Are you a person that dodges their physicals? After all, “It’s going to the doctor that’s the problem, that’s when everything goes wrong.” While going to a physical can leave us with bad news they also can be helpful and maybe even life saving.
Tonight I want to approach this passage tonight as a spiritual physical. Tonight as we spend time in the word and at the Lord’s table the great Physician Jesus and His Spirit will examine us.
Tonight this physic consists of a check of our mind, heart, reflexes and our mouth and tongue. After our check up we are given some great advice and an amazing prescription to help us live a spiritually healthy Christian life which verse 10 describes as, “loving life and seeing good days.”
As we work through this spiritual physical we will learn two things.
1. The status of our spiritual health.
2. Practical advice to maintain a healthy spiritual life.
Let’s begin our checkup tonight, in verses 8-9 by looking at the status of our spiritual health. As we work through these two verses we will go phrase by phrase with the Great Physician and He checks us.
The first the Lord looks at our minds at the beginning of verse 8.
8a Finally, all of you be of one mind…
Finally does not mean that Peter is done with his epistle. Nor is Peter like one of those Bible teachers who says he is closing and then 45 minutes later he concludes.
Finally refers to back to Peter’s theme of Christian conduct that began in chapter 2. Peter since the beginning of chapter 2 has taught us Pilgrim’s how we are to conduct ourselves in this world. We have seen that we are to walk in holiness and submission so we can be a witness and a worshipper.
Peter before he turns his attention to suffering in the world for righteousness sake which begins in 13 gives us one last thing to think about concerning our Christian conduct.
The focus of Peter in these verses is our relationship with other believers the body of Christ.
Concerning our relationship with others Peter points to our minds, he says, All of you be of one mind. The word, “of one mind” in Greek I’m told implies a deep unity of thought and feelings. The thoughts and feelings that we are to share are expressed in this verse.
For now we can say that the unhealthy spiritual mind is the one that forgets God’s commands by not applying them. James spoke of this man when he talked about the person who looks at himself in the mirror and then forgets what he looks like.
James also spoke of another spiritual mental condition of having divided or double mind concerning the things of God. James gives the assessment of this man and says this man is unstable in all his ways.
God tests the mind, the place where God wants our minds spiritually is focused on Him and conceded for the needs of others.
Second in the rest of verse 8 the Lord looks at our heart.
8B. having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
The first check of our heart has to do with our compassion. The word compassion can also be translated sympathy means to suffer with. Sympathy implies a closeness of sharing one another’s burdens and blessings.
Paul in Romans 12:15 and 1 Corinthians 12:26 teaches us that believers are to do the same, we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
How am I doing on sympathy? I do well in playing my own little violin and showing sympathy to myself, but how about to others. Christ our sympathetic High Priest was our greatest of what this looks like. Christ cared for people, He put others needs before His own.
Now God through the same Holy Spirit is calling us to walk in His steps.
The second heart check has to do with my love for other believers. Peter commands that we are to love fellow believers like brothers and sisters.
This might be a hard concept for some of you because you don’t really love your own biological brother and sisters. Think about it this way, how would you want a brother or sister to love you?
This is how we are to act and think about each other in the body of Christ. We need to be careful not to fall into the common thinking that the church is just a club I join, like Costco. I come get what I need say hi to some people I know then be on my way. The church is a body, a spiritual house, a family
Our love for other believers is very important, it shows the world that we are Christ’s disciples and it also shows the state of my heart. We know this because when you read the letters of Paul the churches that were on fire were ones that expressed brotherly love by caring for each other and Paul. They expressed their love to Paul through prayer and ministering to each other with their resources.
Our third heart check has to do with how tender our heart is. The tender heart is in contrast to the hard heart, the callous heart, the cold heart and the cynical heart.
This sounds really bad but living in this world it is easy for our hearts to fall into one of these conditions, especially after we have been hurt, or had our hearts broken by a brother or sister.
that is sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. The tender heart
But our hearts should not and cannot remain in this condition, we need to repent and be loving and sensitive to the feelings of others. Through abiding in the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God keeps our hearts sensitive.
Our fourth heart check is whether we are courteous. If you have a newer translation such as the ESV, NASB, or the NLT, they have the word humble.
William MacDonald does well in tying these two words together to bring out what Peter is saying concerning the courteous heart and mind. MacDonald
says, “Essentially it means humbly thinking of others, putting others first, and saying and doing the gracious thing. Courtesy serves others before self, jumps at opportunities to assist, and expresses prompt appreciation for kindness received.”
Once again this is seen revealed through the life of Jesus. Especially when He washed His disciples feet. Christ was quick to jump when the need was there to put others before Himself.
When you hook your heart up to a machine such as an EKG, there are certain things that you want to see. The same is true for our heart which is the center of our spiritual being. When we are tested by the Lord we want to see these characteristics come from our heart. If these are not our characteristics we can ask God to change and strengthen our heart.
Third in the first part of verse 9 the Lord looks at our reflexes.
9a not returning evil for evil…
Evil in this verse refers to evil actions or deeds that are done to us whether it be from a Christian or non-Christian. The healthy reflex to this tap must not be to return evil. In the previous verses we learned we are to love believers, now we see we are to render love to both believer and nonbeliever.
Paul teaches the same truth in Romans 12:19-21 when he said,
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now in the rest of verse 9 the Lord looks into our mouth.
9B. or reviling for reviling on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
Reviling means to speak evil, as a Christian we should not be shocked when someone speaks evil to us or about us, whether it is gossip, lies, backbiting.
Whatever the evil might be we are to respond not like the world in kind, but like Christ as we learned in chapter 2.
We are to bless which means do good. We are to respond with the love and humility that we would to the person who blessed us. This is not a choice of our but a calling of ours. It is our ministry.
Also as we will see in the up and coming verses these verses are not only a spiritual check, but they are the way to stay spiritually blessed. By walking in love we inherit a blessing from God.
This brings us to our second point in verses 10-12; in these verses we are given practical advice to maintain a healthy spiritual life.
10 For “HE WHO WOULD LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, LET HIM REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL, AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
Peter in verses 10-12 quotes from Psalm 34:12-16. By quoting this passage Peter gives a proof text to support what he has been saying. I love Peter use of scripture in this epistle. Peter as the other early Christians were men of the word of God.
Peter in verse ten begins by letting the believer know that whether we are spiritually healthy and blessed is based on our own choice. You and either chose the junk of the world to fill us or we can chose to the word of God.
Those who desire to love life and see good days.” are those who seek after God and apply His word. To love life means, means to see God’s hand in working through the circumstances of our life. To see good days does not mean to live a pampered life free from life’s problems. Obviously not because this is not the context of this Psalm.
To love life and see good days means to experience God’s help and blessing because of life’s problems. It means to experience answered prayers because of alighting your heart with God’s, it means that you will taste that the Lord is good and He is near to you ready to help in time of need.
11 LET HIM TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
Those who desire to live a spiritually blessed life are those who turn to God and away from Sin. We are to forsake evil and do good, both in general and to others. We are to be peace makers, who are not seeking to sire up strife, but to walk in love.
12 FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE ON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO THEIR PRAYERS; BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
Beside turning from sin and living a blessed life, Peter reminds us that our walk of righteousness determines our intimacy with God. The person who is living in sin is living a spiritually unhealthy life because they are seeking to turn from that which they need to grow and thrive.
In closing, physicals can be informative. As we spend time at the Lord’s table let’s allow God to search us so that we can walk a spiritually healthy and blessed life.