How do I love more of life?
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, 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.”
- I Peter 3:10-11
How do I often respond when someone offends me? What should I say if someone mocks me for my faith? How much of my joy as a Christian should be affected by such mistreatment? Peter, the author of the verses given, writes to Christians undergoing persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ, and he wants to guide them on how to respond to false accusations and unjust slander.
First, let us notice that Peter states that we as Christians can still love our lives and see good days even when we undergo forms of persecution. Of course, we don’t naturally run toward pain and suffering that others cause us, but when it happens, we can’t assume that our lives no longer have access to joy and peace. Paul and Silas singing in the Philippian jail often encourages me in moments when people make light of my faith.
Second, Peter comes alongside us and says that if we want to love life and see good days in the midst of slander, we need to keep our tongues from evil and lips from speaking deceit. Interesting how he uses the word “keep.” “Keep” assumes self-control. Our tongues are powerful influences that make or break people. If we want to love our lives and see good days, we need to contain our speech, though that is much easier said than done.
Third, Peter tells his readers to turn away from evil and do good. Seeking to nourish your life with sin is like putting a plant in a dark, dry corner with no sun or water and expecting it to grow lavishly. But doing good by desiring God wholeheartedly is to expose yourself to Him who is the “way, truth, and the life.” To have Christ is to have life to the fullest. He who loves his life will do good by seeking to love God with all of his heart, soul, and mind and his neighbor as himself.
Finally, we must dwell on why the Christian even has access to a life worth having and days that are good. Peter says in verse 12 of this chapter that God’s eyes are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. We as believers are hidden in the righteousness of Christ (Colossians 3:3). We will not receive the wrath of God because Jesus took God’s wrath for us on the cross.
Because we are found in Christ, God listens to our pleas and cries, our worship and praises, our petitions and yearnings when we come before His throne in prayer. When slander and injustice come our way, we, by the self-control given by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23), must keep our tongues and pursue good, for we are hidden in the cleft of Jesus’ righteousness, goodness, and peace.
Keeping our tongues and pursuing good is how we can love more of life. Jesus Christ and His righteousness is the reason why.