“Life’s Good Days: How to Find Them”
I Peter 3:10-11, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
This morning, we see morality being stripped from public consciousness, families crumbling, and many other things that can – and do – raise alarms and concerns regularly. Too often in the last several years, I have seen and heard well meaning people – including church members – getting too despondent over the state of affairs. When concern turns to despair, it indicates that faith is beginning to wane. Our faith is one of the strongest weapons we have to honorably fulfill our charge here in this life, and we should not allow the tide of the day’s battle determine how well we wield our weapons. Even in the midst of dark days and crumbling values, we can have more than life (existence). We can have living (enjoyment) as we faithfully go through our courses with the light of His glorious countenance.
Peter here has been building to a point that he is still not to in our study verses. The centerpiece of this epistle (both on the page and in thought) comes in verse 15 about answering the question of our hope and peace. Everything from our position, inheritance, example in Christ, and then virtuous Godly living that he writes about prior to that builds to the conclusion that we should be ready to speak about who we are, how we got there, and what we are determined to do in life as a result of being there. Whether it is being a good church member, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, etc. we should live a life that shows our hope and be ready to talk about it. But what about the verses before us? What is Peter’s point?
Peter starts our study verses with two qualifications of a desired state: loving life and seeing good days. All the commands that flow out from it are exhortations to achieve the two qualifying marks of this desired state. No one in their right mind living today would want something other than good days in their life. Yet, so many times we find ourselves wanting something other than our current position. Some of this is due to being such dissatisfied creatures, but much of it stems from not putting forth the right kind of effort to achieve it. For example, I know of some that have not enjoyed their church experience for a long time, yet they repeatedly fail to read their Bibles or pray for the church and her services. The best way to enjoy church more while we are there is to prepare more for it before we get there. The best way to enjoy life after God’s way is to prepare our hearts to seek Him in thought, word, and deed.
Notice the progression of these exhortations. The first area of ground begins with the tongue, and it ends with full life devotion. Human beings have a bad habit of talking about things that should really just be left alone. Peter exhorts us to keep our tongues in check that we do not allow evil to spill out of them. In conjunction with that, what we talk about should also be free from dishonesty. These two exhortations bespeak of us saying good things for the right reasons. Someone can speak the truth but do so with guile. They can be dishonest when portraying true things, and Peter commands us to not only refrain from evil things but also speak without deceit.
After the exhortation to the conduct of our mouth, Peter then moves into our “doing.” Our actions should mirror our tongue, and according to James, our body will move where our tongues go like a bit in a horse’s mouth or a rudder on a ship. (James 3:1-5) When the words fall in check as they should, the actions proceeding forth will follow in similar fashion. In our doing, there is finally some “seeking” that is commanded. We can become so disoriented at times that we do, do, do without a clear goal or directive in mind. Peter simply states the directive as seeking peace. When that is our heart’s desire and direction, good days can and will be found.
One of the things that I marvel at from time to time is Scripture’s clear and plain direction coupled with our failure to follow it as though it were some grand, complicated thing. People will rationalize not reading the Bible because it is too hard to understand. They will justify not attending church as they do not have enough time or other things came up. In these and other examples that can be cited, they feel justified in their course, and then they seem confused when things go awry leaving them downcast and downtrodden. Scripture – as in these verses – clearly states that to love life and see good days, we need to be speaking, doing, and seeking after this manner.
The Bible is replete with examples of those who saw good days in the midst of the storms of life and were able to enjoy themselves. Elijah enjoyed the food of God daily and then the company of a widow and her son with perpetual care by God’s providence during a 3.5 year famine. Abraham rejoiced to see Christ even on a day that he was called to make the ultimate parent’s sacrifice of his son Isaac upon the altar. Moses went back to enemy territory as a known criminal without fear: knowing that God was with him and would bless his efforts. No matter what is occurring in our lives, we can love our life and enjoy good days with the Lord while engaged as Peter has thus commanded.
These days are not dependent on health, weather, money, government, or any other natural factor. These days – to be good – depend only on the felt presence of the Almighty in our lives. Though He never leaves us, fulfilling these commands garners His attention and felt presence. Sometimes I consider my own life’s course to this point and gravely think of how inept and unprepared I am for battle. Our lives are so easy – relatively speaking – compared to those that have lived in generations past. Yet, our complaints mount to the skies, and we murmur so frequently about things that should be no more than passing thoughts before us.
Though not that old, I have learned that if I want to enjoy life more, complaining less helps. Thanking God helps even more, and remembering what I am through Him and will be with Him one day is tremendous. Heaven will be the best unending day, but glorious and good days can be ours to enjoy right now. May we help one another find these good days and enjoy life together. To do so, we must put away the things that are evil, first in our mouths and finally with our actions and desires. Peter’s words for this course are “eschew” and “ensue.” These words do not allow any wiggle room for self justification and rationalization of our decorum. Eschew means to completely avoid, while ensue means to completely follow. Evil is not something that can be played with and eschew it, while peace is not something that can be found while halfway looking for it. To love life, we must wholeheartedly follow after and pursue with fervency those things which make for good days here in this life. In other words, we find contentment in Him no matter the season or place or changes of life.