The Hidden Life

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

1 Peter 3:3-4

The “adornment” as St. Peter refers to it, can mean the physical beautification of ourselves, or the outward expression of our talents and virtues. The Incarnation is an example of God’s hiddenness in Jesus. As St. Paul tells us, Jesus came to earth as a servant, while he was the Lord of Glory. He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7).

Likewise we are called to imitate Christ in his hiddenness, as it is proof of genuineness, and God only approves of what is genuine in us. Showing our fancy clothing, jewelry and hairstyles is an example of our outward adornment that opposes our goal to be gentle and quiet in spirit. Similarly, if we boast in our good deeds, and show off our virtues and talents, we are not seeking a hidden life that is precious to God. It is not wrong to take care of yourself, or dress nicely, but showing it off makes us lose our humbleness. Neither is it wrong to be of good virtue and use the talents that God has given you for good, but doing it for the sake of receiving earthly compliments, is wrong. Be therefore hidden, “shut the door,” and seek our “Father who is in the secret place.” (Matthew 6:6)

– Meditation from “All That I Have is Yours” by Father Kyrillos Ibrahim

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