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The Good Life

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:8-13; Text: 1 Peter 3:10-11

What is "the good life"? The answer you get depends on who you ask. To a homeless person, it may be having a home and adequate food. The average American may describe it as having two cars, a two-story house, and two bank accounts; a checking and savings. To the more affluent it may be yachts and European villas and world cruises. What does God have to say about it? His answer is what most people in all those groups are really seeking. God said it is to "love life" and "see good days." What more could anyone ask? Whether rich or poor, for life to be filled with good days so that we genuinely love life; is the desire of most of our hearts.

It is interesting to note that this is not a new idea with Peter. He did not develop some new and radical philosophy. He was not seeking to experiment and perhaps be disappointed, he wanted a sure thing. So Peter looked into the Word of God to rediscover the good life. Guess where he found it? It was written in the Old Testament for all to see. Look at Psalm 34:12-16 and compare it to 1 Peter 3:10-12. As you study them comparatively, there are so many ways in which they parallel each other. So if you want the good life, live the old tried and proven ways of a godly life. Many have failed to realize this truth, even among the saved.

I believe we all want to live a life we can love. To live such a life, we need our years to be filled with good days. While this is our desire, the sad reality is that it is not always that way. We all know that there are difficult and trying times in life. God told us it would be that way. He said troubles would come our way (Job 14:1). God forewarned us that the longer we live, the more problems we are likely to experience (Ecclesiastes 12:1). If every moment of every day was wonderful and we never experienced any trials, many would not want to go to heaven? Yet somewhere in between is a happy medium. Between constant bad and perpetual good, there is a rich and fulfilling life. Many now enjoy such a life and many others want it. So if you ask, "How can I find the good life"?; God tells you the answer through His Apostle Peter.

What God shares with us through Peter is not so complicated. The secret is found by using TWO keys. That is not too unusual. Many homes now have two keys. One is for the door knob and the other for the dead-bolt. Many of our cars have two keys also, one for the door and the other for the ignition. Have you ever noticed how many times God uses two things? He created us with two feet, two hands, two eyes, and two ears. In the Holy Scriptures, there are two testaments. There are two WORDS also, the written and inspired word as the Bible and the living incarnate Word, Who is Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is not so strange that God would give us two KEYS to finding the good life.

The first key deals with the use of the tongue or mouth: "let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile" (1 Peter 3:10). The second key deals with what we do in life: "Let him eschew evil, and do good, let him seek peace, and ensue it" (1 Peter 3:11). If we can understand how God would have us use our tongues and what He would have us do, we can then enjoy the good life.

First, we need to look at the proper use of the tongue. It is an important member of our body. Our tongue has great potential to do good or to do evil. In God's earliest laws, called the Ten Commandments, He outlined the proper and improper use of the tongue. He gave this simple commandment in Exodus 20:16. Therefore we are to speak truth and not lie, about others or ourselves. The importance of this commandment is seen in James 3 in his discourse on the tongue. He stated that we often offend, but if we can control our tongue, we are able to control the remainder of our bodies. No wonder Peter mentions the tongue first in his message. James went on to tell us that even though the tongue is small in size, it is capable of great damage. It is like a small campfire that spreads to engulf and destroy the entire forest (James 3:5-6).

The Bible certainly does have a great deal to say about the tongue. Even a superficial study will reveal this truth. The Book of Job is believed by some to be the oldest book of the Bible. He said this - Job 6:25. Solomon is without doubt the wisest man who ever live, with the exception of Jesus Christ. God inspired Solomon to write the Book of Proverbs and give many jewels for daily living. He said this in Proverbs 25:11. In the New Testament we find many other admonitions. Paul encouraged the saints at Colosse to heed the words of Colossians 4:6. Then to the younger minister Titus he spoke the words of Titus 2:8, as a message for the saints. The list of scriptures could go on and on, but let these suffice in verifying that many scriptures do address the subject of the tongue. May Psalm 19:14 be our daily prayer.

In Peter's statements, he uses some interesting words about the tongue. He said to "refrain" from speaking "evil" and to speak no "guile." The words are "refrain", "evil" and "guile." The idea of REFRAIN is cease from or not to engage in saying evil things. The word EVIL means that which is bad. So we are not to say bad thigs, if we are to enjoy the good life. We must keep our tongues in the will of God and hold back when satan tempts us to say bad things. The idea of bad things is not simply profanity as taking God's name in vain Exodus 20:7; it is more. The idea of GUILE is involved also. Guile in the Bible is deceit and dishonesty. Peter is telling us that we can be dishonest and deceitful in our words and well as our actions. When you tell lies about others or in order to get what you want, the guile can hurt others as well as yourself. When Peter spoke of the sinlessness of Christ, he said there was no guile in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22). In the beginning of that same chapter he said we are to put it aside too (1 Peter 2:1). That should be obvious, if we are Christians, we should strive to be Christ like, which means no guile in our mouth. To follow this practice will not only mean that we do not offend other people and bring their contempt on us, but in the process we please God and He bestows His blessings on us. As God blesses us and we get along better with others, we will have more good days in which we will love life.

