11 Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. 12 Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.
Jesus faced criticism for hanging out with “tax collectors and sinners” (e.g. Luke 15:1-2). Ironically, some in the Roman world defamed Jesus' followers for holy lives that were different from “sinners.” “Neighbors who are unbelievers are speaking against the behavior of these Christians. What is good has been judged to be immoral. [Peter’s teaching] encourages loyalty to key social values while also pressing for obedience to Christ and formation in Christ.” *
Lord God, it’s one thing to say you are “King of Kings.” Sometimes it is quite another thing to say you are king of my heart. Make the latter as true in my day-to-day life as I believe the former is when I worship you in church. Amen.
* Jeannine K. Brown, study note on 1 Peter 2:11-12 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 465 NT.
In elementary school, help was always a raised hand away. You don’t know how to solve the problem? Raise your hand. You don’t know what page you should be on? Raise your hand. The kid next to you won’t stop poking you? Raise your hand. Everything was solved by asking for help. As we entered our teens, we wanted to be more independent. We didn’t want to raise our hands, because asking for help was for little kids. And certainly, as adults, the idea of requiring assistance seems like an insult. People our age shouldn’t need help.
But what if we do? We often know what God wants for us, the decisions we should and shouldn’t be making. If life was just about knowing the right thing to do, our lives would be much easier. However, there is often a gap between knowing what is right and doing what is right. Sometimes the gap is narrow enough that sheer determination can bridge the two. However, there are other times when the gap is so wide that willpower alone won’t cut it.
If you can’t break a habit or behavior that is harmful to you, to others, or to your relationship with God, you need to know that it is okay to ask for help. At some point in our adult lives we all need help. It’s much wiser to ask for help than to allow your life and soul to suffer because your pride is at stake. Pride doesn’t negate the need for help, it only delays it.
Help may come from a friend or loved one, but there are times when pastoral or professional resources are a better choice. Turning to pastors, counselors, and therapists doesn’t make you a bad or immature person, and it absolutely doesn’t mean that you aren’t a “good Christian.” God doesn’t want perfection from us. What He wants is wholeness for our lives and the lives of those around us. If you need help breaking away from harmful patterns, stop what you’re doing, call the church, and get help. No matter what you’re dealing with you’ll find people with open arms ready to greet you, if only you’ll raise your hand.
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