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Seek Peace

“Whoever desires to love life and see good days … let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:10-11).

The good life is turning from evil and doing good. If you want to love life and see good days, if you really want to live and love the good life, then turn from evil to do good. The good life is not sex, drugs and parties. The good life is not doing your own thing, whatever makes you feel good no matter what God thinks about it. The good life is doing what is good—this word means excellent in quality. We must do what expresses a deep-down virtue.

And then Peter says, “Let him seek peace.” The word here for seeking in the original Greek is the strongest verb, the strongest form of seeking. The emphasis is: “Let him seek with all his might.” This intensity is very important. “And let him pursue peace,” includes another intense verb that means to hunt. If you are a follower of Christ, you are told by the Word of God to do everything you can to make a persistent, intense effort to be a peacemaker.

The Beatitudes remind us of that, don’t they? Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” So many Christians are doing the opposite today on so many fronts. We are to make peace as much is as possible without compromising truth. Romans 14:17 says, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The kingdom of God should be known by its peace. And we are the citizens of the kingdom, we must be the peacemakers. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” James 3:17 tells us that we are to align with God’s wisdom, which is “peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” Why? Because that’s characteristic of spiritual wisdom from above. We are to be peacemakers.

Romans 12:18 says the same thing in other words: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 14:19, “Let us pursue what makes for peace.” This is repeated throughout the Scripture: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11). On and on it goes. We are to be peacemakers. We are to pursue it, we are to hunt after it. We are to do everything possible to make peace in the congregation of God’s redeemed and with the people who are around us.

One last point: to remain diligent in our pursuit of peace, we must have the right incentive. 1 Peter 3:12 continues: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer.” Peter is simply saying, “Look, you can live like this, you don’t have to retaliate, you don’t have to get your own pound of flesh, you don’t have to take vengeance into your own hands, you don’t have to live that way. You can simply have a right attitude, a gracious and humble and sympathetic, harmonious attitude, you can give back love to your enemies, even though they give you hate, don’t retaliate. You can live under the authority of the Word of God with a controlled tongue and controlled lips, turning away from evil, doing good and pursuing peace and hunting after it no matter how intensely you must do that. You can live like that without fear because whatever difficulty you get into, you don’t need to be the one who gets you out. All you need to do is let the Lord know and He’s ready to hear your prayer.” What a tremendous promise, what a glorious truth.

—John MacArthur, adapted