Whoever Desires to Love Life
1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV
“For ‘Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”
Whoever is willing to love life in the sense of preferring to live through Christ and to choose, embrace, and obey God’s will for their lives, and if they want to see days filled with the goodness of God actively at work in their daily lives, then certain factors in their lives must be in place.
They must be those who are actively pursuing God and his righteousness and who, by the Spirit, are daily putting to death the deeds of the flesh. They should also be those who put a guard over their tongues, as a matter of practice, and who exercise wisdom in what to say and how to say it.
They must not be those who practice evil and evil speaking, nor should they be those who make lying and deception their practice. Instead, they should be those who are daily turning away from evil and who are doing the good that God prepared for them to do, that they should walk in that way.
They are not perfect people who never make a mistake, but they are people of integrity, who love the Lord, and who are walking in his ways and in his truth, in his power and strength. And they are not habitually living to please the passions of the flesh, but they are living to please God.
For the Lord is the Shepherd over those who are the righteous, but not just who are positionally righteous, but who are living righteously, which is signified by the context here, and which is also consistent throughout the New Testament.
The righteous are not just those who believe in Jesus, but they are those who make righteous living their practice, by God’s Spirit (1 Jn 2:29; 1 Jn 3:7, 10; Phi 4:9; 1 Tim 4:15; Heb 5:14; 2 Pet 1:10).
He has guardianship and care over our lives. He is our owner-master. He protects us from evil. He leads us in the way that we should go. He counsels and guides us in the right way. He determines our steps, that we should walk in them. And he gives us all that we need to live righteously in obedience to his commands, for he is our strength and our help.
He also listens to our prayers because we are listening to him. But he doesn’t just listen, but he takes our prayers to heart. He hears us, and he cares. He feels with us in our pain and our sorrow because he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief who bore our sins on a cross.
But the face (countenance) of the Lord is against those who practice evil. They will die in their sins, not live for eternity (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Jn 8:34; Rom 1:32; 1 Co 6:9; 2 Co 12:21; Eph 4:19; 1 Tim 1:10; 1 Jn 1:6).
Always Being Prepared
1 Peter 3:13-17 ESV
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
Not only does the Christian life involve dying with Christ to sin and living to him and to his righteousness, leaving our lives of sin behind to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, but it is also a life of suffering. For, if we are following Jesus with our lives, we will be opposed and persecuted.
Yet, we are not to fear our opposition who persecute us for righteousness’ sake. We are not to be afraid of being rejected, falsely accused, kicked out of church gatherings, called crazy or of the devil, or of being arrested and perhaps even put to death for our faith.
We are not to worry about what other people think about us or about the lies that they might be believing about us, too. We must give our reputations over to God, too, and be willing to be thought a fool if it means bringing the truth of the gospel to people so that they can be saved from their sins.
We need to be students of the Scriptures so that we know the truth, and so that we relay the truth to others, as empowered by God’s Spirit. And we need to live the truth and put the word of God into practice in our daily lives. And we need to always be ready to give an answer as to the hope that is in us to anyone who inquires about our faith or who asks a question of us that must be answered with what we believe about Jesus.
We are not to be ugly or insulting to people, though. We can speak the truth in love without being obtuse. It never means that we compromise the truth to spare people’s feelings, though, for the word of God cuts to the heart. The gospel offends.
We must always maintain a good conscience, for nothing hurts the cause of Christ and the gospel more than those who mouth empty words about Christ but who secretly are engaged in all sorts of evil. We should always live what we teach and/or profess.
Lastly, there is no shame in doing what is right and suffering for it, as though we did wrong, when we didn’t. If we know we did right, even if we are falsely accused, we can be at peace. We just put our lives and our reputations in the hands of the Lord and trust him to work it all out for our good and for his purposes (Rom 8:28).
When in The Stillness
An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.