Summary: 'Live a Christian life’ because “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” ‘Live a Christian life’ because it brings others to God ‘Live a Christian life’ because heaven is home and this world is not
God is looking out for us
My Grandpa was an international crown green bowler. You know, the game played by people in flat caps, with funny shaped balls, on beautifully manicured lawns. My Grandpa played for … Scotland. I remember a display cabinet sitting proudly in the corner of his lounge, bursting with cups, shields, and all manner of very shiny trophies. When he retired from bowling though, he became a scout for Scotland, and he’d travel the country watching and looking out for young bowlers with talent, watching and looking out for people who were good.
God is watching and looking out for people who are good too. Look at verse 12, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous”. God is watching and looking out for those of us who are good. It’s probably not the sort of good you’re thinking of though. It’s different from the sport scout’s good. It’s not a ‘good deeds’ good. It’s not a ‘tidies up the bedroom’ good, and it’s certainly not an ‘empties the dishwasher without being asked to’ good. It’s an ‘in the heart’ good. God is watching and looking out for those of us who trust him, and are living a life that focuses on the joy of heaven as home, and not this earth – living a Christian life. God is watching and looking out for, looking after, Christians.
‘Live a Christian life’ because “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous”
If God’s eyes are on the righteous. If God is watching and looking out for the righteous, surely we need to be righteous? Surely we need to be living a Christian life? Surely we need be striving to be like Jesus? The only person who was absolutely and completely righteous; the only person who was absolutely and completely good.
Peter is writing to the Christians in Asia Minor. Their life on earth is horrible. Absolutely horrible. They’re being persistently picked on, persecuted. They’re probably thinking what’s the point in being righteous? Life to them feels as though it isn’t worth living. But it is. They’re going to be in heaven with Jesus. As the Bible puts it, a place where there’ll be no more death or mourning or crying or pain; a place where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. They’re going to be in paradise.
Peter encourages them by repeating the words of David from Psalm 34 verse 15 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears towards their cry.” Peter tells them “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous”, reminding them that God cares for those who trust him, and that their home is heaven, and not this earth.
It’s easy to think ‘what’s the point?’ when things aren’t going well. And it’s hard to keep going when life on this earth doesn’t feel like it’s getting any better.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel – life in heaven. And we can keep going when we know that pain and suffering will end. We can keep going when we know that there will be justice, when we know, verse 12, that “the face of the Lord is against those who do evil”. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
PVRs – Personal Video Recorders – they’re brilliant, aren’t they? You can record any programme on any date, at any time, at the push of a button. And, you can pause live TV. How brilliant is that? You can pause a live football match whilst you pop to the loo, and simply carry on watching when you get back.
Quite often I go through pain and suffering when I watch Crystal Palace play football. Sometimes I think “what’s the point?” Wouldn’t it be brilliant if I could use a PVR to zip to the end of a live match and find out the result? But I can’t.
In 2005, Crystal Palace played Brighton. Brighton scored, then Crystal Palace scored. Brighton scored again, then Crystal Palace scored again. And in the fourth minute of injury time, the very, very last kick of the game, Crystal Palace scored again to win 3-2.
I could’ve endured the 93 minutes of heartache, pain and suffering, and embarrassingly rubbish play by Crystal Palace, if I’d known all along that they were going to win, if I’d seen that light at the end of the tunnel.
Well, as Christians, we’ve been zipped to the end, and we know the result. We know that we’ll be with Jesus in heaven, in paradise. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we can and should live our lives knowing that we have life in heaven as home to look forward to. We should, as Peter wrote in verse 11, “seek peace and pursue it”.