That your prayers be not hindered

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 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. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

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Do you ever feel that your walk with God is just not right? Do you ever feel that there is something that is hindering your relationship with God? In our text we find that when we do not live as we should toward each other, then our prayers will be hindered. Previously, in our study of First Peter, we learn how we are to live in a post-Christian and an anti-Christian society toward those who are unbelievers. We are to live in such a way that they will see Jesus in us. We are to do the right thing and live holy lives even when we are mistreated by the world. Now, the focus shifts to how we are to live toward other believers. At the beginning of chapter three, Peter gives us the example of a marriage relationship. In verse seven he mentions that the husband and wife are to live in grace together in order that their prayers would not be hindered. The focus here is not necessarily on the husband and wife relationship; however, the principles we learn in this passage applies to us all. So, how is that we can live in such a world as we live in today in way that will keep our relationship with God strong and that our prayers would not be hindered? In our text we find three things, using the example of the marriage relationship; that we must focus on in order that our prayers would not be hindered.

Humble Spirit. In verse one we learn that just as servants are to submit to their masters, so are wives to submit to their husbands. This is especially important if the husband is an unbeliever. It is through the godly behavior of the wife that the husband may come to Christ. The principle here is that in order for our prayers to not be hindered, we must have a humble spirit. Pride is the starting point of most all sins. When we begin to focus on ourselves and what pleases us, then we begin to fall down a slippery slope of sin and depravity. Selfishness is the root cause of all sin. When Adam and Eve fell in the garden, they did so because they were focused on their own pleasure rather than pleasing God. When marriages crumple, they do so due to the selfishness and pride in the life of the husband or wife or both. When local churches become ineffective and die, it begins with personal pride and selfishness amongst its members. Over and over in the scriptures we are told that we are to put others ahead of ourselves. The Bible clearly warns against selfishness and pride. It is not about what we want, it is about what is best for others. Instead of focusing on pleasing ourselves, we should focus on the needs of others. When self gets in the way, our relationship with God is not right and our prayers are hindered. Therefore, just as a godly wife, we too are to have a humble spirit.

Inner Beauty. In verses 3-4 we are told that wives should not adorn themselves with braided hair and fine jewelry. Instead of being concerned with outer beauty, they should focus on their inner beauty. It is tempting, especially as a father, to use these verses in order to forbid my daughters from wearing make-up and jewelry and anything that draws attention to themselves. However, I don’t think the scripture is forbidding women from dressing up and using various accessories to make themselves more presentable. It is not a sin to wear make-up or to wear jewelry or to wear fashionable clothes, as long as it is modest. As a matter of fact, wives should strive to look good for their husbands. Ladies, just because you are married, it does not mean you can just let yourself go. You should want to make yourself as attractive as possible in order to please your husband. However, the issue here in this passage is not on whether or not it’s okay to wear make-up or even issues concerning modesty. The real issue of concern is the inner beauty of a believer in Christ. In other words, we should focus on our inner selves and not worry about trying to impress each other. I am afraid that we spend too much time worrying about what others think of us, and too little time focusing on how we are to live in relation to one another. In verse four, Peter mentions that we are to have a heart that is not corrupted. In other words, we are to have a clean heart. We are to have a heart that is not stained by worldliness. This goes back to holy living. The way in which others will see Jesus in us is by living holy lives. To live in such a world as ours, we must strive to be holy as He is holy. Having a clean heart is far more important than making an impression on people. The greatest impact you will have on those around you is not by being popular or having just the right look, rather, it is by having a pure heart. Verse four goes on to say that we should have a meek and quiet spirit. We should live humble and peaceable lives. Instead of trying to make an impression, we should be people that are not easily angered or provoked. We should be people that responds to each other in a soft and humble fashion. We are to be mature and think before we act. We are to be loving and compassionate. We are to have a servant’s heart. It is this kind of lifestyle that is attractive. It is not about making ourselves look good and putting on a show and making an impression. Rather, the life that is attractive is the one that is filled with inner beauty. It is our lifestyle that will bring people to Jesus, not our showmanship. When we focus on working on that inner beauty, our relationship with God is much greater and deeper, and our prayers will not be hindered.

Grace Giver. Verse seven speaks of how the husband is to treat his wife with honor and respect. He is to care for her and provide for her, as she is the natural weaker vessel. Husband and wife are to live together in the grace of God so that their prayers would not be hindered. The way a husband is instructed to treat His wife is the same way all of us are to treat each other as believers. Peter describes the wife as the weaker vessel. As such, the husband is to give her grace and help her and nurture her. In one way or another, we are all weak vessels. In the body of Christ there are those who are weak in some areas and strong in other areas. There are things that I am weak in. It is in those weak areas of my life that other believers should give me grace and give me strength by encouraging me and helping me where I am weak. There are areas in my life where I may be stronger than others. It is in those areas that I must give grace to those who are weaker and be an encouragement to them. Often times, we tend to think that everyone else should be just like us. We condemn others in our words, actions, and demands in those areas where we are strong and they are weak. However, this is not how a Christian should behave. We should realize that we are all on different levels spiritually and in maturity. We should be conscience of that and be very careful how we treat one another. It is when we are grace givers that God gives His grace to us in answering our prayers.

I don’t know about you, but I want to have a closer walk with God. I want to be a prayer warrior. I want to be the type of person that when I pray, God listens. In order to be such a person, we must live in relation to one another with a humble spirit, inner beauty, and as a grace giver.

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