I’ve been pondering, reflecting, studying, and meditating on a passage of scripture from I Peter 3 this week.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
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.”
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. I Peter 3:8-17
With each phrase I find myself either comforted or challenged. I am serving in several different areas of leadership – in teams, in administration, in teaching. These positions take a great deal of time and energy, not to mention the responsibilities that accompany them. Every time I feel like I am confused as how to act, or am weary of doing good, or I am confident of my own abilities and talents, I am convicted to return to the Word. And I pray!
I can’t remember what brought me to I Peter 3:8-17. It’s not in my daily reading. It wasn’t in one of our family devotions. It might have just been something I skimmed past over the weekend. Whatever it was, I have been riveted and focused on these verses since.
Each portion seems to be directed right toward me. I appreciate the exhortation to have unity of mind. I know that in order to do that in the areas where I serve, I need to have a tender heart and a humble mind.
In my own strength, I seek for justice and fairness. I want “my rights” protected and defended. The scripture here says that I am to bless and not repay. And why do I live this way? What would cause me to choose this instead of the VERY gratifying satisfaction of justification and validation (and maybe even a little comeuppance every once in a while)?
It is because God’s Word is true. And I have lived it, breathed it, experienced it, and seen it to be proven true over and over again. And in this passage, it is clear that I am to keep my tongue from evil or deceit. I am to seek peace. I am to TRUST that the Lord sees the righteous and hears their prayers.
I am to act with gentleness and respect toward others. I am to honor Jesus and let Him do the protecting, defending, and upholding. And, even if I struggle or suffer, if that is God’s will, then I be sure that I am living righteously, that I am doing good, that I am following Him.
This year in particular, I have felt God’s calling to serve in a new way. And with it has been the awareness that He wants to grow ME and stretch ME and meet ME in a new way. It’s not about the people I work with or the areas where I serve. Those things are just the means He is using to draw me closer to Him. It is a humbling thing to know how deeply I am loved and how much the Lord wants to bless, instruct, teach and pour into my life.
I truly desire to serve where He calls me. To walk in peace and humility. To love others. To honor Christ as Holy and follow Him. Thankfully these verses set my feet on a path to do these exact things.
Project 365 – Day 118