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Do You Want to have a Good Life?

"He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it" (1 Peter 3:10,11). This is a quotation from Psalm 34: "Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (verses 12-14).

Most people want to have a good life. But many do not understand that a good life results from what we do and not from what we possess or what happens to us. Here we are told three things to do if we want to have a good life.

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.

How can we have a good life if we speak evil? There are different ways to speak evil, all of which must be avoided if we want to love life and see good days.

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).

"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren" (James 4:11). "Speak evil of no one" (Titus 3:2).

Thus we may not be gossips. A gossip is a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts, someone who enjoys telling negative things about other people. Paul said of certain women: "And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not" (1 Timothy 5:13).

"You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people" (Leviticus 19:16). A talebearer is one who spreads malicious stories or rumors. "A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter" (Proverbs 11:13). "Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases" (Proverbs 26:20).

"Do not speak with a stiff neck" (Psalm 75:5). This means that we are not to speak stubbornly and arrogantly.

"But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another" (Colossians 3:8,9).

To love life and see good days, we must be careful what we say. "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19). "Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool's voice is known by his many words" (Ecclesiastes 5:2,3).

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6).

"He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile" (1 Peter 3:10).

Depart from evil and do good.

How can we have a good life if we do evil? We are all confronted with evil, in the world and in our own hearts. Job "was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1). To shun is to avoid and stay away from deliberately.

"Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on" (Proverbs 4:14,15).

Yet, to have a good life, it is not enough just to avoid evil, we must also do good! "Trust in the Lord, and do good" (Psalm 37:3). "Cease to do evil, learn to do good" (Isaiah 1:16,17).

"Do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27). "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). "But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Hebrews 13:16).

"He who would love life and see good days, ... let him turn away from evil and do good" (1 Peter 3:11).

Seek peace and pursue it.

These things are related. Only if we refrain from speaking evil, turn away from evil and do good, can we find peace. " 'There is no peace,' says the LORD, 'for the wicked' " (Isaiah 48:22).

To find peace we need help from Christ, for He is the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). He came " to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:79).

Our sins prevent us from having peace with God. Thus only through the sacrifice of Christ can we find peace: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

'Jerusalem' means 'City of Peace'. How much peace can be found in earthly Jerusalem? The Jews practice, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." The Muslims follow the Koran which says, "An eye for an eye and a nose for a nose." And between them there is no peace, only conflict and reciprocal retaliation.

Peace comes only from the teaching of the Prince of Peace: "Love your enemies." Peace is found only in heavenly Jerusalem: "Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:2,3). " 'For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, 'who has mercy on you' " (Isaiah 54:10 -- Compare Isaiah 54:1-13 with Galatians 4:21-27).

Christ came to bring God's covenant of peace: "My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore" (Ezekiel 37:25,26).

Before He returned to His Father, Jesus said to His followers: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace" (John 16:33).

"The kingdom of God is ... righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace" (Romans 14:19). "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15). "Be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11). "Be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:13). "Pursue peace with all men" (Hebrews 12:14). "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7). "Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way" (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Do you want to have a good life?

"He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it" (1 Peter 3:10,11).

Roy Davison


Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)