“Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NET)
As you begin this first lesson, realize that you are precious to God, and as His daughter, He wants you to be adorned internally, not just externally, for true beauty resides in the heart. Each week we will focus on an aspect of true beauty from the book of 1 Peter. Do you have a desire to be so beautiful that everyone notices? More and more as the years pass, your character rather than your looks will attract others. As our memory verse this week explains, beauty is vain - meaning temporary like a vapor. I have found that to be all too true as I age. Without inward beauty, I have no beauty left!
Before you start the first day’s lesson, take the time to ask God to bless your time with Him, to give you insight and understanding of His Word, and to help you walk with Him more intimately than ever before as a result of this study. Don’t forget to memorize our verse!
If you can, read through the entire book of 1 Peter as if you had just received it in the mail. It is a letter from Peter to first-century believers. Have the following questions in mind as you read so that you can write today’s answers as you go.
1. Note any initial thoughts that you have as you read. What is God saying that is meaningful to you where you are right now in your life?
2. Do you notice any repeated thoughts or ideas? If so, record them.
If you were not already familiar with this book, you may be surprised by the content. It is not a book about beauty, but in a sense you can see the whole book in that light. As we grow as believers, we should reflect more and more the beauty of Jesus, and this book helps us understand how to do that.
3. Responding to God: Write a prayer asking God to change you through this study into a truly beautiful woman in His eyes.
The first and most important part of being truly beautiful is being adorned with faith. You may be just beginning to explore the meaning of faith, or you may have been on the journey of faith for many years. Wherever you are and whatever your background, this week’s lesson will be helpful in seeing that to be truly beautiful, faith is essential.
Read 1 Peter 1:1-21. We are going to focus on only some of these verses this week and then dig into the others next week, but by reading them all, you will get them in context.
4. According to the first verse, Peter identifies the people to whom he sends this letter as strangers or aliens. How is a person of faith like an alien in a foreign land, or even a foreign world?
5. Read Phil. 3:20-21. What truths does Paul keep in mind that help him value heaven more than this world?
6. Sharing question: Consider your own life. Do you share Paul’s hope? How does your life reflect the fact that your citizenship is not here? Name one specific way in which someone may see that in your life. (I know that this is your first lesson with your group and you do not know these other women well, but this is a safe place and we need to be open and honest with one another.) If you are more attached to this world than heaven, ask God for one practical way that you can grow in your love for Him and His kingdom, write it below, and be prepared to share it with your group.
You may have noticed that in 1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter describes those who receive this letter as not only strangers or aliens but also as chosen. There are entire books written about the truth that God has selected His children. God has decided not to reveal more than the fact that we are chosen. Instead of debating how this works, I would like you to think about how it feels to be chosen. Perhaps as a student you usually made the athletic teams. Maybe your job experience has been one of feeling chosen by a boss or company to tackle a specific task. We all have experienced times when we were picked and times when we weren’t.
7. Read Romans 3:10-18. How are you described here? Be specific!
Clearly, we are not beautiful naturally. We are stained and ugly because of our sins; thus, by faith alone are we able to become beautiful in God’s sight. Despite the ugliness of your sins, God has chosen you to be His daughter. His choice has nothing to do with your being better than anyone else, which this passage in Romans makes clear. He chose you in His mercy simply because He loves you and wants a relationship with you. I often hear people say that God loves you just the way you are, but that is not exactly correct. God loves you despite the way you are! If you truly believe that God selected you regardless of what He knew about you rather than because of it, you recognize how undeserving you are of God’s mercy.
8. Responding to God: Write a prayer thanking God for His great love and mercy and for choosing you despite the fact that you did not deserve it.
I had a difficult time believing that God chose me - it didn’t seem fair and I couldn’t comprehend it. I was willing to accept only those things that I could wrap my mind around and embrace. Yet, the Bible clearly said that God chose His children. How could I believe that? But I went to God and asked Him to open my mind to the truth whether I understood it or not. Over time, I began to acknowledge this as true. I still cannot explain it and would never attempt to reconcile it with the truth that we are responsible to believe. To do so would be adding to God’s word an explanation that He never gave. I have just accepted it by faith, and it has made me so much more aware of the mercies of God in my life. I wasn’t wise enough or smart enough to choose Him; He chose me despite me!
