Retirement’s Gold Watch

1 Peter 3:3–4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. . . .
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (NIV).

Observation: These verses are excerpted from a longer passage in which Peter exhorted women to be submissive to their husband, letting the purity and reverence of their behavior win over the heart of their husband. Then follows a passage where husbands are urged to be considerate of wives, treating them as coheirs of Christ’s gracious gift of life.

Application: What would happen if we were to read these verses with our knowledge of gender set aside? Our sexuality, that most common basis for relationships on earth, takes a sharp turn into unfamiliar asexual territory when applied to the body of Christ. Men, for example, are called to be part of the bride of Christ, while women are to be counted among the sons of God. Yet the role of a bride can be discomfiting for a macho man until he has been spirit-filled. 

In the same way, the very idea that a woman ought to see herself as a son of God is difficult to embrace, until she remembers that Scripture clearly says we are all “sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26). Matthew 5:9 calls peacemakers sons of God, and Romans 8:19 similarly characterizes all who are led by the Holy Spirit.

The natural man or woman is a sexual being, but God’s view transcends all that. We must see ourselves as He sees us: men gladly adorned with the beauty of the king, and women robust enough in their submission to Christ to be peacemakers. It is not the beauty of outward trinkets that He finds appealing. His heart is not captivated by achievements that can be caught on a proud parent’s video or commemorated by an expensive gold retirement watch.

It is by His merit alone that I become desirable to Him. Colossians 3:9–10 says we must take off the old self and put on the new. Ephesians 4:24 calls us to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. That’s what makes women into sons of God and men into Christ’s bride. It isn’t about sexuality or gender, but relationship.

This exchange is a daily struggle in part because it requires a new way of thinking about myself, and about my relationship to Him. In becoming His bride, He gives me His beauty for the ashes of my life (see Isa. 61:3).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your relentless pursuit of a bride has drawn me to You and enables me to gaze without embarrassment into the eyes of one who will never leave or forsake me. Give me eyes to see myself as You see me; take me to Your side and keep me there forever.

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