Your beauty should come from within you.


It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. [1Peter 3:3-4 NCV]

Though written to women, I think these verses are applicable to all who follow Jesus. If men were the target of Paul's advice, he might speak to how power and position, as well as fast cars and big televisions, stroke a man's ego. In reality, men are often more vain than women about their appearance. Not that I have any personal experience with vanity. ツ

I love how Paul speaks to us about a beauty that comes from within. When he speaks about "a gentle and quiet spirit", I am reminded of the fruit the Holy Spirit in our lives. Spiritual fruit makes all the difference in winning over a husband, wife or friend. Really, who can resist the power of love? Or the gentle patience of a caring relative or friend?

Help me Lord love what is precious to you Lord. Help me to flow with the Holy Spirit within me.


... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Yield


In the same way, you wives should yield to your husbands. Then, if some husbands do not obey God’s teaching, they will be persuaded to believe without anyone’s saying a word to them. They will be persuaded by the way their wives live. Your husbands will see the pure lives you live with your respect for God. [1Peter 3:1-2 NCV]
I can relate to these words. In 1975 my wife Ellen embraced the gospel message and was born again. Her life was radically changed. She was blind in both eyes and got her sight back in one eye when she asked Jesus into her life. The internal transformation emanated from her heart and affected everything she did. Her transformation won me to Christ.

I think that this is the transformation that Peter speaks to when he advises wive to yield to their husbands. Not needing to win an argument is evidence of a changed life. Being able to yield and defer to another person can be so hard. Yet it is so necessary. Sometimes the strongest person is the one who yields to another because it takes humility to yield.

I am proud Lord. I want to have my way. Give me the power to yield. Amen.


... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Returned


For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned
to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. -1Peter 2:25 NASB


Peter was well acquainted with what he writes here. Hard to read this and not think about how Jesus once told him:
"I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you,
when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
I think that the best image of returning to God is the found in the parable of the prodigal son. In that story we are taught that some stray openly, like the younger son, while others stray inwardly, like the older son. I love how the younger son remembers how much his father loves him and decides to return to him. The older seems to have forgotten that. Familiarity often keeps apart. Even so, with each son we find the father pursuing and challenging their self image.

Again we come Lord. Again we repent. Not our will but yours be done. Amen.


... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Wounds


He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. -1Peter 2:24

I have always loved the last word of this verse. Healed. In my Pentecostal years, I claimed this verse as I prayed for those who were sick. I still pray for people who are sick to be healed. Yet the healing I pray for often encompasses more than physical bodies. We are all broken in some way. The woundings of our past needs to be brought before God for healing.

The wounds of our hearts run deep. They surface in times of struggle and suffering. To be healed these wounds often need to be acknowledged. It is difficult for wounds kept in darkness to be healed. Like physical wounds these inner hurts can disable us if they are not brought to the light of the cross. On the cross Christ provided healing for our wounds.

I am in need of healing Lord. I offer myself to you. Please heal my wounds and make me whole.


... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Entrusting


He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. -1Peter 2:22-23 ESV


So interesting how Jesus did not try to control life through sinful actions like deceit, reviling or threatening.
A few days ago I wrote this to a friend whose husband has been on a breathing machine for several months:
"I recently had the thought that I am only trusting God when I am not (trying to be) in control. It reminded me of a time in 2002 when my world was falling apart as Ann lay paralyzed from the waist down in a cruise ship on the Caribbean. I was totally stressed and in the middle of crisis when God began to quietly speak to me about flowing with Him in life and not trying to control my life. I pray that you will find a way to flow with the Spirit in this distressing time."
Peter seems to echo this sentiment in these verses. When we are confronted with the crisis of suffering we have the choice of trying to grasp what little control we have or entrust ourselves, and our situations, to God. In doing this, and I can attest it is not easy, we open a door of inner peace in the midst of chaotic storms and crisis.

Once again Dear Lord, I let go of the desire to control. I entrust myself to you.


... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Example


For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example,
so that you might follow in his steps. -1Peter 2:21 ESV



Interesting how Peter writes that the voluntary suffering of Jesus is an example for us. To be truthful, I am not all that much in favor of entering in to the suffering of another. I want loving my neighbor to be devoid of sacrifice. I want to embrace stoically loving from a distance. Yet the example of Jesus challenges those views and leaves me without excuse.

Perhaps voluntary suffering is the heart of what it means to live like Jesus? Perhaps it is the essence of what it means to deny ourselves and take up our cross? And perhaps it is the only way to truly follow the example of Jesus? Yet when I think of following the example of Jesus I am not inclined to embrace opportunities to enter into another's suffering.

I am weak Lord. My will power is weak. Help me to follow your example in my life.


... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.