Living a Life that Matters – 1 Peter 3
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.[s] Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 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 bless you for it. 10 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.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 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.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 NLT
Peter is continuing his instruction to the persecuted church. We have seen how he instructs husbands and wives, now he turns his attention to the church body and how they are to live a life that matters through persecution. Peter offers that the key to enduring persecution is not just in having an easy life. The key is not having a life that is free from difficulty, pain, adversity, challenges, or problems. Our society says that if you can make your life problem free and keep yourself from difficulty that would be ideal; that would be a good life. You can have a good life if you insulate and separate yourself from problems. David says that the opposite is true. When you are wondering how things are going to work out.
When the problems of life come crashing in on us, we think God should give us the reasons it all happened. Peter has come to understand that we don’t need reasons for our problems, as much as we need comfort through our problems. We think we need answers to why things happen the way they do. Peter understands that we don’t need answers to why, as much as we need a community of believers for encouragement. We think Jesus should give us explanations when life comes crashing down. Peter knows that we don’t need His explanations as much as we need His presence. As a result, Peter does not instruct the early church on how to live their lives to avoid challenges and insulate their lives from problems and hardships, but rather he teaches them how to live obedient to God, because he knows that if they live obedient to God, their awareness of His presence will increase. That’s why he says, “That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”
To give an example of how to live a life that matters in light of persecution, Peter reaches back into the Old Testament and quotes from a Psalm of David. He draws on a time when David went through some rough times. David had defeated the giant Goliath (from the town ofGath) and later King Saul acted out in jealousy to kill him. David is forced to flee fromIsraelbut because Saul was so determined to destroy David, he had nowhere to go. David keeps running from Saul until he ends up seeking refuge in the town ofGath(the hometown of Goliath). When King Ackish ofGathfinds out that David is there, he remembers David is the one whoIsraelsang songs about killing 10 thousand Philistines. King Ackish was not happy with that.
David knew that he would not be found favorably. David was afraid and alone. So much so that he pretends to be crazy by digging his fingernails into the walls and drooling down his beard and ranted and raved like a maniac. The King said he didn’t need another crazy person in his city so he has David removed from the city.
David writes these words as he was fearful and didn’t know if he was going to make it out alive. What does David write?
“4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 NLT
“8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” Psalm 34:8-14 NLT
Peter knows that David faced greater challenges in his life than most people will ever know. If there is anyone who could have prayed to have his problems lessen David would be the guy. David knows in the midst of problems that the key to life is not just trying to make things easier, but to “search for peace and work to maintain it” because God Himself will meet you in the midst of the most intense difficulty. David recognizes that it is in the time of adversity that you find that the Lord is with you and you can taste and see that the Lord is good. That’s why he recognizes the following:
“15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:15-18 NLT
David reminds when we feel boxed in at Gath (between Saul and the Philistines) and when things seem to be at their very bleakest, these are the times that we can see clearly what God does and how He invades the situations to bless His people because we are living lives that matter.
Holy Spirit give me the strength to endure the challenging seasons of life. Empower me to have the integrity to give You praise and to seek peace even when I don’t feel like it. Amen.