Today’s blog, written by Pastor Sam Lee of Catalyst Agape Church in New Jersey, was first posted on July 22, 2014.
Devotional Thought for Today
“The Weapon of Choice”
1 Peter 2:11-12
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Interestingly, Peter addresses his readers as “Dear friends,” putting himself in a position not only as their teacher but their friend; a friend who is genuinely concerned about their welfare concerning sin. He doesn’t want to just give impersonal techniques and programs to overcome sin, but his exhortation comes from a deep sense of care for them.
He reminds the believers that as “foreigners” in this world, we are called to be different from the world. Though the people of the world spend much energy to fulfill their sinful desires, not caring about the consequences or how much sin hurts others and themselves, for the believers, the sinful desires “wage war against your soul.” Peter reminds us that we can’t just blindly be dragged through the alleys by these desires; but rather, we need to take up arms and fight the good fight.
But how do we fight the battle? Not with the weapons of this world; we have a different kind of weapon. Whereas the enemy wants us to lose hope and become bitter when we are faced with sin, Peter tells us to do the opposite of what the devil tells us to do: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (v. 12). Or, as Paul puts it, “Do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). He reminds us that when good is done in the midst of evil, it’s like light shining brighter in the midst of darkness.
Prayer: No weapon forged against me will prevail. Lord, thank You that I will overcome in Christ. Though I walked in the valley of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 2
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Questions to Consider
- Many use guilt (condemnation) to motivate themselves to do better (live a holy life). Upon what basis can we root our faith (that is not guilt driven) so that we may live a holy life (Rom. 12:2)?
- This passage says, “We do not wage war as the world does.” What is one spiritual battle you are going through that you can apply this teaching? What would you do differently?
- Here, Paul is talking about the importance of a clear, biblical thinking that sees right through thoughts and beliefs that are detrimental to our faith. In Romans 12:2, the apostle talks about renewing of our mind, which leads to approving what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will. When we live accordingly, a holy life (separated from the worldly values) will be its outcome.
- When we have a problem with a person, the first thing we think of doing is to talk to that individual. This verse teaches us that we ought to pray before we speak to anyone. It is not just a problem between people; there may be a spiritual dimension that needs to be addressed. After praying, we may no longer feel the need to talk to that person, but instead keep on praying.
Pray for one person that seems to be dragging you down spiritually. How can you move in the opposite spirit of this person?