In this passage, You map out how You desire me to live within the Body of Christ, within the world, and within the heart. (See v. 1-7 for “within the home” also.)
WITHIN THE BODY (v 8-12)
~Live in harmony with one another (v 8 NIV); be agreeable (MSG)
~Love as brothers (NIV); be loving (MSG)
~No retaliation (MSG)
~“BLESS — that’s your job, to bless
~“Say nothing evil or hurtful
~“Snub evil and cultivate good
~“Run after peace for all you’re worth” (MSG)
‘Sounds like a father gathering all his kids and saying, “Just get along. Do whatever it takes to get along with one another and to genuinely love one another.”
Create in me, Daddy, an attitude toward my spiritual siblings that reflects Your heart. Help me to love no matter what occurs, no matter how I’m treated, no matter who it is. That kind of stuff comes ONLY as I daily surrender my will to Yours. So, here I am again, waving a white flag from my heart and offering to You the throne of my heart.
WITHIN THE WORLD
“…in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (v 15-16 NIV)
“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.” (v 15-16 MSG)
There’s a friend of mine who often says, “Your walk talks and your talk talks; but does your walk talk what your talk talks?” Setting You, Jesus, apart as Lord in my life doesn’t begin with my “talk.” It begins in my heart and mind, a conscious act of my will being brought under submission to Your will. That submission then affects my talk and my walk, so that what is both heard and seen when others observe my life shows up in alignment with Your Word and Your ways.
Prepare me for those encounters in which someone actually may ask me why I’m living the way I am or why I have the hope or assurance I have in You. Make that visible in my life and make me ready.
WITHIN THE HEART
“Christ also suffered when He died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners that He might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
“…God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only 8 people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you by the power of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Baptism is not a removal of dirt from your body; it is an appeal to God from a clean conscience.” (v 18-21 NLT)
How fantastic to think that Your awesome power that raised Your Son from the dead can take a simple element like water and use it as a key ingredient in the process You employ for saving our souls! When I stepped into the baptismal waters (well over three decades ago!) I didn’t take a bar of soap with me, nor was there a scrub brush. It wasn’t about washing away dirt from my skin. Rather, YOU used Your Holy Spirit brand soap to clean up my heart, leaving the old scum and muck behind in the water. You raised me up and out to walk in a new way, with a new set of clothes. Thanks for the wardrobe You provide as I dress for each day, anticipating Your work in me to make me just like Jesus. Amen.