1 Peter 2: 11-12
We can be influencers even if we are being influenced from the wrong areas and guidelines. Our guidelines come from the character and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. If they come from any place else, our thinking is influenced, and thus, all we think and do becomes inclined toward the negative. Then, we become the carnal Christian who repels people from the Lord, giving the message that Christ is not sufficient or adequate.
We are on a journey in life. Basically, we are not made for this world; we are made for eternity. We are here on this earth to live and learn, to experience and grow so we can personally and passionately know Christ and make Him known to others. We do this best with our good character and virtue, seeking Him, so all that we are (as in our will, thinking, heart, and direction) is permeated by His care and call. This all comes down to how we are in this world and that all we do is to be glorifying to God. When we are lined up to this, then our conduct is honoring to God and others.
We are called to be careful how we live. People will be watching us wherever we go; how we are, and what we are will be scrutinized. Therefore, we must strive to do our best, so our Lord is represented with excellence through us. Even if we never do wrong, we may be accused of wrong. However, character always triumphs because it convicts those who do not have it. They will see Christ through us, but we have to remain firm in our trust and obedience in Him. Others have the option to believe in Christ, but the key may be in how you remain faithful to Him as His witness!
· Conduct. A modern reflection in this context is "traditional family values." We are to act nobly to others in spite of how they may treat us. We must work out a biblical character balance between exhibiting holiness and setting boundaries from potential harm. In Peter's time, Christians were accused of being cannibals because of the Lord's Supper, of being disloyal and atheists because they did not worship Caesar (John 19:12), of causing civil unrest (Acts 16:16-24), of being hateful because they did not participate in pagan practices (Col. 2:16), of teaching that slaves are free (1 Cor. 13:13; Gal. 3:30), and of being antisocial (Acts 15:29).
· Gentiles normally refers to anyone who is not born in or converted to Judaism. Here, it is referring to those who are anti-Jewish or anti-Christian who use their agenda to slander and manipulate those who are in God. It means when we make a commitment to Christ, people will come against us either because they do not understand or they refuse to know or be convicted, and we become a threat to their complacency and smugness.
· They observe/see your good deeds refers to people who are "carefully watching" what we do over a period of time to determine whether it is good (Matt. 5:16). This is about our influence on the unbeliever!
· Day of visitation/the day He visits us refers to God's coming in judgment (Isa. 10:3; 60:3). This phrase can also mean when God "visits" someone and gives him or her salvation. Here, it means that when the end times occur, the Gentiles will finally recognize God's sovereignty. Some commentators have stated that this means the return of Christ. Perhaps so, but this is problematic because of context and the quotes from Isaiah.
We are called to have lifestyle, character, outlook on life, and behavior that is about living honorably! Who and how we are make up the things we bring with us into eternity that will echo and resound, so let our actions be worthy of His praise. In this way, we can be the windows through which people can see Christ.
The attitude in this passage is like that of a missionary who studies a culture and then lives among those people. His or her job is to learn and to model Christ, but he or she is never an active part of or consumed by the culture. He or she is to be active in representing Christ and the virtues He proclaims as ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). The call is to remain in Christ and in His percepts and virtue, and not become contaminated by what the world offers us. What may seem good may be misleading and will cause us to rot physically by disdain and disease, erode our mind with dysfunction and false thinking, and then eat away our soul spiritually.
As we are the mirrors of Christ, He is seen by who we are. When we stand up for the faith and act in good character, people will come against us with gossip and slander because their plans become disrupted and their desires are found guilty. But, when we remain faithful, regardless of the circumstances, they will see virtue and honor in action and, thus, have a glimpse in God's character and call even if they reject Him and seek to kill us. There will be times when it seems our efforts are weighted because people do not listen or do not repent. But, they are not. Each action we share is looked upon by others. We are watched! So, when we live to honor God, people will have the example they need to accept His grace or reject Him. We may never see the fruits, but they are there. We have a God who will judge and return, so let us get busy and make sure all those who come across our path see Him in us!
1. What are some of the things that distract you from loving and worshiping our Lord?
2. What are some of the things that cause you or others oppression or enticement?
3. What happens when we are the ones being influenced from the ways and evils of the world?
4. How do they entice you and lead you away from His loving and best plan for you?
5. What does it mean that we are here on this earth to live and learn, to experience and grow?
6. How can a good mindset help you personally and passionately to know Christ more so others can see Christ exhibited in us?
7. What does it mean to act nobly to others? How can we do this in spite of how they may treat us?
8. What can you do to work out a biblical character balance between exhibiting holiness and setting boundaries from potential harm?
9. What does it mean to your self-esteem that Christ says you are His friend, that you are dear, cherished, and fully and deeply loved by Him?
10. How can this help your outlook to the church, community, and people who are close to you?
Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Psalm 119:1
© 2005, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org