10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” — 1 Peter 3:10-12 NIV
Somehow, somewhere, it seems that we have gotten the idea that it is not necessary for us to be careful of the words we speak and the tone of voice we use when we speak those words. Nothing could be further from the truth. When I become frustrated and/or angry, I hear myself speaking unkind words in a tone that I should not be using. I am always convicted of the words and the attitude that caused me to speak those careless words. Not always immediately, but the Holy Spirit does not leave me alone until I agree with Him and confess my sin. I am so grateful that God loves me enough to discipline me, no matter how long it takes. The passage of scripture quoted here in 1 Peter (oringinally from Psalm 34:12-16) reminds me that as a Christian, I should not be guilty of speaking words in that tone of voice. If I truly “love life” and want to “see good days”, I must “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech”. I must “seek peace and pursue it”, then God’s eyes will be on me and He will hear my prayers. If I continue to rebel against God with unkind words and a bad attitude, I have no basis to expect Him to do anything for me. God seems to be teaching me a lesson that “bad things happen to good people” sometimes because He disciplines His children. The obverse of this is that He doesn’t discipline those that are not His children, but they will receive the full brunt of His wrath in the fullness of time. Our part, then, is to remain obedient and faithful and He will do His part. As the Psalmist puts it:
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. — Psalm 37:8-11 NIV
This lesson was meant for me specifically. After some prayer and meditation, I felt that I should follow the advice given to us in James and ask for your prayers so that I can do better in the future.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. — James 5:16 NIV
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. – 2 Cor. 13:5-9
Each of us needs to make it a habit to go back over our actions of today to see if we have added any new sins. This is not for condemnation, it is for confession and forgiveness. Every day, we are tempted and tested. Since we are humans with fleshly desires, it is impossible for us to make it through a day without an impure or unkind thought of some kind. satan makes sure that we have plenty of opportunities. Since we have Christ Jesus dwelling in us, it is not possible for us to fail the test, but we will miss a few answers on the test. Those missed answers remind us that we are not and never will be perfect. But God has already taken care of those wrong answers by covering them with the blood of Jesus. When we see and confess the errors, they are immediately redacted from our record. God doesn’t keep score, the sins are all wiped away. All He sees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are weak and helpless but God is waiting to strengthen and restore us. Whatever happens, the end result is to glorify God. His grace is sufficient, His power is perfect.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Cor. 12:9, 10
As long as we remain in these tents of flesh, we will fail some of the time. But because all things are possible through and in Christ, we are not failures. We are conquerors and overcomers because His blood and His power perfect and protect us.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
— Romans 8:37