Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. - 1Peter 3: 3-5 (NLT)
A more dangerous subject I am not sure I have broached. Nothing divides people quicker than gender roles it seems. But as I write and observe Christendom I am increasingly concerned with the lies that are sold to women regarding relationships. It used to just be the usual suspects posting on Facebook that they deserve a prince because they are a daughter of the king, or the warped new worship that seeks to turn Jesus into your boyfriend. Recently however there has been an increase of all sorts of "Christian" advice sources popping up. As usual, the most insidious of deceptions maintain a great deal of truth but the leaven runs throughout the entire batch. Such was the recent article, "The Husband List: 12 Non-Negotiables", which can be found here:
So much of what is presented is accurate like ensuring that the man you want to marry is indeed a believer! But as the list goes on we see some problems, particularly in light of the notion that these 12 items are presented as "non negotiable." Here are some examples.
Number 7 - "You should feel honored and safe knowing you can always trust your husband to cover and speak well of you. "Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers," Proverbs 5:17."
Now in theory this notion is fine but the referenced section in Proverbs actually deals with men avoiding immoral women. What should never be shared with strangers is not personal information but rather the intimacy of sex itself. This gives me pause because the writer seems to take a Scripture out of context to support a point that she admits was personal to her.
Number 10 - "The man you marry should make you feel loved like you've never felt before."
By what definition of love? A large part of the lies sold to women is the worldly definition of love. Goose bumps and heart flutters. Cherubs flying around your head until you are dizzy. Instead of quoting Paul defining love as God defines it, the author instead refers to how much Jacob loved Rachel but ignored the complete dysfunction in his life when it came to women. Jacob also married Rachel's sister and had children through two other women. In fact, by the very definitions provided by the author as non-negotiable, Jacob would be unmarriable.
Number 11 - "But God desires for your heart to be romanced, just as He longs to romance us. "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-- for your love is more delightful than wine." Song of Solomon 1:2
God desires your heart to be romanced? Note that in order to make this point the author is forced to use the Song of Solomon, the one book of the Bible with the most uncertainty surrounding it. It seems whenever would be expositors want to make an allegorical point about love they turn to the Song of Solomon. I prefer the thoughts of Warren Wiersbe on the matter:
"While the Song of Solomon illustrates the deepening love we can have with Christ, we must be careful not to turn the story into an allegory and make everything mean something."
I think that is what we have here in this article. The reality is that the world does a masterful job of romanticizing love and convincing women that it is something to pursue. If that was not bad enough, now we have some claiming it is what God desires? Here is the definition of love according to God:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. - 1Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NLT)
These things Paul speaks about are everything we are not by nature. We are not patient and kind. We are irritable and do keep a record of wrongs. We have to choose to love. The world presents it as something that is forced upon us and uncontrollable. You "fall into" love like it is a bear trap or quicksand. You "cannot control" who you love. All language and theory deigned to make women victims of love. That is not godly. It is not biblical. The world wants love to be entirely based on the heart but the Bible warns us that the heart is wickedly deceptive above all else. What the world sets people up for is a capricious love that can come and go. How many times do you hear the lament at divorce time that someone just "fell out of love." If you think love is a bear trap then sometimes you can escape. If you consider it to be quicksand, sometimes you can crawl out of it. It is no wonder that divorce in the church is so high. Because too many of us do not enter into marriage as a covenant of faith with God. Instead we enter into it as covenant of emotion with our wildly deceptive heart.
It seems as if there is an entire industry built upon steering single Christian women away from biblical truth and towards the way the world thinks. The key verses today reminds us that it is not fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes that make the Christian woman attractive to a genuine Christian man. It instead is that which is precious to God. A gentle and quiet spirit. This is how holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. Nothing will grate against the way the world has empowered women faster than notions like this. That maybe beauty is not found in layers of makeup. That maybe beauty is not found in immodest dress. That maybe beauty is not found in strong independent women but rather on a completely dependent woman marrying a completely dependent man. Both dependent upon God, allowing Him, not cupid, to decide what is and is not negotiable.