“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” – 1 Peter 2:12
My oldest nephew, Evan, is now 23. Evan was an extremely talented hurdler in high school. I remember spending countless Saturday morning hours with Evan at the local high school track so that he could prepare for track practice and meets. I never missed a track meet until I moved away to graduate school in Waco, TX. Luckily, during my first year in school Evan happened to have a high school track meet, a state meet I suppose, in Waco.
Evan was a shoe-in to win in the 400m hurdles and he was a sight to watch. He kept the lead even after rounding the last corner but, right before the race was complete, he tripped and fell. It was a painful defeat because this was his last high school race. I just wanted to scoop him up and give him a big hug. I watched Evan get up, brush his knees and walk around with his hands on hips catching his breath, looking up from time to time. He never cursed. He never slammed his fists on the blacktop and when I finally got to hug him he wiped his tears and said, “It’s ok. It’s just a race,” and that was that. I learned so much from watching him. All eyes were on my nephew, my sweet kid who was experiencing painful defeat and embarrassment and his behavior was excellent.
Our relationship with Jesus is personal but we live it out in public view; we are accountable not only for what we say but for our actions. Our journey of sanctification has communal consequences. The unbeliever will come to know God because our excellent loving behavior, not just because of our words. What an honorable position God has given us! Christ has set us free from sin but we are still bound to him.
The world is watching you so give them a show. I Peter chapters 3-4 tell us that the Gentiles are surprised when we don’t join them in “living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness and lawless idolatry”. In humility, silence those who want to speak ill of our Lord and Savior because of the love, mercy and gentleness that you walk in when hatred and opposition surround you. Be mindful of the comments you leave on Facebook. Glorify Jesus at work by praying for cruel bosses and rude customers. Be mindful of what you watch or listen to “just for entertainment”. Think of Christ. Speak his words. Honor him in your deeds and the world may come to know Him as their Savior.
Discussion Question: We often have a hard time being in this world but not of it. How can we, as Christians, keep our behavior excellent without standing as judge and juror before others who do not have a relationship with Christ?
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