and say “not my will but thine be done” (Matthew 26:39); to forever melt my will into His. It is having the heart of Jesus when he said “I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). He knew full well that giving me the peace and rest of Calvary meant its torment and agony for Him. Gentleness is my ability to put myself—my desires, my comfort, my agenda –aside and find fulfillment in the success of the cause for which I am living. It is being a non-conformist in a self promoting culture.
What is a quiet spirit?
The Greek word for quiet means just that: quiet and tranquil. Would this spirit transform our lives or what? Many of our homes are panic-stricken. They often serve as little pit stops between emergencies. When we make those stops it seems we are bombarded with messages, phone calls, emails, and general chaos.
My husband, Glenn, recently decided that he wanted to name our house. What he really wanted to do was to use some new woodworking tools and craft a sign for our yard, sort of like the colonial houses often displayed. He even had the name picked out in his mind: Serenity. He got busy and made a lovely colonial sign that heralded our visitors that they had arrived at Serenity.He was very proud of his work until one Sunday evening when we got home from worship, some anonymous friend, who likely knew us all too well, had crafted her own wooden sign and had hung it deliberately over the word Serenity. It read in large print: Chaos. While this was just a neighbor’s prank, it got me thinking. If the state of my home were printed at all times on a sign in my yard, what would that characterization most often be?
(to be continued…)