I was recently asked to teach on 1 Peter 3:3-5 at a different event and although I had never cared for that verse (“quiet and meek” are not in my resume) upon study, I discovered something wonderful. According to Strong’s Dictionary, “quiet” is better translated “tranquil” and “meek” is better translated “complete trust”. Strong’s says it is the kind of trust that rests in God while you still cannot see how He can fix things, when you don’t see justice taking place yet, when you don’t have to know how God will work, you just trust that He will – because that is Who He is. Peter tells us that tranquility and that kind of purposeful trust, of throwing yourself upon God and resting in His determination to be God in every single way, that is how women are adorned with beauty. So that is what I see in these women: a trusting soul who is being filled increasingly by the Spirit of God. He is what radiates outward in us when we choose to trust and rest in God. And His Spirit through our humanity, our mind, heart, body and spirit, become one incredibly unique and powerful presence in this world. We then truly reflect something breathtaking.
And that is why we are filled with love and joy in their presence. We can experience the life of Christ in these women, these women who are continually sacrificing their own agendas to wait on God’s, their own strength to wait on God’s strength, and their own will to be led by God’s. It is as Luke 11:36 says: “If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight is shining on you.”
Being a believer is not enough. The Holy Spirit is not freed to radiate just because we accept soul-salvation. It is as we are increasingly directed by and controlled by the Spirit that we become more radiant. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 tells us that “wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” and “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him, and reflect His glory even more.” There are plenty of darkened Christians who are stubbornly resisting surrender to the Spirit in significant areas of their life but they think that nobody can see this. These individuals grieve my heart more than any other kind of person. We expect the lost (someone who doesn’t yet know God) to be darkened – of course. Even a new believer with tons of messes in their life can be brighter than this other kind of darkened Christian, because the new believer is purposefully in process. They want God to change them and He has them in process. It takes a long time to undo the tangles and messes of life, but when this person is set upon cooperation and growth, they shine. Their messes don’t dim their shining. But how I shudder to think of some of those I know who do know God, who have listened to all the right teachings, but who live by the “but you don’t understand” philosophy. They aren’t changing because they feel they have just cause to be as they are. It reminds me of that place where Jesus says, “If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be.” The word He uses just before this, about “an evil eye that shuts out light and plunges you into darkness” for “evil” is poneros, and it means: full of labors, annoyances, hardships, diseased or blind. This kind of evil is not just reserved for lost people; I know some Christians who have this kind of darkness and it is deeply disturbing to me.
The women I have been drawn to lately are powerfully radiant, however. I don’t mean charismatic and winsome; I mean that the Spirit radiates from them in a powerful and magnetic way. I believe that when the Spirit is so evident in a believer, others are magnetically and almost irresistibly drawn to that person. I think that is part of why the most tangled-up, burdened-down people were drawn to Jesus: He radiated the Spirit. Of course, He is one with the Spirit and with God in ways we cannot understand really. But even so, in Jesus’ final discourse to His disciples the night before He was crucified, He said that we would be much like Him when the Spirit comes to us. He also said that as we obey His commands (not law, but His teachings, His ways, His leading) that Jesus would reveal Himself to us and also that He and His Father would come and make their home with that individual. These are powerful words! (See John 14:20-26.)
I know the teaching-gift in me has kicked in so I’ll come back to my original point: when we are someone the Spirit radiates through, when we wear our soul well because it is filled with His light, others will be drawn to us, will feel an indescribable love for us and be filled with joy as they interact with us. It is inexplicable; but if you have spent time with someone like this you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. So while I am not clear yet about how to receive love from others that I feel don’t know me, I have become keenly aware of how I can love someone else in whom the Spirit freely moves. I know the joy of truly seeing them, being affected by their presence, being aware of God’s life in them just as you spend time with them. I am beginning to understand better how love can be legitimate and powerful in those who don’t really “know” us in our “private” lives, because they actually “know” who we are. They can see our soul, experience who we really are, without being a close ally or intimately acquainted with all the parts of our lives. They don’t have to watch us in all venues to know who we really are: it is evident, it is powerful, and it is very, very real. They see us and they can love us as a result.