1 Peter 3:8-12 – Good Behavior

crown being place on woman's head in black and white photo

Read 1 Peter 3:8-12

This reading applies to everyone who calls themselves Christian. The behavior Peter describes is all very basic, yet we still stumble and need the reminder. It’s also affirming to see behaviors on the list we can recognize and feel good about, knowing we’re already acting in those ways. Imagine wearing a crown because you are a son or daughter to a king – is your behavior fit for a child of a king? King Jesus that is!

Of course, there are times when evil desires or influences can overtake our good intentions. We know we’re not immune to evil just because we’re followers of Christ. Even Jesus himself encountered the crafty evil one on more than one occasion! We need to stay strong like Jesus did to resist the devil. I think of James 4:7, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

This is quite a list Peter includes for what Christian behavior should look like. It would be nice if all Christians would display these behaviors. Is there one that really resonates with you or a situation you are facing? Maybe you’re working to love others more like Jesus. Here’s confirmation to encourage you that you’re on the right track.

Verse 9 struck a chord for me. “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing.” Have you ever done that? Have you ever thought about doing it? It’s a brilliant response, don’t you think? A blessing doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. In fact, an expensive gift or litany of flowery prayers might distract from the grace of your response.

Peter closes this section on roles by examining what being Christian should look like. He also quotes from Psalm 34. The psalmist suggests that a long, satisfying life can be ours with the good behavior Peter is now recommending. As Christians, we seek to act in all of these ways, knowing we will stumble at times. That’s why we need a Savior. Our acknowledgment of Jesus’ power and purpose in our lives is what fuels us toward future glory with God.

It’s nothing new. I think of the generations before Noah, and even before the exile, too. God’s people have always been lured by evil. We’ve seen how historically God handled those who turned away. God turned his back on his beloved in the past, why should it be any different now? God’s word declares it. Peter is showcasing it to help us see.

God is watching. He knows our hearts. What does he want from us? That’s another reason why the psalmist cry resonates with me. “Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” We need to be peace makers always searching for more peace. Now all we have to do is discern what is evil. As a simple “litmus test”, ask “does it lift God up and not contradict his word?” Beware, the evil one is crafty.

Think of one small change you could make your daily routine that would exhibit one of the good behaviors from this reading.

colorful animation of prayer hands and hearts and flowers

Let’s pray. Lord, as a Christian I want my life to reflect the good behavior Peter describes. Help me to avoid evil and resist it when I’m tempted. I know you will keep me strong. I seek peace in my life and in this world. I long for the day when more and more people turn to you in faith and act in loving ways as would please you. Help me be more loving. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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