“Which in God’s sight is very precious”

What is “very precious” in “God’s sight”? The third chapter of Peter’s first epistle includes a message addressed specifically to wives. He writes, “… 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” (verses 1,2).

Believing wives have a vital role in living for God and for Christ – and while the husband has an even more important role in the sight of God, wives have a responsibility to influence husbands who are failing to “obey the word” to influence them by their “respectful and pure conduct”.

There is a human saying that contains a lot of truth – that ‘nobody ever wins an argument’ – this is because each is intent on putting their own point of view – not in listening to the other. “Respectful and pure conduct” has great power when done with a heartfelt consciousness of God.

Peter warns wives against external adornments, instead “let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (verse 4). The phrase “in God’s sight” reminds us that God, through his spirit, sees far more than the “outward adorning” and men need to realise this just as much as women.

We live in a world, especially the western world, in which nearly everything is now done for outward show: the houses that are built – both inside and out, the clothes people wear, and most appliances for sale, all have a heavy emphasis on “outward adorning”. On the other hand, we must beware of any inclination to go to the other extreme. If we try to make a point by doing that we will fail, humility is not “outward adorning” either.

In his fifth chapter Peter mentions another type of humility. We read, “clothe yourselves, all of you with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (verses 5-7). We recall what we read four days ago in James, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (4:6).

Let us list the things which “in God’s sight” are “very precious” and make sure all, both men and women, have that inward adorning, becoming ever more conscious that God can see absolutely everything.