Winsome Wives

Bible Book: 1 Peter  3 : 1-6
Subject: Wife; Wives; Home; Family; Women
Series: A Marriage Made In Heaven

Now today we are looking at the second message in a two-part series on husbands and wives. Today we turn our attention to the wives. Now, in the scripture, God places the passages on this subject with the woman listed first. I preached on husbands first because you men always want to be first. So, I just laid out God's plan for you in the home. Ladies, let's look at what God says about the wife in the home.

Marriages are failing today at a distressing rate. The divorce rate is still at or slightly above 50% in America. When you consider that many couples are just living together, and others are postponing marriage because of their fear of failure, the statistics are even worse. Chastity is a thing of the past as more teens are involved in premarital sex than any time in history according to many experts in the field of adolescent sexuality.

I was talking with a person who works in a county office where all the area statistics are housed, including marriages and divorces. He told me that in 2014 two couples divorced for every one couple that married in his county. According to him, that was the first time the rate had been that high in comparison.

To say the least, home life in America is in decline and that includes home life among Christian families. Several recent surveys seem to indicate that divorce and separation among Christian families is not much different than the general population. In other words, the Christian commitment to marriage is no better than the world and in some places it is even worse!

What is the problem? The problem is multifaceted but tends to stem from one source. We are not following heaven's directions concerning love, sex and marriage. A marriage made in heaven must follow heaven's rules. More than ever, we need God's Word on how to have a happy home.

Zig Ziglar was spoke on the Focus on the Family radio program and shared this about successful marriage, "Meeting any of the following conditions will greatly reduce the chances of a marriage failure. Less than one couple in two hundred ever divorce when ALL THREE of the following three conditions are met:

1. They pray TOGETHER and ALOUD every day.

2. They read God's Word TOGETHER and ALOUD every day.

3. They attend worship services TOGETHER and REGULARLY

Ziglar is right. There may be many Christians whose marriages are falling apart, but few of them participate daily in the three duties that Ziglar mentioned. Being a Christian does not keep you from a failing marriage, but acting like one will!

Note the Scripture passage for today found in 1 Peter 3:1-6:

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 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. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror."

It has become something of a fad these days for magazines, newspapers and even television programs to do makeover shows for women. A makeover occurs when an expert or a group of so-called experts use a woman as an example. They will pick someone who needs help, badly! They will do a "before" session or photo of the woman. They will describe the problems with her hair. The expert will say, "Just look at those split ends." I thought split ends were men who ran for passes on football teams, but apparently women have a real problem with them on their heads. Every makeover has to deal with split ends. This same expert, or another from another field, will comment on her clothes. These experts can rip a woman's clothing style to pieces faster than a tiger could rip through a man's T-shirt. By this time the woman looks like she wants to cry, usually because the experts so far are right! A final comment has to be made about her makeup. They usually say that she is using too much, or too little, and that it is too dark or too light - and most of it has been put in all the wrong places. The woman is rushed off stage to a team of waiting attendants who are dedicated to be sure that the woman is made over from head to toe. You know what kind of people these people are, don't you? They are the type that charge about $300.00 for a haircut. The "after" photo comes after a lot of work. They do look better after all that work, but who can afford the time and money it takes to look like that everyday?

Peter is purposing a kind of makeover as well. His makeover is different, however. His intention is to get the Christian wife to allow God to make her over in His image. Now isn't that a novel idea? Suppose today, dear Christian woman, you had to stand before God and allow him to show you areas that need work in your Christian life. Where do you think He would start? You men might do well to consider this makeover as well. I am sure He would like to get us in to His makeover clinic for an assessment.

I read about a woman who walked off the street into a beauty salon one day. She was quite a mess. Her hair was disheveled, the clothes crumpled and we won't deal with other issues. One man who was walking with his friend asked, "What do you think she went in there for?" The other replied, "An estimate!"

Let me tell you that Jesus paid for your spiritual makeover, but you must be willing to submit yourself to Him in order to gain the benefit. The only cost of His makeover is obedience.

At this particular place in the Scripture, God is concerned with three important areas. You cannot have a marriage made in heaven without these three being in proper perspective.

I. The Outward Makeover

There is a lot to a person that can't be seen, but we do judge people by what we can see. God is concerned with what is seen as well, because what we see reflects what cannot be seen - which is the heart. So, the Lord begins with the outward makeover.

A. Her Action

1. Toward Her Husband

Remember, we are not just talking about women in this case, we are speaking specifically about wives. Peter addresses this issue because it is a very important subject to the Lord.

