Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. 1 Peter 2:11-12
When I was in my 20s, I cussed like a sailor. (Apologies to non-cursing seafarers.) I didn’t know the Lord then, but I used His name and expletives interchangeably, mostly as exclamation points to my conversations.
After coming to Christ 12 years ago, the desire to speak that way left me. Unlike other flaws like selfishness, gossiping, lying to make myself look good, etc., letting go of cussing was easy and immediate.
Until about three weeks ago.
I was at a gathering of some neighbors who were playing a party game called “What Do You Meme?” The object is to make each round’s “judge” laugh with the funniest combination of caption card and photo card to create a humorous meme.
About 90% of the caption cards contained sexually suggestive phrases, profanity, or both. Uneasiness washed over me. But because I didn’t want to seem like a prude, I played along, offering up the most innocuous caption card in my hand whenever it was my turn.
Then came my turn to be the judge. Which meant I had to read all the other players’ caption cards. Out loud.
I confessed sheepishly: “Guys, I can’t seem to bring myself to say these words.” They stared at me, waiting for a sign that I was joking. When that didn’t happen, someone nonchalantly took the cards and read them for me.
Yes, I was embarrassed by the whole situation. If you’ve ever been in a similar scenario, remember that Peter tells us we are “temporary residents and foreigners” who are called to “live properly among [our] unbelieving neighbors.” Even though I am a recovering people-pleaser, I was in that moment able to do what I felt was right. After all, how can I “declare with [my] mouth that Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) and with that same mouth dishonor Him?
Jesus is Lord. Maybe because I’m a writer it was easier to give him authority over my speech. I still have a long way to go with letting Jesus rule over other worldly desires, like coveting material possessions and wanting to spend all my free time selfishly. I pray that you and I can have the courage to let go and let Jesus rule. After all, He only wants the best for us.
• Which worldly desires are waging war against your soul?
• What if you pre-decided (before you’re in the situation) not to engage them?
• Why is “honorable behavior” worth the risk of not fitting in with the crowd?
Dear Father in Heaven, You sent Your Son to be not only our Savior, but the Lord of our lives. Only Jesus can change me from the inside out. I need courage to live properly among unbelievers—and my believing friends—but You provide that courage! Help me to glorify You in everything I say and do, pointing those who do not know you to the only One who can save them. Amen.
PC3 writer Katy Davis wrote today’s devotional.