Who is Jesus? Becoming a Christian means that you become a follower of Jesus. He is the essential of our faith. If we are to adorn ourselves with faith, we must first know who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Many of you have already trusted in Him and if so, ask God to take your lesson today and help you fall more in love with Jesus than ever before as you are reminded of His great love for you.
Reread 1 Peter 1:1-21 to get back into the context of the verses.
9. What do you learn about Jesus from vv. 3, 18-21?
10. In order to recognize Jesus for who He really is, look up the following verses about Him. Note what you learn about Jesus’ identity from the people who knew Him:
a. Matt. 16:13-17
b. John 1:1-3, 14
c. John 1:29-30
d. John 4:42
11. Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. This is the good news, the gospel. What truths about Jesus does it involve?
Imagine how exciting it must have been to see Jesus alive again after His terrible death on a cross! His friends had lost all hope, forgetting what they had learned about His identity and not understanding the necessity for His death. Seeing Jesus alive totally changed their lives. When we believe, it should change us as well.
12. Read John 20:31. What are we to do with the truths about Jesus that we have seen in this lesson? What do we receive at that point?
13. Read John 14:6. Record Jesus’ words below. What other options did Jesus give people for acquiring eternal life in heaven?
14. Sharing question: If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, summarize your story of how and when you came to believe in Him and trust Him as your personal Savior.
If you have never trusted Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to give you eternal life with Him, today is a wonderful time to do that. Call upon Him, believing that He is God’s Son who died on your behalf to pay the penalty for your sins and rose again from the dead, and desiring a personal relationship with Him as God’s daughter. Share your faith with your group or leader. Read His promise to you in Romans 10:13.
Reread 1 Peter 1:3-5.
15. Once you are born again, what do you receive according to 1 Peter 1:4?
16. What guarantees that your entrance into heaven is absolutely secure (1 Peter 1:5)?
17. How does Romans 11:29 help you understand the security of your salvation?
18. Responding to God: Based on 1 Peter 1:3-5 and Day Four Lesson, write a prayer thanking Jesus for your salvation and the inheritance that you now have because of His death and resurrection. You might want to take some of the phrases from these verses and reword them into a prayer.
19. Sharing question: Do you have a friend who needs to know that Jesus died for her sins? Write down a specific way that you plan to show her the love of Christ and share with her the news that she can have the inheritance of heaven.
20. Copy Proverbs 31:30 below, our “Precious Word from God” for this week, and memorize it.
Fearing the Lord means in a practical sense that you trust Him, knowing that you are accountable to Him, realizing that you must fall upon His mercy. We have seen in our study this week that we are all sinners before a holy God. Only by His forgiveness through Jesus’ death for our sins are we able to enter into a family relationship with Him. As we trust Him, God begins to change us.
21. Sharing question: Does your life reflect the beauty of your faith? Write down one practical way in which your faith has changed you into a more beautiful woman.
At the age of probably six or seven I "walked the aisle" at the little country church that I grew up in. I followed in baptism. No one counseled with me about what it really meant and the steps one needed to take to give her life to Christ. I just remember thinking that it was neat that I was going to be baptized and that I would now be able to take the Lord's Supper whenever it was offered. I certainly didn't understand the meaning of that ordinance!
My husband was ordained as a deacon when I was in my mid twenties. The ordination committee came to our house to talk to us and asked me for my testimony. I realized then for the first time that I really didn't have a testimony, but I was too proud to admit it and made up a pretty convincing one. The Lord didn't let go of me. I struggled for several years with this. Every time an invitation was given, I would grip the back of the pew in front of me so hard that I almost broke it in half.
Finally in 1979, we went on a youth choir mission trip as sponsors and I was so convicted of not "playing the game" any longer that when we got back from the tour, I made a profession of faith and followed in believer's baptism. I had for years been so worried about what people would think, let pride get in my way and let the devil convince me that I didn't need to give my life to Christ. What a peace came over me, once I turned loose of all of these things. Has everything been great since then? Of course not, but I do have open access to Jesus Christ as my Savior and He can comfort me, intercede for me, and be my best friend. I wouldn't trade that relationship for anything else in this world.
22. Sharing question: Write down any area of pride in your life that prevents you from being open and honest with those in the community of faith. What do you need to do about it?