How many of us desire to love life and see good days? My guess is it is all of us. Only the jaded have abandoned this hope. This desire for the good life may seem like something from the self-help section, but it is directly from scripture. Peter addresses it in his first epistle.
Peter is teaching us how to live as Christians, even amid persecution from a culture hostile to Christ. He tells us we should have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8). We do not often make this list part of our Scripture memorization as we do with the beatitudes or the fruit of the Spirit. Still, this list is just as valuable as the others. We are to bless rather than revile even when others are hostile to us for following Jesus. And we cannot bless if we do not have the characteristics he lists.
In a similar fashion to the wisdom literature, Peter then reminds us that if we bless instead of revile, we will obtain a blessing ourselves (1 Peter 3:9). He then quotes Psalm 34:12-14 which starts by addressing a specific group of people, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days (ESV).” If this is us, we should pay attention to what comes next.
The psalmist first tells us to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking deceit (1 Peter 3:10). I believe this forbids everything from foul language to sharing memes that communicate half-truths. Still, it is primarily saying we should be people of the truth—not only in sincerity, but our words should correspond to the Word of God. This command to speak the truth is the first step to loving life.
The second step is to turn away from evil—to seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11). First, we must watch what we say. Second, we are to watch how we act. We cannot bless people if we lie, cheat, steal, or engage in sexual immorality. Love is the fulfillment of the law. We should seek peace with God and others. The psalmist then shows us why this is tied to the good life.
We should do as he has said, “for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous (1 Peter 3:12).” Here is where the blessing comes in. Here is where the psalmist tells us what good days are all about. It is to have the Lord’s eyes on us—to have him care for us. It means he is watching over us, but that is not all. His ears are also open to our prayers.
To be considered righteous, we must trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and his atoning work on the cross. Only through faith in Christ can our sins be washed clean and we be declared righteous, for we have all fallen short. Only from this foundation can we become people of the truth and turn away from evil. It is the only way we can seek peace and pursue it. It is the only way the eyes of the Lord can be upon us like a Father caring for his child.
Scripture tells us the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth to be strong on behalf of those who are devoted to him (2 Chronicles 16:9). Those who trust in him not only for salvation but also for their daily needs will call out to him in prayer. This penchant for praying is why the prayers of the righteous man availeth much. It is how we devote ourselves to him and trust him in times of need. Answering our prayers is often how he shows himself strong on our behalf.
I desire to live in this blessed state, and if you are a believer, I assume you do as well. This close walk with the Lord does not mean that our lives will be easy or that no hardships will come our way. Remember, Peter was writing this to people facing persecution, and he was not promising that it would go away. However, it does mean the Lord will be with us as we walk through all of life’s troubles, and he will give us the strength we need. He will also hear us when we call to him, and regardless of how hard life may be, that is a life I can love, and those are days I can call good.
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