In Part One, I pondered if the set-apart life could really be done according to 1st Peter 3:8 & 9. Based on the comments received on the blog and on Facebook, it's obvious people are hungry for discussion on this.
For Part Two, I'm going to pause & ponder the rest of that passage in 1st Peter. Verses 10-12 (The MSG again):
"Whoever wants to embrace lifeand see the day fill up with good,Here's what you do:Say nothing evil or hurtful;Snub evil and cultivate good;run after peace for all you're worth.God looks on all this with approval.But He turns His backon those who do evil things."
I love the way this is worded in the NIV too. "Whoever would love life and see good days..."
Do we as believers in Christ really desire to love life? Do we want to embrace it? Not love it and embrace it in the sense that we love life more than we love Christ, but do we love the life that God has given us to live by the power of the HOly Spirit--that life mentioned in John 10:10--"life to the full."
I think the two verses build on one another:
"The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy,
but I have come that they may have life & have it to the full."
We already have life to the full living in us, but whether we live it out to the full or not is a whole different story.
Sometimes we are content to be discontent with life. "The world is falling apart..." "I can't wait to be in Heaven..." True. But I don't want us to get to the point where we allow our thinking on the ick Satan is doing to rob us of Christ's fullness alive in & available to us today.
So if we truly desire loving Christ's life in us, this passage shares how to do that. Peter chooses to go back to the advice given in Psalm 34:
"Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth."
Sounds so easy, doesn't it? I can't think of anything I pray about more than God helping me in these areas. My words come from the overflow in my heart, and folks, it ain't pretty in there a lot of the time. If my spiritual life could be measured by how much time I spend in the Word, I would get an "A" for sure. But if it were measured by how much time I live out the Word, well, I'd never graduate!
But we don't ever graduate, do we? His grace gives us opportunity after opportunity to live life His way. He loves us that much.
I love the picture in my head when I read "Snub evil." There's no major rant, no violent declaration. Just snub and run on ahead. God in us is too good to spend time chewing out evil. We hold our heads up high, realizing we have the Word of life in us, and we go on to "cultivate good & run after peace." HE is the Prince of Peace, and when we run after Him, evil runs the other direction.
Don't mean to trivialize the power of evil. In every post on a passage of Scripture, there is another passage to give it more depth or light. Sometimes we are faced with a horrible battle with evil, and the Lord gives us more intense training in our faithwalks. We are to stay aware and on our guard against the devil's schemes (1st Peter 5:8). We are to fight with spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6). But I would still argue that if you are running after the Lord, you will be fully aware and armed when those intense battles come.
Please don't be intimidated if you are not to this place on your Christian journey yet. I've been a committed Christian since childhood, and I'm still not. But the question is, do we have the want-to? And if we're at a place where we have the want-to, are we willing to go about it God's way? We can't get there on our own.
"'Not by might, not by power, but by MY Spirit,' says the Lord." Zechariah 4:6
"...apart from Me, you can do nothing." John 15:5
I can't leave the topic without the last few points of the passage. They are key:
"God looks on all this with approval.
But He turns His back
on those who do evil things."
When we live life HIS way, He approves. When we do evil, He doesn't. He's holy. Yes, there's grace and forgiveness when we repent, thank goodness, but if we struggle with the same sins on a repetitive basis, we are wise to remember He is holy and that He hates sin. Often I have to get to the place where I've grown to hate my sin so much that I am more submissive to Him than ever to help me turn from it. Inevitably, when I do, it's hard and uncomfortable. But it's worth it in the end, because "life to the full" is so much sweeter than life to the comfortable. Full life keeps on giving and flowing. Comfort-driven life not only has limits, but also begins to deplete.
Wild stuff, but true. What are your thoughts?