Yesterday we talked about true wisdom; wisdom that comes from heaven. According to James it is "first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere." (James 3:17)
Take a moment to think about that list and hold it up as a mirror to let God examine your life. Is that the kind of wisdom you have? Are these the things people see when they look at you?
Peter talks about some of these things in the second part of I Peter 3.
(Read I Peter 3:8-22)
Now let me say right up front that I am not interested in dealing here with the mysteries found in verses 19-21. I don't know who the spirits in prison are, and I understand the remarks about Noah to be more focused on baptism as the pledge of salvation whereas Jesus' resurrection (including his life and death) are the source of our salvation.
No what I would like to talk about is the other stuff we often skip over because we are curious to solve mysteries and demonstrate our knowledge. The Bible says, "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up".
(I Corinthians 8:1) So I would like to explore the other parts of this chapter so that we can meditate on our common call to love.
In verses 8-9, we see a nice parallel to the things James says in the second part of chapter 3 about wisdom that comes from heaven (see quote above).
When we hold up God's word as a mirror here, do we see these characteristics evident in us? Do we live in harmony with one another, are we sympathetic, do we love as brothers, are we compassionate and humble? Use the mirror. Hold it up, and let God examine your life.
Similarly, we read the quote from Psalm 34 (I Peter 3:10-12), and we see here more challenges and calls to a greater love.
Do we keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech? Do we turn from evil to do good? Do we seek peace and pursue it?
According to the psalmist these are some of what defines "righteousness" in God's eyes. So is that what we see in ourselves? Is that what others see?
Remember the mirror is to be held up so that we look back at ourselves. We are not using this standard to judge anyone else. This is the standard by which we are standing before God as those who now reside in Christ, and asking Him to show us any offensive ways so that we can be lead in the way everlasting.
What do you think? Is this idea missing in the church today? What would happen if we were to focus on cultivating our character rather than seeking to demonstrate our knowledge concerning the mysteries of God's word? Think on what it means that "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up", and we will examine that text more next week.