What We Say Reflects Our Heart
God said, “Seek peace.” So that means, look for the non-combative, non-confrontational way of relating to people and to issues.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doin’ all right today? Oh I trust so, bless your heart. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. You and I are back together again, by the grace of God. The miles drop away, and here we are just as though I was seated beside you, in the car on the way to work, or across from you at the kitchen table, or wherever you happen to be. Some of you I guess wake up to this broadcast which comes on in your area, early in the morning. In any case, wherever you are, and whatever is the circumstance, God bless you today, and keep you in His tender care, is my prayer for you.
We’re looking at 1 Peter 3. And we were, we were looking at the, the phrase that says that “Ye are thereunto called that ye should inherit a blessing.” Then the verses that follow lay out for us what is involved in a blessed kind of a life; or a life that is a blessing to others, whichever way you want to look at it. “He that will love life…” that’s the, that’s the ambience you may say, of the Christian life: you’ll love it. To wake up in the morning and say, “Praise the Lord!” You know, you may have worries a million of them. Problems upon your heart and mine, not a little heartache, or even heartbreak.
Circumstances may be terrible. But to wake up and say, “I’m glad to be alive dear Lord, because I belong to You, let me live this day for You.” “He that will love life…” Now, what is involved? “Let him refrain his tongue from evil,” that’s what we were talking about the last time we got together. And that involves of course getting my heart right with my Lord. “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” And so let’s take care that our hearts are right with our God, so that what we say is going to be a reflection of the love we have for Him. And it’ll be good words, not bad words.
The wise men said, “How forcible are right words!” They are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. “How forcible are right words!” There is a sense in which, if you’re going to get your point across in any kind of negotiation, you have to, you have to study the other person to find out what he or she or they, really want. And second, what the, the words that are used, really mean to them.
Sometimes a word that is innocently used by you or by me, is received in a, in an entirely different fashion, by the people who hear it. Sometimes it’s a threat, or sometimes it’s interpreted as a criticism, or sometimes even as a, as a sneer. And you didn’t mean it that way at all, but because it’s that kind of a word, in the thinking of the listener. So, “Refine his tongue from evil; his lips, that they speak no guile.”
Don’t use words to try to get your own way. Now wise words, and loving words, and words that, that motivate, it seems to me this is entirely within the purview of Scripture. But words that are calculated to manipulate others, and to get them to do what you want, that’s something else again, right? Now we talked about that at some length the last time we got together. And we were just up to that phrase, “…his lips, that they speak no guile.” Why should God have to tell us that? Because every one of us is capable of trying to finagle his way through life; and to get what we want by using words, or concepts, or argument, to get our own way.
Guile. Guile is the quality of saying that is, that is apparently true, but which has a private agenda in it. (Laughs) I think back, I think back now a good many years ago, when I was in ‘Youth for Christ’, and we were planning to have a, a World Congress in one of the European cities. And in that connection there were preaching teams, Gospel teams of young preachers, and evangelist, and teenagers with them that would be traveling all over, in winning souls in various large city centers.
And I remember saying to the Board to which I was responsible – I think they called it a Council in those days. I remember saying, “I’ve made arrangements with such-and-such a film company, to send a film crew around, and follow our young people around in various meetings, so as to get a film record of what the Lord is doing. And that it might be encouraging, and we can use it to encourage other people to get out with the Gospel.”
Well, one of the man present said, “Oh Bob,” he said, “don’t, you’re an amateur, don’t do that,” he said. “Why should you have an, why should you have an amateur rendition, like a, like a, a family movie.” He said, “Don’t do that.” And, and so he argued against it, and successfully, and the thing was killed. Well, what happened was that he went, and took the pictures himself. Can you imagine?
Oh, ‘Hallelujah, anyway’. Private agenda, see? There’s the idea. Avoid that, will you? Let’s, let’s avoid the private agenda, where we’re saying one thing, but trying to get something else done. He said, “You’re called to refrain from that.” That’s part of the Christian calling to, to just, as the man said, “Include it out, refrain from it.” Guile. Well he said, “Let him eschew evil.” On it means ‘to shun it’ because you, you, you dislike it deeply, even violently. If you eschew something, that means you don’t like it, and you stay away from it, you shun it. Shun evil, but do good.
