A Christian woman has the opportunity to be one of the greatest influencers on earth. The striking beauty of her spirit may win the soul of her unbelieving husband. Her adherence to God’s design in marriage can proclaim the glory of the gospel. Her faith in and knowledge of God’s word can spill over into her spheres of ministry.
However, if a woman does not know her God and his word, and if she is not clinging to its precious promises, she begins to resemble Eve, the mother of her flesh. Her heart can easily be deceived by the enemy’s craftiness, and her affections can be led astray.
We who have trusted in Christ are not only descendants of Eve, but now we are descendants of Sarah, the free woman (Galatians 4:31). We are children of promise and we are no longer in bondage to Eve’s nature. In 1 Peter 3:1–6 and Hebrews 11:11–12, we receive the commendation of Sarah’s faith, and we are pointed to her life as an example of biblical womanhood. As we imitate the faith of Sarah, we can leverage our God-given gender and unique gifts to glorify our God and advance his kingdom.
1. She Hopes in God
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves. (1 Peter 3:5)
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the heart of a woman filled with a deep, abiding hope in her God. This is the foundation of everything God has called her to be. Sarah hoped in God, and she “considered him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11). Women should never give up the pursuit of God through his word.
“A woman who hopes in God is well acquainted with the Promiser and the specifics of his promises.”
As we give birth to families and wade into realms of ministry, many of us desire to diligently tend to those in our care. However, we are often so empty because our spiritual supply is dried up. We are left with nothing worthwhile to share with needy souls, let alone our own souls. A woman who hopes in God is well acquainted with the character of the Promiser and the specifics of his promises. She spends time with him in his word and in prayer, and she believes in his gospel and finds shelter in his name.
2. She Rests in God
. . . 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. (1 Peter 3:4)
Matthew Henry describes a gentle, meek spirit as “the silent submission of the soul to the ‘providence’ of God concerning us.” A woman who knows her God will put her hope in God and find her rest in God. She calms and quiets her soul, and she does not flail and strive against the God who is her refuge and who determines her circumstances.
Rather than fret, a meek and quiet woman trusts in the Lord. She delights in the Lord, committing her way to him and trusting in him. She delights herself in abundant peace. Trusting God to be who he says that he is, she is still before him and waits patiently for him. She does not seek to justify herself and exact revenge for the wrongs that have been done to her, for her strong tower and refuge is the name of the Lord in whom she hopes. She waits for the Lord (Psalm 37:7, 9, 34).
3. She Submits to Her Husband
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Peter 3:5–6)
An overflow of a wife’s hope and rest in God is submission to her husband. Sarah submitted to Abraham because she trusted in and obeyed God. Her submission to her husband was not due to her reliance upon Abraham. Rather, her eyes were fixed on a trustworthy God who was worthy of her submission. When a woman refuses to obey God’s command to submit to her husband, she follows in the footsteps of Eve, the mother of her flesh. This muddies the gospel that God designed to be showcased through her marriage.
“A godly woman is someone of whom this world is not worthy, and God is not ashamed to be called her God.”
But a woman who rests in God and submits to the headship of the Lord Jesus will mimic the example of Sarah who called her husband “lord” (an acknowledgment of authority, not worship). While there are important biblical explanations about what submission looks like (and does not look like) and how a wife is to reverence and obey her husband, a daughter of Sarah understands the secret behind submission to her husband: Her hope is in God.
4. She Is Fearless
And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:6)
A woman who hopes in God is not afraid, because she knows her God. She is not afraid of the path that her God has called her to walk. She is not afraid of sickness. She is not afraid of the future. She is not afraid of death and dark valleys. She entrusts to God her children, her marriage, and her ministry. She advances the kingdom through fearless submission to God’s design for womanhood, marriage, motherhood, and ministry, because she hopes in God.
And though she stumbles like Sarah and laughs in disbelief at the promises of her God, he will turn her laughter into one of confidence in her Savior and joyful hope in his word. By faith, she laughs, because she looks to that lasting city, the heavenly one. By faith, she joins the ranks of holy women who considered him faithful who had promised. She is a woman of whom this world is not worthy, and God is not ashamed to be called her God.