let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. [1 peter 3:11]
it would be so easy to look at this simple verse and say, “check, check, check, check. did all the things.” but since we all know that will never make us right before the Lord, we need to dig a little deeper. in our flesh, in our own strength, we cannot turn away from evil. we cannot do good. we cannot seek peace, and so we cannot pursue it. it has to come from somewhere else.
if we look back at 2 cor 7:1, talking about the fear of God that comes from being in his glorious presence, we see that this reverent awe produces heart change that can’t help but to spring into action. suddenly, with a new God-given purpose, we start to love the thing he loves (his glory), and hate the thing he hates (anything that does not reflect his glory, i.e. sin, death, idolatry). as these things start to be revealed in our hearts, he starts a cleansing process that is as painful as it is freeing, and as satisfying as it is difficult. as our new spirit fights our sinful flesh, a war on idolatry is waged. God has said, “you are mine,” but our flesh says, “no, you are mine.” we need to grow in spirit, and diminish in the flesh. so to turn away from evil, we have to hate evil. and to hate evil, we have to fear the Lord. and to fear the Lord, we have to be in His glorious presence. the same way, in order to do good, we have to love what is good. to love what is good, we have to love the Lord. and to love and fear the Lord, (which really are the same thing, reverent awe) we have to be in His glorious presence. seeking peace is the same way as well. you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. [isaiah 26:3] God IS peace. so to be in his presence is peace. to pursue peace is to pursue his glory.
so while we can do none of these things in our flesh, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. everything God calls us to do as believers, he gives the ability to do when his glory produces awe in our hearts. it’s a beautiful, scandalous, never ending cycle of God’s glory producing ultimate satisfaction in us, which reflects His glory, which produces more satisfaction. and so, we WILL turn away from evil. we WILL do good. we WILL seek peace in him because we cannot get enough. the psalmist writes, as a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, o God. [psalm 42:1]
if you want a check list, here it is:
seek hard after God.
beg him to show you his glory.
beg him to put his fear in you.
o Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. [isaiah 63:17]
~ arwen eastman