Desiring Life & Seeing Good Days
Do you have some days that are just bad? People get under your skin and it seems like nobody understands your situation. By the time you get home in the evening you are dog tired and even the slightest negative comment can make you lash out with an unkind word. For some of us this begins the same time the sun comes up. I used to work in construction and let me tell you those guys could go rounds all day long. If I didn’t get cussed out in the first five minutes of the day it was like something was wrong. Conflict is never a fun thing to deal with but how can we respond in a Godly manner? Yesterday we discussed how to do the Father’s will and bear fruit by abiding in Christ. That is the first step to having a better day and a better life. Today we have a list of fruit from the apostle Peter as he recollects Psalm 43 and shows us how we can deal with those bad days and conflicting relationships.
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
11 “He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
-1 Peter 3:8-12
In the previous verses all the way back to chapter 2:11, there is a teaching of how to live our daily lives in accordance with those around us. Submitting to authority whether its with the government or within the home. The underlying principles are now being applied to believers in any position. How do we live our lives with other people and how do we gain life and see good days? Peter lays out a quick checklist: be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil, not insulting when insulted, and giving blessings. Sound easy! Right? I beg to differ. It is hard to live in harmony with others when people rub you the wrong way. In verses 1-6 there is a picture of an unequally yoked marriage and the wife is called to live in harmony with a disobedient husband who does not follow God’s ways. That is not an easy thing to do. The list of things here requires a trait called humility. Humbling ourselves and submitting to others not for our sake, but for theirs. When someone wrongs you, the last thing you want to do is give them a blessing but it is through that humble act that they are won over. It is honorable to do so and thereby you might inherit a blessing.
What is this blessing? It is a life fully lived. A life full of love and good days. How to we achieve this? There are two parallels drawn in these poetic verses that give as a better understanding of what happens when we respond in peace rather than aggression.
- tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit
- He must turn away from evil
- the Lord is against those who do evil
- love and see good days
- do good; seek peace and pursue it.
- eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, His ears attend to their prayer
When we actively pursue evil, speaking deceit and lies, maliciously returning ill favor for ill favor, the Lord sets His face (his authority) against us. When we actively pursue peace, righteousness, and desire the good in life, God listens to us and turns His gaze upon us. Think about those parallel truths. Desire good days even when they aren’t going so well. Seek peace and the Lord will respond and give you peace. As James 4:8 reiterates this concept. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It is hard to humble ourselves and make that decision but I guarantee it will make all the difference in the world. Go in peace and respond in love in the face of hardship.