Second, we need to consider the things we should do to live as God teaches. We come now to receive the second key. Here is the other half of the puzzle. If we were to stop after verse ten, we would never be able to FULLY enjoy the good life. Again there are important words to consider. They are: "eschew," "peace," and "ensue." Peter started with the tongue, now he advances to encompass the whole of our being. He will help us define ourselves and who we are, not by one member, but by what we do and how we live. True Christianity is not just to sit around acting piously, it is to live in God's will for us. The word "eschew" means that we are to turn away for evil or bad. As we turn away from evil, we are gradually turning more and more towards God. There is a great deal of evil in the world about us. Many who are close to us are involved in evil acts. It is not easy to swim against the current in the river, it is much easier to float with the stream. The same is true in our lives, it is not easy to go against the tide of evil that is sweeping our nation and the world, It will take great courage and much grace to accomplish this feat, but God never said it would be easy, only that it will make your life better. Even in the distant past in which Peter lived, sin and evil was rampant. Even further back in the days of Job, there was great evil. Yet Job was a man who eschewed evil according to Job 1:1, 8; 2:3. In all three references, the fact that he shunned evil was connected to fearing God. It was no easier for them than for us. Through much prayer and by God 's help, they were able to turn away from the evil and not participate. People want you to go along with the crowd and thus sanction what they are doing. God is telling us it will only make us miserable and unhappy, if we have been saved. Though others may turn against us, the Lord will be with us and His presence is necessary if we are to love life and see good days.

The final idea that is set forth is that we are to seek peace. Peace means to have UNITY. Peter said for this to become a reality, we must ensue it, which simply means that we PURSUE peace. Peace can be spontaneous, but most of the time it does not come that way. When people live peaceably together, there are many personal sacrifices that have to be made. That holds true whether nations, communities, friends, or familes are involved. If you want to live peaceably, you must work at it. You will need to pursue it as the desired game of the hunt or as the long sought after treasure. Jesus understood this fact and said that there are to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). Our peace with God comes throught our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our "peacemaker" and thus was prophesied as the Prince Of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). God recognizes that it is not always possible to get along peacably. There are some people who will not let you get along with them and you could probably name a few. However, we are to do all we possibly can to get along with them and live peacably, according to Romans 12:18.

These verses have no MAGIC about them. They simply help STEER us into God's path of righteousness. The Psalmist said that as our Shepherd, God will lead us in the way of righteous (righteousness) living (Psalm 23:3). It is as simple as this, when we live in obedience to God , He will bless us. Peter said in verse twelve, that God sees what we do and will either hear us or oppose us. Long ago Isaiah told Israel these truths: he said if they lived righteous lives in obedience to God, they would be blessed. On the other hand, if they refused and rebelled against God they would be devoured (Isaiah 1:18-20). God had a right to make such demands on them, after all He had cleansed their sins.

Today, God makes a similar demand because He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of His people. The preceeding chapter gave an indepth statement of the truth of redemption and salvation through Jesus, our Lord (1 Peter 2:24-25). He saved us by grace, we should serve and honor Him with our mouths and lives. If we do not, we have no right to expect His blessings. Live any way you want to, but do not expect God to bless you to feel good about it and enjoy life. To enjoy such a life, we must have the blessings of God. All we need, He is able to supply (James 1:17).

In conclusion, let me exhort you to live it up, dear child of God. Seek a life full of good days and blessings that will make you love the life you live. Such a life will fill you with satisfaction and contentment. It will not be found in sinful indulgences, not in evil speaking nor evil living. Such lives are never truly, lastingly gratifying. Therefore, the good life is not fame and fortune. It is speaking words that honor and please God. It is doing good things for people and trying to get along with them, though you cannot partake of their sins. The GOOD LIFE is living a good moral life, living closer to God each day. It is seeking His will and trusting Him for all blessings you need. These are the KEYS to THE GOOD LIFE and may God bless you with peace and prosperity in living for Him. Remember that LONG LIFE comes in honoring our parents (Exodus 20:12 & Ephesians 6:2-3), but the GOOD LIFE comes in honoring God. People CAN NOT give it to you. No matter how much they love you, they can give good things, but not good days. Satan WILL NOT give it to you, though he has great power, it is directed to do evil. God CAN AND DOES give good days. Therefore, we must live for Him and trust God for the good life.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014