I don’t know how frequently these words are put together in scripture. As I was working my way through First Peter, I ran across those same words in proximity. I first saw them in I Peter 2:21. Here’s what it says:
For [as a believer] you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps.1 Peter 2:21
After reading those words, I felt that it was necessary to back up to see exactly what the example was for us. The context of this passage is that servants are to be submissive to their masters with proper respect, not just to those who are good and kind, but also to those who are unreasonable. Then verses 19 and 20 say,
For this finds favor if a person endures the sorrow of suffering unjustly because of an awareness of [the will of] God. After all, what kind of credit is there if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you endure it patiently? But if when you do what is right and patiently bear [undeserved] suffering, this find favor with God.1 Peter 2:19-20
The remainder of this chapter tells of Christ’s suffering on our behalf so that we can actually become immune from the penalty and power of sin and so that that we can live for righteousness because we (who believe) have been healed; Christ has brought us back to the Shepherd of our souls.
Moving along through chapter 3 with instructions to wives and to husbands about our behavior in relationship to one another, Peter, in verse 8, comes to instructions for believers to be in fellowship with one another:
Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit, and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse] but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection: (same phrase again) for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].1 Peter 3:8-9
Now, as I read this purpose and thought about the previous purpose a few verses back, I struggled a little with the idea of suffering and blessing being compatible. Those two principles don’t seem to go together at first glance. But we certainly see it in the life of Joseph in Exodus. We see suffering and blessing in the life of Christ. We see it in the life of Stephen in Acts.
Peter moves forward in this passage to give us more insight as he quotes from Psalm 34:12-16:
The one who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good – whether apparent or not], must keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from speaking guile (treachery, deceit). He must turn away from wickedness and do what is right. He must search for peace [with God, with self, with others] and pursue it eagerly [actively – not merely desiring it]. For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), and His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), but the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil.1 Peter 3:10-12
After this passage, Peter moves again to the idea of suffering. There’s a lot in this passage to consider. It is certainly worth thinking on!
Do you think God is interested in how we live our lives?