God’s Word Exposes – 1 Peter 3
By Mary Freeman
I am feeling a little exposed here. God’s Word does that and really it’s a good thing, a scary and painful thing sometimes, but a good thing. You see, I am beginning to finally believe that God loves me and accepts me totally in my incompleteness, in my mess, and yes even in my sin. I am learning it is okay to come out of hiding. He longs for my freedom even more than I do, and I long for it a lot.
The Scripture portion I wanted to share with you today is 1 Peter 3. When I read the part that is written to wives, my feathers get ruffled. I’m okay with the part to husbands; oh don’t we love it when the spotlight is on the other. But then I begin to dig a little deeper and I see.
At the end of Chapter 2, Peter speaks about the kind of life Jesus lived, and the kind of life we are invited into. Eugene Peterson paraphrases Peter’s words this way: “He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step…They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.” (The Message*)
NOW YOU’RE NAMED AND KEPT FOR GOOD BY THE SHEPHERD OF YOUR SOUL. Now I’m named and kept for good by the Shepherd of my soul! Wow! Oh how this speaks to my heart and soul!
We are called to be servants as Jesus was. Okay, big breath (for me), here’s the feathers-ruffling part. Verses 1-4:
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 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 a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
You see, I don’t love well a lot of the time, especially when my wants and needs are not being met the way I think they should, or (and this is even harder) as they should. It’s easy to love and be responsive when we are getting our way and we are being loved well. I know, that sounds really selfish and totally self-consumed. But that is one of the things I am learning about myself. I am selfish and self-consumed. To give with no thought of having anything returned…oh that is how I long to live, but more often I don’t. Praise God, he is prying my tight little sticky fingers off of things and attitudes and lies I have clung to for far too long.
Verse 7 begins the husband verses, and I like those of course. Especially the part where Peters says, “But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground” (The Message.) Heaven forbid I do not get treated as an equal!!! I like things equal. (God help me, right?)
Ah, but then in verses 8-12 Peter says, “Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. Not retaliation, No sharp tongued sarcasm. (really) Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing” (The Message.)
So yes, wives get focused on as do husbands. I wonder if it’s because it’s easier to be unkind to those we are closest to and the ones we live in constant contact with. But we are ALL called to be poured out for each other.
There is a C. S. Lewis quote I love, “Lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” I am learning more and more to come clean. To be honest with myself and God (isn’t it comical how we think we are hiding from God) and to lay before Him my thoughts, struggles, even anger. He then helps me sort out the truths from the lies.
Verses 13-18 speaks of the heart. “If with heart and soul you’re doing good…keep your heart at attention…keep a clear conscious before God.” (The Message.) Come clean. Come out of hiding.
It is safe, really it is. Have you begun to come out of hiding?
*See our Editor’s Note on The Message.
Mary has always kept a journal, but what began as a woman’s own journey of God-discovery in her personal journaling, has spawned a ministry of reconciliation and healing for women. A few years ago, this mom of three realized a desire to dig deeper into her own heart-wounds and invite God into her hurt. The artist in her began experimenting with layering images, patterns and text into journal pages that captured words and feelings in a more coherent and impacting way. As Mary began to share her experience with her friends, opportunities to teach the technique of visual journaling began to open. Mary now leads workshops at her local church and in her home studio. She says, “God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes…” Find her at asplendidadventure.blogspot.com and asplendidadventure.etsy.com.