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Loving Life

Whoever would love life… -I Peter 3:10

          How important is life to you; to most people?  Who wants to die?
The rather normal and expected answers are that everyone (unless something is wrong with them) believes life precious and clings to it.
        So the text which says “whoever wishes to love life” seems strange to us.  The suggestion that ordinary, normal, healthy people may not love life is met with disbelief.  Is Peter so out of touch with reality?  Or, is he talking to people for whom life is so painful and difficult that anything would be better?
          At first glance, the latter seems to be a likely explanation—these people are in the midst of, or at least facing terrible persecution.  This is an underlying theme of the whole letter.  Certainly that would be an important message for people for whom life has dealt a cruel hand.
          However, giving that its due credit, when you see the solution he suggests, it becomes clear that this applies to everyone not just a hand-full of persecuted first century Christians.
          It is a fact that not everyone loves life.  In the Bible, the writer of Ecclesiastes is direct:  “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me.  All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecc. 2:17)
          Peter wrote in a day of much cynicism about life and it is a growing attitude in our time.  Earnest Hemingway expressed it when he said, “I live in a vacuum that is as lonely as a radio tube when the batteries are dead and there is no current to plug into.”  For many, life is characterized by frustration and boredom.
Do you love life?  I don’t mean do you want to live as the better of two alternatives.  It is one thing to say we love life in the abstract and quite another to love the particulars of our life.
          The pursuit of satisfaction in life is major preoccupation of an affluent society.  Some seek it in success.  Others believe possessions, things deliver what they long for.  Years ago I read this story:

A wealthy man moved into a new house, next-door to a Quaker.  Quakers believe in plainness and simplicity.  The Quaker watched as the moving company unloaded a great amount of furniture, clothes, and decorative things.
Finally, he walked over to his new neighbor and said, “Neighbor, if thee hath need of anything, please come to see me and I will tell thee how to get along without it.”

            To those early Christians, persecuted and suffering, Peter tells the secret to loving life whatever one’s circumstances: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.  They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”
In short, do good.  Goodness is not just what you ought to do, it is also the best way to live.  It is living in tune with God and His ways, it is living the way we were intended, the way we work best.  What you say and do, the way you relate to people is the key to loving life.
The kind of goodness called for begins with love for Christ.  “In your hearts give Christ a unique place.”  I Peter 3:15 (Barclay)
Do you want to love life?  Make Jesus Lord of your life.

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