Endure Part 5
“Defeating yourself to value others”
Value: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I urge you as exiles and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage [war against the soul.] 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, (conduct) as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Peter now begins to establish the mission for every believer that desires to endure. 1. Winning the conflict that is inside them. 2. Allow self-control to let their behavior do the talking.
“…abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles…”
Peter starts with these words in verse 11; “Beloved, I urge you as exiles and strangers…”
We are strangers and exiles because we are God’s people, there’s a war going on (A war against our soul); there wouldn’t be any battle with sin if we still lived under the dominion of sin. As strangers and exiles we have been set free from sin!
Romans 6:6-7 “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.”
The first issue Peter addresses is the human soul in danger of being destroyed. Peter says that a war is being waged against our soul; if this war is successful, the soul is lost.
Jesus said, "What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul? For what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26)
If the soul is lost, the whole person is lost, and there is no way to negotiate to get it back. When this war against the soul is over, it's over. Verse 11 says that it is “fleshly lusts” [or desires] that wage war against the soul.
The soul consists of our mind, will, and emotions – the arenas of thought, determination, and feelings.
When we fail to abstain from fleshly lusts (desires) strongholds develop that control, dictate, and influence our [attitudes] which determines behavior. (Behavior develops habits) We cannot add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. There cannot be a change in belief without a change in behavior. Behavior is how any individual will show what they believe.
Peter’s first focus is on desires then he turns his attention to the conflict of the outward action. (Behavior)
“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles…”
If we are going to endure, we will need to first win the conflict that is within. Peter in chapter 1:14–15 says "Don't conform to the desires of your former ignorance, but . . . be holy in all your conduct."
Excellent conduct and behavior will only come from right desires. Behavior (Not words) is what will have the greatest impact on people; what you project they will reflect! God is best seen in the “excellent” behavior of His children. I believe people would rather see a good sermon than hear one!
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We need to have self-control; allowing our behavior to benefit those around us.
Julian the Emperor of Rome in 361 A.D. gave this statement about the Christians of his time.
“It is disgraceful that while these impious Christians support both their own poor and our as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”
These believers were a counter culture to the norm of this time; their work (conduct/behavior) matched their words. In the last 30 years Christianity in America has had more recourses than ever; our own educational systems, music, entertainment, and internet presences, etc. Yet America is fleeing the gospel in great numbers; our culture is moving away from the scripture, and they are not interested in anything we have to say.
Victory in the conflict on the outside is dependent upon victory on the inside. The truth of His word cannot be powerful through me if they are not first in me. How are we to persuade people to follow Jesus if we are not following Him ourselves! How can I tell others that Christ will change their life if it has not changed mine!
“… so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them…”
Even though people act like they are not listening, they are always watching. They need to watch us be the Church, even if they never go to church. Every part of our lives should be lived with a mission; we are to behave as believers so a broken and lost world may see Christ and Glorify the Father.
“… abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”