What Is a Meek and Quiet Spirit?
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning
of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart,
in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament
of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is in the sight of God of great price.
— 1 Peter 3:3,4
One day I was invited to speak at a church in the city of Kiev in the country of Ukraine. Ministers had gathered from all over to meet me that day and to attend our morning teaching session. After that morning meeting, a large table was set outside on the driveway where all the special guests were seated so they could be served Ukrainian borsch for lunch.
I noticed that an elderly woman, approximately seventy-five years old, was the primary person serving lunch to us that day. As she passed by me, I looked into her face and saw the deep wrinkles that testified to a very hard life. This was a woman who had faced many intense challenges in the
course of her life.
Yet when I looked into her eyes, I could see that this was a woman who was very strong in spirit. Although it was evident that she had lived a hard and difficult life, it was also evident that she had never been broken by hardship. The look in her faded blue eyes gripped me, for those eyes seemed to literally radiate life from within her. I watched with amazement at the way this elderly woman carried bowls of borsch to this person, then to that person, and then to the next. It was obvious that she was delighted to serve the pastors who sat around the table. The tender smile that graced her face and the sweet spirit with which she served captivated my attention. As I kept watching her, I thought to myself, This woman must be one of the most beautiful and graceful women I’ve ever met in my life.
Finally, I turned to the elderly pastor sitting next to me, and I asked, “Who is that woman?” He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and glowingly answered, “That’s my wife.” Despite her wrinkles and gray hair, this woman’s indomitable spirit shone through and was evident
for all to see. This was a woman who had lived a godly life. This was no weak woman, but a very strong and very capable woman.
I continued to watch the pastor’s wife as she kept serving the men around the table, smiling graciously as she refilled empty bowls with more borsch. As I observed her strong but gentle spirit, I thought of Peter’s words to women in First Peter 3:3,4. In those verses, Peter wrote, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Today I want to speak to you about the phrase “meek and quiet spirit.” Contrary to what most people think, these words do not picture a woman who is weak, timid, or soft-spoken. The word “meek” is the Greek word praus, a word that describes the attitude of one who is friendly, warm, forbearing, patient, kind, and gentle. This would picture someone who is just the opposite of a person who is angry, temperamental, or given to outbursts of anger. Although a meek person faces opportunities to react in anger or to get upset, he or she has chosen to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Thus, “meek” people are individuals who have become skilled at controlling themselves and their temperament. You might say that meekness is power under control.
When Peter goes on to use the word “quiet” in this verse, he employs the use of the Greek word hisuchios, which depicts a person who knows how to calm himself and to maintain a state of peace and tranquility. Rather than speak up and utter words that are later regretted, this individual stays quiet and refrains from angry responses. He or she deliberately decides not to be a contributor to conflicts, but to be a peacemaker instead.
So when Peter writes about a “meek and quiet spirit,” he is paying the highest compliment to wives who fit this description. These wives are so strong in spirit that they are able to refrain from outbursts of anger and thus are able to become a calming force in a variety of difficult situations. Considering the many opportunities wives have to get shaken or upset by the affairs of life, it is very commendable when a wife is so strong, so consistent, and so stable in the home that she consistently “steadies the ship” and helps keep peace in every situation.
Once again let me stress that Peter is not referring to women who are timid, shy, or weak. It takes great strength to be the kind of woman he is describing. A woman who continually controls herself — holding her temper, keeping a lid on her emotions, and remaining a stable, tranquil force in every situation — is demonstrating evidence of great maturity.
This quality of a meek and quiet spirit is quite a treasure — so much so that God says a woman who has achieved this state of maturity possesses something of “great price.” The words “great price”
are from the Greek word poluteles, which conveys the idea of something that is very valuable; something of great cost or great worth; or something that is precious and dear.
God highly values a woman who becomes this kind of strong, steady force in the home. He knows how many times a wife has an opportunity to get upset about something that has happened. So when she chooses to control herself and be a contributor to peace instead of strife, God sees this kind of woman as rare, precious, dear, and to be valued. He appreciates it when she puts aside her own anger or emotions and instead helps peace reign in the situation. God thinks very highly of such a woman!
When I looked into the face of that elderly Ukrainian woman, I could see the strength she possessed, for it was a strength that literally emanated from her. Seeing those deep wrinkles in her face,
I could tell she had faced many hardships in life that could have upset her, hurt her, or made her want to take matters into her own hands.
But this was a woman who had allowed God to teach her how to look to Him rather than be swayed by the circumstances of life. Far from being weak and wimpy, she was a tower of strength. Her spirit was both gracious and indomitable. It was obvious that she was godly, pure, and powerful — someone who had made an eternal impact on many lives because of the life she had led.
How about you, my friend?
. Can you say that you are a contributor to peace in your home?
. Can you testify that you are a steady force in rough and upsetting situations?
. Can you really say that you have learned to control your emotions and to be a peacemaker?
. Would you have to admit that you contribute to strife and often make matters worse by giving in to your emotions and speaking things that you later regret?
. Does God see you as a rare and special treasure who brings a sense of peace and stability to your family, or does He see you as a frequent cause of conflict, strife, and a lack of peace in your home?
You may not have experienced the same kind of hardships as the elderly woman in my story today, but you still face many potential conflicts in your own life every day. You have a choice to
react either in anger or in meekness. Every time you have an opportunity to react in the flesh or be angry and upset, you can choose instead to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Rather than speak
up and utter words that will later be regretted, you can choose to be a peacemaker.
In view of what you have read today, can you say that you demonstrate a “meek and quiet spirit,” or do you give evidence of a different kind of attitude? What is God saying to you about your heart and actions, and what are you going to do in light of what you have learned from today’s Sparkling Gem?
-Special thanks to Rick Renner (Sparkling Gems)