Sunday, January 17, 2016

Would Others Call Your Life Lovely?

{Written by Nancy Campbell}

"Live a LOVELY life among the heathen."
1 Peter 2:12

I was arrested by the above words "a lovely life" as I read through William Barclay's translation of the New Testament. I checked the words in my Greek Lexicon and yes, Barclay's translation is correct. The word "kalos" means "beautiful {even more than lovely}, good, honest, worthy."

I also noted the word "lovely" in Matthew 5:15, 16: "A lamp is not lit to be put under a bowl. It is lit to be put on a lampstand, and then it shines for EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE TO SEE IT. Just so, your light must shine for everyone to see, so that, when they see the LOVELY THINGS you do, it may make them want to praise your Father who is in heaven."

Can people describe my life by the lovely things I do? Can they describe your life this way? Where does it start? Our light first shines for everyone in our home to see and then shines out to neighbors and people around us. How do they see this light? By the lovely things we do and say.

Do we speak lovely words to our husbands? Do we speak lovely words to our children? It's hypocritical to speak nice words to others outside the home if we are angry, shouting, and nasty in the home.

If we are born again, Christ dwells in us by His Holy Spirit. He wants to live His lovely life through us with all His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, and kindness, etc. Let's yield to the life of Christ who lives within us and live a lovely life today--doing lovely things and speaking lovely words.

But the Bible not only talks about a "a lovely life" but "a beautiful life." We read about this beautiful life in 1 Peter 3: 3-6. It tells us about the women who lived "in the old time," or as one translation says, "once upon a time." Once upon a time, way back in history, women made themselves beautiful in a different way than now. But it is a way that is very precious to God. Let's read about it in a few different translations so we can really get the picture:

New Century Version: "In this same way, the holy women who lived long ago and followed God made themselves beautiful, yielding to their own husbands."

New Living Translation: "You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands."

Are you getting the picture? Let me give you one more passage where the word "beauty" is mentioned SEVEN times! Once again it is in William Barclay's translation: "Your beauty must not be the superficial beauty which depends on elaborate hair-styles and expensive jewelry and the wearing of fashionable clothes. No! Your beauty must be the beauty of your inner character and personality. It must consist of the beauty of a gentle; and serene character, a beauty which the years cannot wither, for in God's sight that is what is really precious. This was the beauty with which once upon a time consecrated women, whose hopes were set on God, adorned themselves. They accepted the authority of their husbands. It was in this that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master." Did you count the word "beauty" seven times?

God never commands a husband to make his wife submit to him {but he sure has every right to tell her as her head! My addition. :) }. God's commands the husband to love his wife like his own body and as much as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it {Ephesians 5:25-33}. It is something she does of her own volition, from her own humble heart of submission to the Lord. Submission is an adorning. It is how we clothe ourselves, and it is an adorning that makes us beautiful.

Why is submission a beautiful thing? Because it is the same attitude of Jesus who submitted to His father's will. Although Jesus was God He was willing to leave glory and become a man, humble Himself, even to the death of the cross {Philippians 2:5-8}.

Do we make ourselves ugly with a stubborn and rebellious heart? Or do we make ourselves beautiful because of our sweet, submissive spirit?