Do you want to live long and have a good life? As Christians we have a hope of eternal life with Jesus and God the Father. But still we cling to this life because it is what we have and what we know. While here, it is natural to make our lives reasonably pleasant; we don’t intentionally want to make our lives difficult or short. The apostle Peter quoted Psalm 34:12-16 in giving us a prescription for what we should do to have a good life. 1 Peter 3:10-12 “For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him 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. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’” Let us analyze what Peter and the psalmist prescribed for a good life on this earth.
“Let him refrain his tongue from evil.” The first element of the prescription is to watch your tongue. You can spew out evil, hateful words, curses, and vulgar language. You can gossip, slander, and speak evil of your fellow Christian, neighbor or those in authority. Such a way of living will bring great trouble in your life and all those you come in contact with. James 3:5-6 “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” If you go about speaking evil, you will set fires everywhere you go. There will be no peace. On the other hand, you can refrain your tongue from evil. Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” A gracious tongue is a big step towards having peace and goodness in your life.
“Let him refrain … his lips from speaking deceit.” The second element of the prescription is to stop speaking deceitfully. Deceit is to cause someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. It is being dishonest. It is telling lies. It is being hypocritical. If you deceive others or tell lies, you only bring trouble into your life. When the truth is discovered, you lose the respect and trust of others. Always speaking the truth leads to a good life.
“Let him turn away from evil and do good.” Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Each of these evil actions results in bad consequences. Life is not good and your days are unpleasant when actions of evil abound. God is opposed to these actions, not because he wants to deprive you, but because evilness does not lead to a good life and God wants what is good for you. Instead, when you are righteous, when you do good works towards others, when your life is filled with love, then life is good.
“Let him seek peace and pursue it.” The opposite of peace is strife. If you want to love life and see good days, you don’t want strife. To avoid strife, you have to make an effort to pursue peace. Rather than insisting on your way, in humility submit to the will of others. Learn to take it when someone does wrong to you and do not return evil for evil or take vengeance. Be a peacemaker. Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.” What a wonderful assurance this gives! When you are a righteous Christian, God has His eyes on you. That means He is looking after you. He will give you strength (Philippians 4:13); He will give you direction (Rom 8:14); He will give His blessings. That doesn’t mean you have no trials in your life, but it means that the God of the universe is on your side. You want to love life and see good days? Have God on your side. “And His ears are open to their prayers.” He is listening to all of your prayers. That doesn’t mean that He gives you everything you ask for, when you ask for it. But we know that God promises to give good things to His righteous people who ask Him (Matthew 7:11).
There is no assurance that God will listen to a sinner’s prayer. We only know that He listens to the prayers of the righteous. “But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” That means that He opposes those who do evil. What actions He chooses to use against those who do evil is up to Him. We can be assured that those who do evil will not see good days when God has His face against them.
Since I assume you want to love life and see good days, my encouragement to you is taken from what the apostle Peter wrote. Refrain your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.