I find myself using the word weird a lot these days. Weird times, weird days, weird behavior, weird reactions — just WEIRD.
Why is everything so weird? Because our normal has been knocked out of the ballpark, and that’s set everyone on edge.
I’m typing this as I sit here wearing my new favorite shirt that reads: “Get used to different,” from The Chosen series. While I’m not too happy with the “different” the world has thrown my way these days, I do want it to push me to remember the “different” and “difference” Jesus brings.
After a particularly difficult day, I walked down the street to attend my weekly Bible study meeting, where we sat comfortably socially distant in cushy chairs under our friend’s outdoor gazebo. I was mad at myself for not being able to restrain my own anger and emotions, when provoked by a troublesome situation, but I was grateful that I could pour out my frustrations to these sisters in Christ.
That’s when God gave me what I really needed through his Word which we studied together that night.
The lesson was on the testimony of our hope, and the first question in our book slapped me in the face:
“How can we live unashamed in today’s culture?”
I encourage you to read all of 1 Peter 2 and 3 in the coming days, because it’s so rich in answering this question.
I was reminded that just as Christ is the living stone–“rejected by people but chosen and honored by God,”* so too are we, as his followers, living stones. When we live for Christ, we are also rejected by people, by the world, but we have been chosen by God and given honor by God as well.
As I was reminded of all God has done for me through Christ, I was still asking myself how I could live unashamed for him when faced with such struggles. The answer came in these verses from chapter 2:
Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits.*
That was it! Not if it happens, but when it happens, let your good works speak and give God the glory.
The teacher kept teaching, but my mind was racing. It caused me to look further in Peter at verses that were in the next chapter.
…in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet do this with gentleness and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame.*
There it was again! So that when you’re accused, not if. What will make the difference when attacks come?
My good works, my conduct, my integrity, my faithful witness.
Nothing can stand against living out your faith in love and good deeds.
These are weird times, but nothing changes for us as followers of Christ. In good times and in bad, we are to do good to the glory of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Attacks will come, but our goodness will put them to shame.
Stephen, when faced with with outrageous accusations, put his accusers to shame, because Luke tells us that everyone who was looking so intently at him, “saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
That didn’t stop the attacks or his death, but it did make them ask, “is this true?” and give Stephen an opportunity to give an amazing witness to the work of God through Christ.
I’m still a work in progress on living unashamed in this world. I pray that God will use my face, my words, and good deeds to give testimony for the hope that I do have in Christ.
These weird days are putting that to the test. I pray I’ll be able to pass to his glory.
Grace and Peace
*1 Peter 2:4 (CSB)
*1 Peter 2:11-12
*1 Peter 3:15-16