In this week’s Bible Study we are talking about always doing good, knowing your hope, and allowing God to be God.
Read 1 Peter 3
Reflect on this passage (1 Peter 3:13-16 ESV)
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
After reading this passage in context, jot down some of your initial thoughts.
There are a couple of things in these verses that stick out, that I would like to flesh out a little bit more.
Do Good Always
In the verses before vs.13, Peter explains what it means to do good. And by doing good Peter say’s “who is there to harm you?” If we took that verse out of the context of the scripture around it, this would make an excellent verse to build a church around. “Do good and bad things will stay away,” but we need to move to vs.14 and it starts off with a “but”. Peter say’s “but even if you should suffer.”
Question: Why would someone hurt you for doing good? Have you ever been hurt for doing the right thing?
I can’t tell you why good people get hurt. There could be a variety of reasons, but I can say this, “Do good always.” Regardless if you get mocked at work. Do good. Regardless if you are getting pressured by today’s society. Do good. No matter what happens today, tomorrow or years down the road. Do good.
Know Your Hope
Vs.15 is that verse that terrified me for many years. I came across it close to the beginning of my spiritual pilgrimage, and I felt that I didn’t know enough about God to be confident in my faith. So I went to a Christian college, learned theology, apologetics, greek, hebrew, spiritual formation, discipleship and I still wasn’t confident. Then a few years back, as I was writing a lesson for youth group, I realized something profound. Peter isn’t talk about knowing God fully to defend the faith. Peter is talking about knowing why you have faith. I don’t know every type of theology out there; I can’t debate the nuances of apologetics. But I can tell you why I believe what I believe. I can tell you why I believe that Jesus lived, died and rose from the grave.
You will never know everything about God and you will encounter people who have a deeper knowledge about Christianity than you. But, If you know why you believe, then you can silence those people who will question your faith.
Little Extra: Think back to the day you started to truly believe in Jesus. Jot down the reasons why you started believing.
Allow God To Be God
Peter then goes on to vs.16 and say’s “God will put them to shame.” Christians are the worst at getting upset for any reason. Outsiders, look at Christians and think “they need to cool down”. Christians get upset over everything. From theology to politics, to what my children watch at home.
If you are one of those Christians who get easily offended, I would say “grow up” but that wouldn’t fix the problem. Instead, take Peter’s reply to the Christians (WHO WERE BEING KILLED FOR THEIR FAITH) which say’s “God will put them to shame.” Or “God will judge them.” There is no if’s, and’s and but’s about it. The day will come when those who defile God, will have to face God’s judgement. Don’t be overly sensitive, allow the worldly to look stupid for their over sensitivity. Be different, and when you feel God is being disrespected, don’t protect God. God doesn’t need to be protected; He is our refuge. We are not His. Allow God To Be God.
One of the things that worries me most is having my child in the world. Will they be treated fairly? Will they be bullied or harassed? What if there is a dangerous person who wants to harm them? Those uncertainties can make any parent stay awake at night.
So, what I can do right now? I can prepare them to be good, to know Jesus, and not to get upset over trivial things.
Question: How can you teach those things to your children?