Have you ever encountered someone so beautiful you couldn’t take your eyes off of them? There was just something about them that was mesmerizing! As Christians, that is how we should appear to the surrounding world. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:12 “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” The word he uses for “excellent” and “good” in this verse are forms of the Greek word KALOS. This word literally means “being attractive in outward appearance.” Peter wants us to understand that the beauty of our behavior and good deeds should be evident to those around us so that they will want what we have. Ultimately this should cause them to “glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Now we should be asking: “What does this beauty look like in our everyday lives?” We are in luck! If we read further in the text, Peter gives us examples of these beautiful actions played out in everyday life. Continue reading through this amazing letter and you will see that one of the main ways that people stand out is through their submissive attitude in various situations. Our culture tells us that submitting to authority is weak and undesirable; however God would have us believe the exact opposite. People will see the beauty in your actions when you behave in a submissive way just as Christ did. Understand that this in no way means a person is weaker, we know that Christ had the ultimate power to do whatever He would have liked to the men torturing Him. In order to fulfill God’s plan, He was willing to place Himself in subjection to these men. What a beautiful action!
The first example we are given in 1 Peter 2:13-14 is submission to the government. If we are abiding by God’s wishes we will respect the governing authority. God expects us to respect the laws and institutions of man in the same way we are to respect individuals. What is the purpose in submitting ourselves to these worldly authorities? According to 1 Peter 2:15 it is so that we will “silence the ignorance of foolish men.” Again Peter emphasizes the importance of others viewing our actions.
Another example Peter gives in verse 18 is that of the submissive servant. This servant is not only to act respectfully toward a kind master, he is expected to behave the same way with a master who is “unreasonable” (literally crooked or dishonest). Remember this attitude of humility that we are to have isn’t conditional. We should never be classified as fair-weather Christians. Christ held up under the most brutal circumstances and never spoke a harsh word to his captors. The world would tell us to vent and fight back; understand that this is the exact opposite of what God expects. We should be breaking the mold and turning heads. People should be asking: “What makes her different? Why does she always seem joyful in any circumstance?”
The final example used is that of submission in marriage and is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2. This is a hot button issue in our culture! Why should women have to subject themselves to men!? The short answer: Because God said so! Peter does go into a little more detail here though. Again remember, he is focusing on our beautiful deeds and how they will ultimately cause others to glorify God. The woman pictured here is not nagging her husband; she wins him “without a word.” Her focus isn’t constantly on the outside, but it is on the “gentle and quiet spirit.” I love these words that Peter uses to describe the spirit of this woman. Gentle or PRAUS as it reads in the Greek, is literally the quality of “not being overly impressed by oneself” and quiet or HESYCHIOS means “to live a peaceable and quiet life thus lightening the task of the heads of state.” As women, we are to dismiss the self-centered attitude and carry out our duties at home without complaining so that we lighten the load for our entire house, but most especially for our husbands. Imagine the difference in our homes if we approached our housework and other duties with this attitude!
These are the things that God considers beautiful. These are the actions and attitudes that will cause people to stand up and take notice. When we strive to extract the self-centered, prideful nature from our lives, the world will pay attention. We will be so incredibly radiant that they won’t be able to take their eyes off of us (Matt 5:14). If we are behaving in the submissive way that Christ did our beauty will be irresistible to all those around us!