Meditations in 1 Peter : 40 : Loving Life & Good Days
1 Pet 3:10,11 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
There is a danger that arises in interpreting Scripture that we must face here before we make comment on these verses. It is the danger of taking verses out of context and building doctrine on them out of context. For instance, in our verses today there is a danger of seeing these things as the means to salvation. They are not; they are the outworking of salvation in a person’s life. Peter has already said plenty about a person coming to Christ and being born again. Everything he has been saying recently has been to Christians after they have been born again. We need to emphasise again; these things are to be the outworking of faith in a person’s life, not the means of bringing them to salvation. They are already saved; these are just ways that their salvation should now be worked out in daily practice.
So, says Peter, “Whoever would love life and see good days.” What a nice summary of the ‘good life’. This is a good objective in life – to love and (implied) enjoy the life that God has given us and which has now taken on a new dimension now we are Christians. What does it mean to see ‘good days’? You sometimes hear people reminiscing and saying, “Those were good days.” The Lord wants us to know that all days are now ‘good days’ with Him in our lives. So how do we enjoy and experience such days?
Peter makes three suggestions. The first is in respect of speech. Such a person must “keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” Why might that be? Possibly the answer is because our speech is a reflection of our heart. Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Mt 12:34). You inner motivation is now empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit and He is a Spirit of love. Love will never speak evil or say things that seek to deceive others and undermine truth. Moreover such speech brings disharmony and upset and those are two words guaranteed to ensure that you cannot love life and see good days! So, first of all, what now comes out of your mouth is important.
His second suggestion is in respect of general behaviour. “He must turn from evil and do good.” For the person who has been born again, as we indicated above, they are now energized and motivated by the Holy Spirit who is the perfect expression of the Father who is encapsulated by the words love and goodness. The Father never does evil and He always purposes good for us. Thus as we let the Holy Spirit teach and guide and direct us we will never do anything that could be considered ‘evil’ and indeed everything we do should fit the description of ‘good’.
His third suggestion is in respect of general attitude: “he must seek peace and pursue it.” The new believer is working on a completely different basis from that which he or she worked on before. Previously they had been working on the basis of self first. That had meant that sometimes they argued, sometimes they sought to get their way regardless of the wishes of others and this caused upset and disharmony. The person who has never died to self will always be pushing their own agenda and upset and disharmony will always accompany them. Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Mt 5:9). Those of us who now have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ will always be working for peace: peace between us and God (putting right quickly our attitude or behaviour when we have moved into a wrong place), peace between us and others (ensuring right relationships), and peace between others (seeking to bring peace and harmony into society.)
Now something we haven’t noted yet is that in these verses Peter is directly quoting from Psalm 34. Now the verse that goes before these three verses in Psalm 34 quoted by Peter (Psa 34:12-14) reads, “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” (Psa 34:11) The phrase, ‘the fear of the Lord’ is often used to encapsulate a right attitude and relationship with the Lord. Above we noted that these instructions are to be an outworking of the new life that we have received. Another way of putting it could be, they are expressions of our attitude and relationship in respect of the Lord Himself. We do these things because of the relationship that we have entered into in respect of the Lord. We don’t do them as cold application of a new law, but simply because they all comply with the nature and character of God, who we love, which we too now have by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.
So, by way of summary, can we look at our lives and be assured that our lips never say anything that is inappropriate in the light of the relationship with now have with the Lord? To reflect Him, do our lips speak that which is holy, loving and good? In our general behaviour, is the same true? Can we let the Holy Spirit shine into all corners of our life and ensure that there is only good coming out of our lives and that we are working for peace at all times and in every way? These are helpful checks to ensure we are living godly lives. May it be so!