The High Calling of Godly Character
By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte
1 Peter 2:11-12 (NASB)
11 Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God on the day of visitation.
In the middle of tribulation and persecution, Paul the spiritual coach, explains that there is more going on than just a physical war, there is a war for our very souls as well. He explains that as children of God, we belong to the Kingdom of Heaven, and because of this, we are literal foreigners, strangers on this earth.
Being children of God and citizens on Heaven, Paul urges us to resist earthy lusts, and keep a higher standard of behavior, so that even those who will try to slander and persecute, will be won over by the conduct that they observe in us.
The war is real. Paul does not diminish the challenges we face, but he is also quick to point us to the reason we should continue to fight, which is, simply by the way we conduct ourselves, others may be won over into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 5:20-21 (NASB)
20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight!
The people who call evil good and good evil still cannot deny excellent behavior. Because of our good deeds, they will ultimately give the glory to God. Do not be discouraged and do not give up doing good because we do not ultimately work for man’s approval, but God’s.
Psalm 2:1-3 (ESV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
What can we learn from 1st Peter?
· Do good because of our love for Jesus and for others and trust God for the outcome.
· Remember we are in a spiritual battle, but do not grow weary, for God will get the glory and our rewards will be great.
· When people see our behavior as genuine and good, they may be won.
· Remember the earth is not our home. Our ultimate home is in Heaven with God Almighty.
Isaiah 5:26-27 (NASB)
26 He will also lift up a flag to the distant nation, and whistle for it from the ends of the earth; and behold, it will come with speed swiftly. 27 No one in it is tired or stumbles, no one slumbers or sleeps; Nor is the undergarment at his waist loosened, Nor his sandal strap broken.
What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?
- Is there a war in my life that I have given up the fight?
- In what way am I not acting as an ambassador for Christ?
- Is there an area of my life, because of my conduct, that people could question if I truly am a child of God?
- What area of my life is winning other over to Jesus?