Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 8 October 20:
1 Peter 3:2, 8, 9, 15, 16 – “…they see your respectful and pure conduct…. all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for revling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing…. in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Today’s readings instruct us on how Christians are to influence others and deal with confrontation – with respect, purity, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender, humble heart, and gentleness, while blessing others and attempting to reason with them, never repaying evil with evil and never insulting or condemning those who treat you poorly. Be prepared: If you act this way, people are going to ask for a reason why. If you are looking for opportunities to share the Gospel, today’s readings give you a great way to open the door.
How is it possible to act this way? “All things are possible for one who believes…. With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 9:23; Mark 10:27) Pure conduct requires faith (trusting God with the current situation), hope (trusting God with the future), the power of the Holy Spirit producing in us the fruit of the Spirit ( see Galatians 5:22), and a genuine heartfelt desire to honor and glorify “Christ the Lord has holy” (v. 15) – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18) “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” (Luke 9:23)
- James 3:17-18 — But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
- Proverbs 16:32 — Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
- Romans 12:21 — Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- James 1:19-20 — Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
If your response to maltreatment fails to meet the standard of today’s readings, don’t just try to improve your behavior through will power. Pray that God will give you a heart which is “zealous for what is good” and which desires above all else to “honor Christ the Lord as holy.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 October 20: Today, watch how you respond to bad behavior from others, and take your shortcomings to the Lord.