I have to review my own life from time to time, I guess, as we all do. And the question comes up, ‘How faithfully do I avoid everything, everything that is, that’s wrong?’ Well, I’m not conscious of deliberately wrongdoing, not many times anyway. The Lord does guide His boy, and I’m grateful. He’s, He’s, He’s saved me, and kept me, and, and I’m grateful. But I can’t say, and maybe, I don’t know how this affects you, beloved; but I can’t say that, that I’ve, that I have been deliberately watching out, to avoid everything that is not according to the will of God. I’ve been more dependent upon God’s sovereign guidance, I guess, than on my effort.
Now what this says to me here, he says, “Eschew evil, hate it, avoid it, stay away from it, and do it deliberately.” That’s what it’s saying. That’s a pretty strong order. And you and I better pay attention to it, hadn’t we? And then he says, “Let him do good.” I’ve talked to you at different times about this matter of, of looking for good things to do. That’s part of what God had in mind, when He saved us. Ephesians 2:10 said, “We’re His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk,” – that means live every day – “in, in them, in an atmosphere of doing good.”
Now here again, when I’m talking to you, I have to talk to Bob Cook. And I don’t know that I go through any given day just looking for something good to do. And yet, there has been a kind of a lifestyle that I’ve, that I’ve adopted, where I, where I look for things that will encourage people – I have to say I do that pretty regularly. Try to catch people doing something right, and compliment them. Try to find somebody who’s a little discouraged, and encourage him or her, or them. That I do. But I’ll tell you this, this phrase encompasses a great deal more than most of us put into it. Wouldn’t you agree?
Let’s try this, you and I, let’s try to go through a whole day just looking for some good things we can do for other people, in Jesus’ name. I think when the day is finished, we’ll be glad that we tried it that way. To, to hate evil and stay away from everything that’s against the will of God, and at the same time go through life looking for chances to do good things that will help, and encourage, and strengthen, other people. I’ve noticed this, that every time you do something good without being asked to do it, you get gratitude that is way out of proportion to the amount of effort that you put out.
You know, people still thank me for helping with a suitcase years ago. (Laughs) I don’t understand it, but they do. You know, see somebody unloading a, a car in, in the front of the college and I say, “Here, let me give you a hand with that.” And years later, say, ten or fifteen years later, they’ll hark back to that. “You helped me with my suitcases.” Well, how, how, how important is that? Well I guess it was important to them. So they remembered it. Do good. Look for good things you can do. Don’t make a federal case of it. Don’t be officious.
There’s nobody worse than somebody who is officially a do-gooder. (Laughs) But ohh, where there’s a need, where there’s a heartache, where there’s a burden, where somebody’s discouraged, where somebody needs to be strengthened, and encouraged, and helped, where somebody needs a job, or somebody’s hungry, or whatever – do good. That’s part of the calling. He said, “Hereunto were you called.” See? “Hereunto were you called to be a blessing.” How do we get to be a blessing? All right, watch what you say, watch your attitude toward evil – everything against the will of God – watch your attitude toward anything that’s outside of the will of God; and watch your attitude toward what you’re doing. Do good!
It’s quite an order, isn’t it? Now he goes on to say, “Let him seek peace, and pursue it.” To seek peace. Now, how do you do that? Number one, you avoid confrontation wherever you can, yourself. Did you know, it’s not necessary to win an argument? Have you discovered that? You don’t have to answer every critical letter, or memorandum. You don’t have to win an argument. I know some people who absolutely cannot stand to lose an argument. They’ll get angry and, and the fur will fly. Well you don’t have to be that way, do you? No you don’t. He said, “Seek peace.” So that means, look for the non-combative, non-confrontational way of relating to people and to issues. That doesn’t mean compromise. I don’t mean you should compromise your convictions. I mean that most of the things about which we argue are less than eternal, wouldn’t you say?
Think of, think of all the arguments you’ve had at home, in the last month. What have you argued about? They’re not really all that eternal in nature, are they? So he says, “You seek peace.” Anytime you can, back off and say, “All right, you’re probably right about that,” you know. And let the other person feel that you’re not going to argue about it. You’d be surprised what a different atmosphere you will create for yourself and for those around you. Why don’t we get on this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today make us people who have the right words, the right heart, and the right atmosphere of peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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