Now, let's admit that wives have a difficult job - they have to deal with husbands. Someone said, "A wife with good horse sense will never become a nag." But, someone has added that if more men were self-starters in the area of communication, fewer wives would be cranks. I understand that most husbands have a misshapen idea of womanhood and wifedom. I am reminded of the following story from a lady who wrote in to Reader's Digest.

"I'm lonely," Adam told God in the Garden of Eden. "I need to have someone around for company."

"Okay," replied God. "I'm going to give you the perfect woman. Beautiful, intelligent and gracious; she'll cook and clean for you and never say a cross word."

"Sounds good," Adam said. "But what's she going to cost?"

"An arm and a leg," God replied.

"That's pretty steep," countered Adam, "What can I get for just a rib?" (Contributed by Martha G. Verlander, Reader's Digest, February 1991 p. 82)

The perfect woman only exists in the mind. Women, like men, are sinners. We need God to save us and then to shape us into what we are meant to be.

One lady said her problem was being in love with two men. Actually, it was the same man, but she learned he was like two different men. When the pastor asked her to explain, she said, "Well, I married a personality, but I ended up with a character!"

But, regardless of the misunderstandings between men and women, the wife has a responsibility toward her husband. She must find God's will in this matter. Edmund Burke once said, "She is not made for the admiration of all, but for the happiness of one."

Finding God's will as a wife in dealing with a husband is a major concern for the Lord. He addressed it in His Word because it matters. It makes a difference in ones spiritual and practical life. Reading His Word and seeking to understand His will in marriage is paramount to success as a Christian wife.

2. Toward Her Holy Life

A wife must be careful to work on her heart as much as she does her hair. She must be as concerned about her commitment at her Lord as she is about her cosmetics. This requires a daily quite time when the Bible is read and prayer is offered. This requires that she examine her heart often to see that nothing impure resides there.

B. Her Appearance

Someone said, "It is amazing what a little paint can do to help an old barn." That guy was not too popular with the ladies! God is not saying that women should not adorn themselves in a lovely way. He is not talking about the absence of outward beauty but the need for a woman not to make outward beauty the priority. We start out telling little girls how pretty they are, and from the beginning it becomes a priority to them. I've observed this as a pastor. Seldom have I heard someone bend down to speak to a sweet little girl at church and see, "What a good little girl you are. I can tell that you love Jesus." No, what we do is say, "Look at that beautiful girl. What a lovely smile. What a beautiful dress you are wearing!" So, from the outset, the exterior appearance of a little girl takes precedence over her heart or her actions. I like to say to little girls, "I bet you love Jesus. I'm sure you are a very, very smart girl." The heart and head are more important in boys and girls that their appearance and the adornment.

So, outwardly Jesus is looking at the actions of a woman and inwardly He is looking at the holiness of a woman. I've never met a woman who was holy inwardly and godly in her actions that wasn't absolutely beautiful - and it didn't matter if she was twenty or eighty!

II. The Inward Makeover

A. The Way To A Beauty That Lasts

We have seen that the inward nature of a woman, and a man for that matter, is most important to God. After all, man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. The inward beauty, which God gives to a godly woman, is something that cannot and will not fade with time. Our outward bodies decline with time and age. No cosmetic company, and no surgery known to man, can stop this process. Some actresses you see have have had so many face lifts it looks they are excited all the time. Actually their necks are pulled up around their noses, so they can't stop smiling! But, there is a beauty which time cannot erode. That beauty comes from the Lord. It comes from a godly heart, a prayerful spirit and committed soul.

B. The Worth Of That Beauty To The Lord

The Lord places emphasis on this inner beauty. Certainly we all want to look our best. For some of us that is more difficult than it is for others. But, divine beauty is available to all.

In my first pastorate, while I was still in college, my wife and I were invited on a couple of occasions to eat lunch with an elderly lady who was one of our church members. She was short, with totally gray hair, a bit heavy and had wrinkles in her wrinkles. To this day, we remember her as one of the most beautiful people we ever met. She loved the Lord so much, she loved her church and she loved her young pastor and his wife. She fussed about in preparing a simple meal for us and we talked with her about her family, all of whom were deceased - with the exception of a couple of adult daughters. She loved to talk about the Bible and before we left she insisted that I pray. I remember getting down on my knees and praying in that simple home. That lady was beautiful, and so was her home!

God places the greatest worth on this inner commitment and holy life. The beauty contest in heaven one day will have nothing to do with outward appearance. There will not be a Miss America contestants or contests in heaven. God will uncover our hearts before our eyes. Some who looked quite lovely in this life, will be revolting when the heart is unveiled. Others, who turned very few heads in this life, will be stunningly beautiful when God shows us their hearts. When it comes to heavenly beauty contest, the last one to be held, the one God judges, is the only one that will count!

