What are we doing with our strength and influence? In the last blog, Part 1, I wrote on women’s faith in God, as well as an introduction to how a wife can use her powers for good. In the last entry I wrote how a wife could choose to step out of faith and use her powers to manipulate and control, even rebel and oppose her husband. God wants His people to shine in strength. He also wants us to have discernment on how to use the powers He has given to us, including in a marriage relationship.
Text: I Peter 3:1-7
Peter writes on the role of the wife, sharing how to add her power to a marriage in humility. Any person on any team should understand the importance of teamwork, as well as how to support leadership. In a marriage, principles of teamwork and leadership also apply.
Teams are powerful when they work together. To work together, God put two leaders in the home, giving the husband leadership over the wife. In chapter 3, Peter writes about the husband’s authority in the marriage. Submission is when one person yields to the other person.
In the Bible we all are told to submit to the Lord, yielding to His authority instead of living self-sufficiently in our own strength. This is a powerful spiritual principle, one of leaning on God in faith rather than standing in our own strength. The idea of yielding is also taught in the Bible when it tells us to submit to one another. Also where it admonishes us to yield to the authority of a parent, of an employer, of a political leader. The yielded heart is the heart that honors God’s role as Lord, also seen in respect for human authority. In this case, it is the husband, and Peter is speaking on how a woman can use her strength to influence her husband.
“when they observe your chaste (pure) conduct accompanied by fear (respect, honor).”
Peter teaches that the way to effectively influence a husband is through respecting him. We all want to be respected, or shown value, for who we really are. A wife wants respect, too. When we love one another, we show honor to one another, whatever our roles. When a wife honors her husband, he knows she values him and the responsibility he carries as her leader.
To adorn means “to enhance, to make pleasing or impressive, to make more attractive, to add beauty to.” Peter encourages the woman not to focus on the outward methods of adornment, but on a deeper level of impression.
“rather let it be the hidden (inner) person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle (meek) and quiet (harmonious) spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
I love this verse because it tells me something about myself that God would consider to be precious – not only in a marriage relationship, but in my relationship with Him. Whether man or woman, we know faith is what pleases God, and faith is more than believing; faith is that precious quality of a heart that has turned from self-sufficiency to that discovery of love, the decision to abandon self and trust completely, to surrender stand-alone “me” in order to have I-want-union-with-you “us.” I let go of control, and I let God have the reigns of my heart. My yielded heart for God shows up in my yielded heart to yield to others, and that yielded heart for my husband, my partner in life and for life.
When my husband sees how much I love him, that I am willing to take my strength and bring it under his strength, it is pleasing. This is what meekness is – controlled strength. This word has been translated “gentle” in verse 4, also meaning “humble.” Some women are very quiet and soft in their personality, some are not, but this verse is not about personality; it is about choice on what to do with strength. This is another verse I love:
James 4:6 “God resists the proud (or self-sufficient), but gives grace (His limitless strength) to the humble (yielded).”
The word “quiet” in verse 4 is a Greek word that describes “harmonious” or the one that works together with another in unity. It could also be translated “peaceable.” Peter didn’t mean to say that a woman, a precious child of God, is to be silent. She has a voice. It can be a beautiful, strong voice. Peter meant that her spirit, or her demeanor, of a willingness to work together, is precious. This definition pairs well with meekness.
Verses 5 and 6
Peter refers to God’s Hebrew women in Scripture as examples. He mentions their trust in God, and from that trust, examples like Sarah who obeyed her husband. The word obey isn’t to mean the woman is a child. It means to hear the leading, to respond to the leading with humility, and to act in compliance with the leading. Sarah called Abraham, “lord” or “leader.” Peter encouraged wives to do good and not be afraid or intimidated. Be strong. It takes strength to honor a leader of any kind. Could the wife decide to make it on her own and do her own thing, even in a marriage? Of course – she’s intelligent, resourceful, and strong – made in the image of her Father God. Instead of choosing to use her strength to work independently of her husband, The Good Wife chooses to yield her strength to her husband.
We have focused on control issues for the wife. In verse 7 Peter address the control issues of a husband. Peter says to give honor to the wife, or respect, for being the weaker vessel. While most women, not all, have a weaker physical ability than men, not all, this is not the weakness Peter is referring to. I’ve heard some describe women as weak because of the general nurturing nature of women, not all, but I disagree. The same woman who will show sensitivity is the same woman who you will not want to cross if you threaten the ones she cares for. This Greek word for weaker is simply describing a subordinate. Honor her has the one who is following your lead in your home.
Peter says to honor her as an heir together of the grace of life. The Greek word for heir in verse 7 denotes a “joint-heir” who possesses his or her “lot” or “portion” as a participant with another. This is so awesome for marriages – together receiving what God has for them.
If the husband does not recognize and honor his wife as a joint-participant, his prayers could be hindered. Can prayers be hindered? As pastors, we sometimes witness men and women who genuinely ask God for His help, but we also see the same people living in disobedience and neglecting their kingdom responsibilities. We do believe faith, which surrenders in obedience, will receive; but we also believe disobedience and neglect can hinder a person from receiving.
A husband may not fulfill his destiny if he does not respect the person he is jointly participating with, if he does not honor or include her strength.
How to Submit Your Strength
The following are principles for yielding that apply to a wife, or to anyone who has a leader in life – an employer, a pastor, a parent, or other leader.
- First, yield to God. We can’t do anything good apart from Him.
- If yielding comes as a challenge, I would first suggest you go to the Lord and let Him reveal any hurt or loss that you haven’t surrendered to God. If so, allow Him to fill you up and love that out of you. Receiving His healing and wholeness. It’s okay if the restoration is progressive.
- Grow in spiritual strength and overcome desires of the soul to have their way.
- Make the decision to yield your strength, whether you feel like it or not. It is a choice.
- Lean on the Holy Spirit to develop meekness.
I pray you find the joy in being on a marriage team where you know fulfillment of purpose as a couple, ruling and reigning in life together!