Living Large

It is expedient to do a little personal check-up on how you are living, that is, what is your daily conduct in the good times and the bad. A standard of excellence is needed to serve as a basis for conduct. The Bible book of I Peter was addressed initially to believers living in a hostile environment. Sound familiar?

They were certain to encounter hostility. Like them, so are we. Our conduct when the two worlds clash can be an admirable witness. It is a witness by conduct.

Much hostility is designed to invoke a hostile response. It is a game of “Gotcha.” If believers respond in kind with hostility they instantly forfeit any example of living grace.

Peter’s council to Christians of his era is no less expedient today, and  it should be noted, no less difficult. The council is:

“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world…. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.” (I Peter 2: 12 & 15)

The text goes further:
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say,

‘If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.’

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (I Peter 2: 9 – 17)