"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1Pe 3:3-4).
The persons in focus in this verse are women, but the principles also apply to the other side of the house in a little different way. Men tend to focus on their material possessions, waxing the car to an enviable shine, dressing in smart shoes with gold or silver toned accessories, watches etc. We brethren are not exempt from this temptation. Remember it was the man Achan who looked, and coveted, and then took that wedge of gold and a goodly Babylonish garment.
The need for Peter to speak against ornamentation speaks to its widespread use in his day. Does God then not appreciate beauty? The answer is, or course He does. To view the unspoiled beauty of a flower or the intricate design of a butterfly wing convinces us of the fact. Rather the conflict enters when we feel the need to improve on His design.
Our culture encourages this attitude setting a false standard for us to follow. While reliable figures indicating the exact amount of money spent in the U.S. on jewelry vary, sources show figures ranging from 40 60 billion dollars or more annually. This huge amount spent on jewelry completely swallows the total 2006 economic budget of the whole country of Honduras at a mere 1.9 million dollar. Many, other countries have budgets even much lower yet. Our society rewards beautiful people in many ways and sets unreal goals to reach those standards; conversely, society often then turns about and punishes those who are not able to measure up to those same standards. Aside from any cultural context, these struggles find their root in the Adamic nature. This nature desires to make ourselves better than we really are thus appealing to both vanity and pride. The word makeup itself betrays that intent (to be made up) Genuineness is refreshing; is it not? no facade no extras, just me. The strength and beauty in simplicity cannot be matched by ornamentation. Simplicity is a beauty not affected by age or station. We need to be satisfied first of all with who we are in Christ, and allow the work of His Spirit to transform and strengthen our inner man. We also need to be satisfied with the way God has made us and realize those things of true value and worth and are internal, the place of real beauty. Peter explains they are of great price. Sadly we often fail to realize the true worth and value of a beautiful character which Peter describes as incorruptible. This value cannot be spoiled by time and it endures throughout all eternity.
As Peter said to the lame man begging at the Beautiful gate, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee." By God's grace, we in our day can bring souls to Christ, not by our expensive trimmings or by our paint; rather they will be won by our godly conversation and life. May God help us to see the strength and beauty in simplicity.
God's standard is to be clothed with humility.
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1Pe 5:5).
God's standard is to refuse costly array.
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array" (1Tim 2:9): as one that seeketh a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10).
— Elizabethtown, PA