Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – 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 (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Our culture tells us that if you want to win influence, external adornment is the key. This is why I don’t have to teach my six-year-old daughter to play “dress up.” She knows, instinctively, that there is value in external beauty. Our culture follows suit. In 2007, Americans spent $39 billion on cosmetic products. When we add cosmetic procedures to the mix, the math gets even crazier. While Americans account for only about 4% of the world’s population, we account for roughly 20% of the world’s cosmetic procedures. Clearly we’re eager, as a culture, to go under the knife or needle in our pursuit of external beauty.

Peter is addressing the Christian wives of non-Christian husbands, urging them to “be subject…so that…they [the husbands] may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1). He certainly isn’t suggesting that external beauty is worthless. There is nothing wrong with braided hair or gold jewelry or (thankfully) clothing. He is simply suggesting that internal beauty is more powerful, more compelling, and more influential than external beauty.

While outer beauty is precious to the world, inner beauty is “very precious” in the sight of God. While external beauty fades and diminishes over time (no matter how much we invest in cosmetic products and procedures!), internal beauty is “imperishable.” While a fit body and nice clothes might turn heads, a gentle and quiet spirit can turn hearts.

This is an excerpt from the message Marriage in Exile, preached at Capitol City Christian Church on 6/10/2018. To hear the entire message, click here.

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