III. The Backward Makeover

I suppose nothing is more important in fashion and beauty that the question concerning what is new. After all, the latest style must be considered if a woman is to be in vogue. Interestingly, God does not tell us to look forward but backward. He shows us that some things from the past that are worth keeping in our makeover generation.

A. Comparison For The Wife

The Lord tells the wife she should compare her life to that of women in the past, like Sarah. Sarah loved her husband. She left her home and friends in Haran just because her husband said God told them to. She supported him and upheld him. The Bible says she obeyed him and called him master. This does not mean that Abraham was mean-spirited and authoritative; on the contrary, it means his wife so loved him that she voluntary lifted him up so he could fulfill his God-given role. By the same token, she became the mother of the nation that brought our Savior into the world!

B. Comfort For The Wife

Sarah was comforted by Abraham. She loved her husband. Abraham was what he was largely because Sarah was who she was. They became the most important married couple of the Old Testament. Neither of them tried to be or was more important than the other.

You see, it works like this:

They had different ROLES but they had the same GOALS!

The comfort for Sarah was that she trusted God and had her hope in Him. She loved Abraham, but she trusted God. Her hope was not in her husband, but in her Lord. This gave her peace of mind. She was not interested as much in what was modern as she was in her Master, the Lord.

Don't forget that Sarah made some mistakes. One of them was a real 'lulu'. When she and Abraham seemed to be incapable of having a son, she suggested that Abraham mate with their handmaiden, Hagar, and produce the son God had promised. We don't want to be too hard on Sarah. Actually, she was trying to fulfill God's will. Hagar had a son by Abraham, and his name was Ismael. What sorrow this brought to the home. Sarah was miserable and Hagar didn't make it any easier for her. In the end, God provided the promised son, Isaac, through the love and union of Abraham and Sarah. Ladies, you don't always get things right the first time. Of course, I don't think many of you are suggesting that your husbands do what Sarah suggested to Abraham. In fact, if your husband tries that, I have a feeling we may be doing a funeral soon! But, it is important to remember that we all need to repent from time to time. We need a makeover with God. Surely, some women, some wives, perhaps some young ladies in this service today, know that you need to get some things right with God in this service.


We need to remember that sinners live in every home and every marriage. That is why it is important for us to bring our marriages to the Lord regularly and sincerely. Ladies, you are not perfect and neither is your husband, but you can do better and be better than you are today. We can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

Perhaps today, dear wives, you need to come and recommit you marriage and your life to Christ. You job is an awesome one; you cannot possibly do it properly without God's help. You may want to get your husband by the hand and bring Him with you to make a new commitment of your life, marriage and home to Christ. If you are here without your husband, come today and commit your life and bring his name to the Lord as well.

It may be that you are not a Christian. The greatest thing you can do for a husband and/or children is give them a Christian wife and mother. The greatest gift you can leave them when this life is over is for them to say, "She loved Jesus and she loved us."

When I came home from Vietnam, I helped organize a band. I loved playing the guitar and wanted to be a singer and songwriter. Our band became fairly popular in our area and we were playing for various people almost every Friday and Saturday night. I worked all week, practiced with the band during the week, and then played to midnight or one in the morning in some unholy places on Friday and Saturday. My dear wife, Jayne, went to church every Sunday. She asked me to go with her, but I complained that I got very little sleep on Saturday nights and I needed my rest. I saw her leave for church a few Sundays with soft tears in her eyes, but she never berated me or belittled me. She gentled asked and then went on her way. After two years of this continual practice in my life, I decided to go with her one Sunday. That day God began a work of calling me back to Him. Oh yes, I was a Christian but I was terribly backslidden and out of God's will. Within a few weeks, I totally committed my life to Christ and answered God's call to preach. I delivered my first sermon a few weeks later on a Sunday night at the request of my young pastor. After the service, a lady in Jayne's calls came up to me and said, "Michael, our class prayed for you every week. Jayne asked us to give up on you and we didn't. Some of us prayed for you everyday.. I could not help but weep as I stood there realizing that my sweet wife had enjoined others to pray for me and yet she had never fussed with me about church or tried to coerce me into doing what she wanted. She went over my head - she went to Jesus!

Lady, if you are here today and have a husband or child that is out of God's will, don't give up. You don't have to beat him down  -  just lift him up. God hears your prayers. You have more power by reaching up to heaven than you will ever have through your own strength.

Now let us respond to the Lord. Man, woman, boy or girl. If God is speaking to you, He expects you to answer in return. Say, "Yes, Lord," and come now. Today is the day for a heavenly makeover.