Summary: God wants to change how you feel. God wants to change what you desire. God wants to change how you work. God wants to change how you act. God wants to change how you love.
Today, I am praying for two families with rebellious children. Children who are now adults and addicted to drugs. These families need hope. I am praying for Breenan, a little preemie baby at a Little Rock hospital. Breenan was born seven weeks too early. I am praying for young newlywed husband whose wife told him this past week that she wants a divorce. I don’t know his name but he is hurting and he needs hope. I am praying for a couple in our church who postponed their vacation plans to be with their family member who has been hospitalized for depression. This family is under a tremendous burden and needs hope. I am praying also for Ed who has stage four cancer. He doesn’t attend our church but a co-worker does and has asked us to pray for him. They need hope.
Today, I want to point you How to Give God’s Best to Others.
“Finally, 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 reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;?let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.?For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:8-12).
1. Follow the Prescribed Sequence
God wants to change your life. God wants to change your relationship with Him from one of alienation and hostility to… to one of love and reconciliation. God wants to change how you think. God wants to change how you feel. God wants to change what you desire. God wants to change how you work. God wants to change how you act. God wants to change how you love. God is all about changing His children. He delights in changing those who have addiction and bondage into those who in the incredible joy of freedom. He delights in changing marriages that are shattered and filled with suspicion into relationships that are filled with intimacy and trust. He delights in changing self-centered souls into God-centered souls. He delights in taking wounded people and healing them… He delights in taking broken people and mending them… He delights in taking guilty people and forgiving them… He delights in taking cynical people and giving them faith. And depressed people and giving them hope.
He is all about change. But never change as end in itself. The change is always aimed at changing us into the image of His Son: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:13-16). “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).
Verses 13-16 in this letter mark the first time Peter tells us what to do. What Peter has been doing since 2:13 is to give special words of guidance and teaching and encouragement to various groups of Christians in the churches of Asia Minor. In 2:13–17 he addressed Christians as citizens and told us how to relate to those in authority. In 2:18–25 he spoke to servants and told them how to relate to their masters. In 3:1–6 he spoke to Christian wives of unbelievers and showed them a way toward winning their husbands. And in 3:7 he spoke to husbands about living wisely and considerately with their wives. Yet, before any of these commands, Peter begins this letter by concentrating only on what God has done for us. The first twelve verses contain none of these commands. You must understand this sequence. Because it reflects the very heart of what Christianity is all about. Christianity is first about what God has done and then… and only then is Christianity about what we do.
Behavior Always Follows Grace. Here’s the sequence in 1 Peter. It is because we are His chosen people in verse one …It is because of … “…his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3) that we obey. Don’t ever reverse the order. If you do then you will find yourself in legalism. Everything you are called to do and to be is rooted in these first twelve verses.