The Way - Day 176 (1 Peter 3)

Daily Reading:
1 Peter 3
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
1 Peter 3:15 is a declaration.  Read it out loud.  These instructions are for everyone.  Share your successes or failures here.  What would you do differently now?  And if no one has successes or failure, talk about how to put ourselves in a position to make a defense to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that is in you!
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 84:10
OPTION 2: Proverbs 21:15
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:29-30
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 1 Peter 3 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
1 Peter 2:11-3:7
Peter takes a large portion of his letter to address proper behavior in order to be an example to the unbelieving. In this section Peter specifically focuses on the subject of relationships in several areas: relationship with the world (2:11-12), relationship with government (2:13-17), relationship with your employer (2:18-25), and the relationship between husbands and wives (3:1-7). In essence, Peter was saying that a person's relationships in these areas will either help or hinder an individuals witness before others. First, let's look into our relationship with the world. Peter does remind them that the world is a temporary home for those who have faith in Christ. He calls them "sojourners and pilgrims" (2:11). The instruction is very simple here - practice good behavior so the unbelieving will see your life and their attention will be turned to God's life changing power (2:12). Secondly, Peter commands his readers to "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake...for this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men..." (2:13-15). Submitting to government carries the idea of willingly placing yourself under their authority. Although government does not always make the right decisions, Christians have a responsibility to obey the authority placed over us. Next, Peter examines the relationship between and employee and his or her employer. In a day when people complain about their boss and slack off at the workplace, Peter challenges followers of Christ to act differently. Whether a boss is good or bad, Peter advises the Christian to endure it and remember the suffering Jesus Christ experienced, even though he was innocent. Fairness is not always characteristic in the workplace so a believer should be prepared to be treated wrongly. Instead of rebelling against your employer, have faith that God will provide the grace which will sustain you through trying times. The last relationship about which Peter writes is the connection between a man and wife. It seems in keeping with the other relationships Peter has addressed, the husband in this marriage is not a follower of Christ (3:1). The wife is commanded to be submissive (willingly place herself under the authority of the man) and remember that "without a word" the husband "may be won by the conduct of their wives when they observe your chaste [purity] conduct accompanied by fear [of God]" (3:2). Peter then urges the wives not to just give attention to the outward appearance, but also the attitude of the heart, which is true beauty (3:3-6). In no way is Peter saying that the husband is superior to or more valuable than the wife, but he is reminding them that God has placed man as the authority over the home. This is God's design. However, Peter quickly turns to the Christian husbands and gives them some important instruction about his relationship with his wife. "Husbands...dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel...that your prayers may not be hindered" (3:7). Although the husband is not called to submit to the authority of his wife, he is commanded to submit himself to her needs and feelings. A husband must make it a priority to understand his wife. When Peter refers to the wife as a "weaker vessel" he is not implying she is less important, but that she is in need of her husband's protection. All of the relationship Peter has mentioned are imperative for the believer to conduct with holiness and submission. The way a follower of Christ handles their relationships has a direct influence on how others view God. How are your relationships?

1 Peter 3:8-22
Having been the main theme throughout his writing, Peter again challenges his readers to continue living out their faith even though they were suffering resistance from the culture. Christians are usually persecuted for two reasons: being distinct from the culture and proclaiming Jesus as the only way to God. Since believers now lived their lives according to God's ways they no longer participated in the carnality of the culture. Those outside the church probably wondered why their ways were no longer good enough for those with new found faith in Christ. Also, this new faith in Christ naturally caused them to stand against the worship of false gods and those around them did not like this. Instead of inciting a rebellion amongst Christians against the culture, Peter advised them to let their lives speak louder than their words. For this reason he writes "be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary life...refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it" (3:8-11). What would following this code of conduct do? "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers..." (3:12). God listens to those who follow His ways. Peter goes on to remind them that good conduct rarely is returned with evil (3:13), but even if it was they should not be fearful (3:14). Instead of fearing, followers of Christ should always be prepared to explain the reason for the hope inside of them, which is Christ (3:15-17). The salvation from sin and hope of eternal life provided Christians with the patience to suffer wrongdoing on this earth. Peter reminded his readers that even Christ had suffered for doing right, but what others meant for evil brought good (3:18-22). Maybe you are experiencing persecution at the hands of those who do not understand your faith in Jesus Christ. Be strong and faithfully live out God's ways remembering that this life is only temporary. There is hope for you beyond the struggles of this life!

Dear God, help me to be faithful in obeying Your ways even when things are not going well. May I see beyond the "now" in order to see the hope You have in store for those who love You.