A Quiet Spirit

This is something I wrote for our ladies’ ministry booklet for this month, and I thought I’d share it here:

I Peter 3: 3-4 tells us that “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit…is in the sight of God of great price,” and it is to be more of what we focus on adorning ourselves with than outward ornamentations of jewelry, nice clothes, etc.

I think we have some idea of what meekness is: we’ve all heard the definition of “strength under control,” the illustration of a tamed horse. Meekness isn’t “wimpiness” or a lack of spirit. It is perfectly illustrated by Christ, who was “meek and lowly in heart.”

But I want to focus today on a quiet spirit. Does that mean a quiet person, an introvert? No, I think God created many different kinds of personalities to minister to many different kinds of people. There are certainly times to be quiet of mouth or to rein in an exuberant spirit, but I don’t think that is primarily what this is talking about. Some segments of Christendom have developed this idea into almost mysticism, but I don’t think that’s what the word “quietness” means, either.

Checking some of the Greek words translated “quiet” reveals synonyms like “peaceful, tranquil, restful, undisturbed.”

Why would we need instruction to have a tranquil, undisturbed spirit? Because we can get so easily disquieted in spirit. The Hebrew word for that has a much longer definition: “to murmur, growl, roar, cry aloud, mourn, rage, sound, make noise, tumult, turbulent, be clamorous, be disquieted, be loud, be moved, be troubled, be in an uproar, be in a stir, in a commotion, boisterous, clamorous.” That covers a lot of territory. Ever felt any of that? I sure have. There are numerous examples in Scripture, from the discouraged Psalmist in Psalm 42 to the clamorous foolish woman in Proverbs 9:13 to the contentious and angry woman in Proverbs 21:19 (the wilderness was preferred above dwelling with her) to the “devout and honorable women” who were nonetheless “stirred up” to persecute and expel Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:50.

Obviously, being disquieted in spirit can not only put us in a bad mood, it can negatively effect those in our lives, especially those whom God gave us to minister to.

So how do we cultivate a quiet spirit? I’m still working on it myself, and whole books have been written on the subject, but meditating on these and similar verses helps.

Psalm 131:2: “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child” (when something beloved and comforting is taken away).

Psalm 1:33: “But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Listening to God and His wisdom can quiet us from fear of evil.)

Proverbs 17:1: “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

Ecclesiastes 4:6: “Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.”

Isaiah 30:15 is one of my all-time favorite verses: “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength,” and sadly, the verse goes on to say, “and ye would not.” In whatever situation disquiets us, we need to rest in the Lord, confident that He has everything under control and has reasons for what He is allowing. To me that’s the essence of a quiet spirit — one that is resting in the Lord.

Isaiah 32:17: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 65:7: “Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.”

Matthew 11:28-29: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Peter begins the passage about having a meek and quiet spirit with the word ”likewise.” The verses he is referring back to there are at the end of I Peter 2 dealing with how Christ suffered at the hands of others without guile, without reviling. In the midst of pain and mistreatment by those whom He loved, He “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

16 thoughts on “A Quiet Spirit

  1. Since worldly female role models can definitely fit into the ‘disquieted’ Hebrew definition, it’s so important for these thoughts to be taught not only for us but especially to our young ladies.
    Have a great week, Barbara!

  2. You know what best helps me keep a quiet spirit? Daily prayer and meditation. That constant contact with God keeps me centered and little things don’t unbalance me quite as easily.

  3. Wonderful study, Barbara, especially in the times that we live…hurry here, hurry there, busy, busy…..lots of food for thought in your post. thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for this post, Barbara. I’ve been experiencing some emotional turmoil lately, although it’s not too serious, and this post really spoke to me. You have answered the question, So how do we cultivate a quiet spirit? really well. Thank you and bless you!

  5. I’m sO glad you wrote this post… because sO often you speak of the quiet spirit, and I think… Oh Lord, will I EVER have a quiet spirit??? And is that REALLY what you want of me??? But viewed from this light, I would have to say I have a very quiet spirit. And one that is seldom unsettled. So tonight I read your “quiet spirit” and do NOT feel unsettled about not having one!

  6. Melli, I love your comment! I am one of those “exuberent” spirits so have always been frustrated by the command to have a gentle, quiet spirit. But in recent years I have enjoyed a quiet confidence in my walk with Jesus Christ.

    How wonderful to read your beautiful post, Barbara, and be thankful to be a daughter of the King!

  7. Pingback: Sweetly Resting « Stray Thoughts

  8. Pingback: Moms of Boys Blog Hop « Stray Thoughts

  9. Pingback: M.O.B. Society Blog Hop « Stray Thoughts

  10. Bible says in a multitude of words there wanted not sin.women of virtue should speak but few words,it helps protect our spirit.

    • Well…words are also the way we communicate the truth God wants us to share. Jesus said we will give an account of every idle word, so we need to be careful of them. And, the more words we use, the more likely we’ll sin with them. But the quietness spoken of in the verses in this post does not mean silence: it means tranquility, restfulness.

I love hearing from you. I've had to turn on comment moderation. Comments will appear here after I see and approve them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.