First Peter 3 8-12
Principles of Christian Living
1 Peter 3:8-12
Do you ever wonder why so many people seem so unhappy? Next time you go where there is a large gathering of people, look at the faces of those you pass by. At the mall or Kmart or sometimes even at church, there are far too many unhappy looking people.
I would venture to say that most of the unhappiness comes from interpersonal relationships that somewhere have failed. You would be amazed at how many people suffer from the pain of broken relationships. Not just family but friends, fellow church members, fellow employees, etc. They have lost the joy of life and have been plagued by this burden.
We of all people who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, whose sins are forgiven, have God as our Father should be those who love life. Everyday should be a joy. As one Christian who was facing serious surgery said after the nurse asked if he was preparing for the worst, he said, “There is no worst for me, or God leads and I follow and no matter how bad it looks or feels God is working through it for my good.”
How can you live in peace? I mean at least from your side, how can you live with people and with God? Peter gives us five ways to live in peace.
- Live in harmony with one another.
Harmony comes from a common goal. Unfortunately, most people associate harmony with everyone thinking or doing exactly like they. As I pointed out one time, this is not harmony or unity but communism. Biblical unity/harmony is people with different ways of working together for the goal of God’s kingdom.
A person who lives in harmony with others accepts their ideas as being just as valid as theirs so long as both are biblical. A singer knows about harmony because two people sing different notes but have a common goal of the song.
We must seek to live in harmony with others.
2. You can live at peace if you are sympathetic with others.
Sympathetic doesn’t mean you feel sorry for someone. It means you are affectionately sensitive and tenderhearted. Rom. 12:15; Gal 6:2. Don’t let other’s problems get to you! If you are sympathetic they will. We are one body.
- Peace comes as you express brotherly love.
Not simply verbal but with actions. Look out to help others as you would your own family. Accept others as part of your godly family and make them feel loved.
- Peace comes from compassion.
All of us know how to help those in need. Compassion is reaching out to others. It evidently is a hard thing to do because so few people are compassionate. When someone is having troubles, compassion goes to them and aides them. Compassion doesn’t count the personal loss but the welfare of the other person is the goal.
- Peace comes from being humble.
If people would stop boasting or bragging, what a blessing that would be. Humility is not flouting yourself but putting others’ interests first. Phil. 22:8.
These five will bring you peace. What does one do when people wrong you? What are the principles of God that we should follow?
- Don’t’ pay back evil for evil or insult for insult.
This is hard but our Savior gave us the example to follow, 1 Pet. 2:23. The daggers fling from our wicked hearts when someone attacks us. Years ago a godly person said to me, “When someone attacks you verbally as a pastor or a person, bite your lip until they are done and then say thank you and go to God asking Him to show you if what they said was true. If not, forget it. If so, go back and thank them for the insight they provided and give the glory to God.
- Here is what you are to do—bless them.
Speak well of them, both to them and others, show kindness. I love the New English Bible translation of this verse. “Do not pay wrong with wrong or abuse with abuse; on the contrary, retaliate with blessing.”
3. You must keep your tongue from evil, from causing more trouble.
Isn’t that the way to deal with people who wrong you? Keep your tongue from evil! It takes godly wisdom. Prov. 10:19, 13:3, 17:28, 2:23.
4. Keep lips from deceitful speech.
Isn’t that just what we want to do when somebody does us wrong? We want to in some way get them back and usually by deceit. Prov. 17:20. One of the most deceitful things we do with our tongues is gossip. Illustration: Don’t be a caterpillar tractor—moves a lot of dirt and fast.
The Conclusion: Turn from evil
This means to head in the opposite direction. Don’t give evil a chance—flee from its presence. Don’t think, “Oh, I can handle it” Turn!
Seek and pursue peace. It is not easy to find. Seek like a treasure. It takes work! Keep going after it, do all you can for peace.
How does all this relate to your relationship with God? READ v.12. It is again an aspect of effective prayer. If you cause hostility, use your tongue for evil, don’t live in harmony with others, don’t expect God to listen to your prayers. He turns His face away. But if you do what is right by God’s standards, He will be attentive to you.
The blessing is you will love life and see good days even in the midst of trouble.