Do you get frustrated by the world’s lack of cooperation with your faith and your spiritual goals? Do you wonder, Why can’t the world make being pure and holy easier?
This has always been and will always be a dilemma for Christians. During Peter’s time, Christians were being accused of defying Caesar, of causing social upheaval and unrest with their new religion, and of causing riots. But Pastor Peter shows believers—both then and now—how to bear up under persecution.
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12)
Living Your Faith
The world won’t make living your faith easy, but God’s wisdom will make it easier to understand:
The World. You and I have a status in this world that differs from that of unbelievers. We are sojourners, pilgrims, aliens, and strangers. Adjust your perspective of the world and your ties to it.
The Christian Walk. While we’re dwelling in this strange land called earth, there are things we must do and can do to keep ourselves from sin. Put away your desires for money, power, and worldly success so that your walk isn’t destroyed or marred by these temptations.
- The Why. We’re given two reasons to abstain from indulging fleshly cravings. First, so that our conduct as Christians honors Christ. When our inner life is under control, then our outer life will honor the Lord. And second, so that when critics examine our lives in order to prove our beliefs false, they will find us blameless and might be inspired to know God.
Honorable conduct. Now that’s a wonderful lifetime goal! The Greek word for honorable is rich in meaning and implies the purest, highest, and noblest kind of goodness. It means “lovely,” “winsome,” “gracious,” “noble,” and “excellent.”
To live honorably means to live in a way that is so clean no charges against us can stand up. Attractive, gracious, upright behavior will always be our greatest defense...and our greatest witness.
Mistreatment and misunderstandings will come, but how you handle them speaks of your faith. Your conduct, lived out in a holy lifestyle, commends Christ to others around you.
Do you have an unbelieving husband or children or parents or brothers or sisters? Do you work with non-Christians? Are you continually misunderstood because you don’t think or live like the rest of “the gang”? Then rejoice that you are wearing God’s soft garment of a gentle and quiet spirit! Draw it around yourself, and conduct yourself in a winsome way—a God-glorifying way.
God, I’ve never viewed the world’s opposition to my beliefs as an opportunity. I’ve always viewed it as an obstacle. Please give me patience and a spirit of perseverance so I can overcome mistreatments and misunderstandings in ways that lead other people to a greater desire to know and understand You. Amen.
Putting on a Gentle and Quiet Spirit by Elizabeth George—Discover how to handle trials and persecutions, including: suffering for doing good; understanding the mysteries of God; and fanning the flame of faith through this Bible study.
How do you view the world’s opposition to your beliefs? Pray about ways God will help you turn them into an opportunity to share about Him.
When our inner life is under control, then our outer life will honor the Lord.