We have been
reminded from I Peter 3:8-22 that one’s beliefs will affect our
behavior. We have studied that a proper behavior in our
relationship will be affected by suffering. Let us study verses
14-17 which give us thoughts on our behavior ‘In Our Relationship
To Self’. This text says,
if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not
afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord
God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every
man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with
meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they
speak of you, as evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse
your good conversation in Christ. For it is better if the will of
God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”
As we study our
relationship to self we are confronted in verse 14 with ‘The
State Of Our Self’. Let us be assured the Bible teaches nothing
about a positive mental attitude or thinking good about one’s self.
This is something the lost of this world can do. We speak of a much
higher realm when Peter speaks of suffering for righteousness sake,
we will find ourselves happy. The word ‘happy’ means
supremely blessed, over fortunate, and well off. Only the righteous
mind of Christ produces this behavior when self is suffering. This
righteous behavior will cause us to reject fear and trouble in our
heart. The word ‘trouble’ means to be disturbed or
agitated. We will find the behavior of self to be in His easy yoke
and carrying His light burden. How can one reach this state?
In verse 15a
this behavior is only produced through the ‘Sanctifying Of Self’.
The text tells us to set apart the Lord God in our heart. The heart
can only be given over to the Lord by our personal and public
contact with the Word of God. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify
them through thy truth: thy Word is truth.”
behavior can also be produced by a ‘Shrinkage Of Self’. We
are told to be ready to give an answer for the hope in us. The word
‘answer’ speaks of a trial lawyer giving a defense motion.
We are to do it with ‘meekness’ and ‘fear’. These two
words speak of a distrust of self. They have the idea of oppressing
high mindedness. In order to distrust self, verse 16 tells us to
have a ‘good conscience’. It is a conscience that is void of
offence toward God and man. This kind of conscience will cause the
world to blush with confusion when they falsely accuse us of
wrongdoing. Let us not put any confidence in the arm of the flesh.
thought in a proper behavior involves ‘The Sovereign Over Self’.
In verse 17 we find these words, “For it is better, if the will
of God be…” There is so much talk today about man’s free will of
choice. Let us be assured our free will has never taken us to God,
only away from God. The natural man who embodies the free will ‘receiveth
not the things of God’. Let us rest sweetly in the control of
His sovereign will even if it means putting self down by suffering
for well doing.
Oh, how many
countless millions have given their lives to be burned because of
righteous living. Let us not think we will sail on beds of ease
while others sail through bloody seas.