The Good Life: The Right Action
1 Peter 3:8-17 portrays the good life as consisting of three elements: the right attitude, the right action, and the right reaction. What is the right action?
Peter answers by citing Psalm 34:12-14: “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”
In this ancient Psalm, David gives a fourfold summary of the right action.
Control Your Tongue
Don’t allow it to blab evil or deceit. Controlling our tongues is a constant challenge. It begins by controlling our hearts. Jesus noted that false witness and slander come out of the heart (Matthew 15:19). He said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure that which is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil” (Matthew 12:34b-35).
Turn Away from Evil
The devil would have us believe that the good life is found in sin’s pleasures. Not so. Sin is deceitful. The good life requires turning away from it. And turning away is more than not doing. It is closing our minds to it, choosing instead to dwell on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). God’s word defines good and evil. Do not be deceived by confused men who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).
The good life is not merely one of abstinence; it requires positively doing good, as well. If we would get busier here, it would remove much of temptation’s opportunity to seduce us into wrong. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” is not a Bible proverb, yet it is nevertheless true! What good thing are you planning to do today?
Good living is more about relationships than things. “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 17:1). Peaceful relationships are not always possible since any relationship is a two-way street. But I must do what I can to make each one the best it can be. I need to behave as I should. I need to “hold up my end of the bargain.” I need to be patient. I need to be forgiving. I must be willing to repent when I have done wrong.
David went on to say that right living is not only the best approach, it also has God’s approval and therefore His active help. Are you living the good life?