Embrace Life!

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I love reading the Bible in The Message translation to see God’s word with fresh eyes. I know a lot of people are pretty strict about what translation should be read, but I like reading a verse or set of verses in a few different translations to open up their richness and fullness.

This morning I went to look at 1 Peter 3, because I had written down the reference to 1 Peter 3:8-9 during a sermon a couple of weeks ago. I decided to use my electronic Bible and I had last been reading The Message version (YouVersion has a great online Bible/app which allows you to swap between translations, and it’s free).

I wound up reading many of the verses around those verses, because they were so beautiful. Here are verses 8a-22:

Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things.

If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

Is that as beautiful to you as it is to me? Can Christians not change the world for the better if they lived this way? And I think to truly live this way, we need to even practice in the secret places. In our homes where we feel safest to be who we are. Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. Driving in our cars. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. If we get it right in those places, just imagine how much brokenness in this world could be healed. Bless—that’s your job, to bless.

Now go, and embrace life and see the day fill up with good!

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