Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king. You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:11-21
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble. 2 Peter 1:4-10
But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? Psalm 71:14-19
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
One of the great evidences that we are going forward in complete follow through with the process of transformation of our lives that was begun when we came to faith in Christ is the impact our transformed lives have on the world around us. What a great description of this we find in the 1 Peter passage above. If we are living our lives in the way described, we will have opportunity to give verbal expression to our faith that we are already demonstrating by our lives (1 Peter 3:15). Getting to this spot is very much a part of our “follow through” and our not being ones who “fall down on the job.” But remember bearing fruit in this way does not take place apart from abiding in Christ whereby He produces the fruit in us and through us.
Once again, we have passages of exhortation and in them we see both the tone of challenge and correction and the tone of encouragement and support. We need the help admonishment and edification provide if we are to be spurred on in our pursuit of living truly fruitful lives. When the fruitfulness of Christ comes forth from our lives it will be both in terms of Divine qualities that others see in us and in words they hear from us that proclaim the awesomeness of God and His gift of salvation.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for redeeming my soul. It is utterly amazing that my heart is now your home. How incredible that within the sanctuary of my heart I am getting to know you, I am being made like you, I am being guided by you, and I being empowered for living life. From all of this, I am becoming a vessel you use to influence, bless, and reach the people in my life. I get it, Lord! I just concentrate on you and you do the amazing work of radically altering my life and using it to touch the world. Amen!