“Live such good lives among your unbelieving neighbors that,
though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your
good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
(I Peter 2:12)
Thoughts… One of the greatest examples of integrity given to us in Scripture is the Old Testament character, Daniel. Daniel is remembered best for his miraculous deliverance from the lion’s den, but what got him there in the first place was his integrity.
He was a man of such solid character and indisputable integrity that his enemies couldn’t accuse him of any wrongdoing, so they accused him of “right doing”—and threw him into the lion’s den. But God used Daniel’s integrity not only for his deliverance, but to shame his enemies and as a platform to share his faith with the king of the Persian Empire.
Hopefully your integrity will not get you thrown into a lion’s den—although that does make a powerful testimony. But your integrity will open doors to share your faith with those who otherwise might not be ready to listen to the Good News.
In this verse, Peter says that your unbelieving neighbors will one day have to give glory to God if you live in such a way that your behavior matches what you’ve said you believe. That’s the irresistible power of the life of integrity. But that irresistible power doesn’t stop with just your unbelieving neighbors.
Even a godless society will have to take notice when, collectively, Christians live out what they preach (verses 13-17). So will the people in your workplace. When you “walk the walk” in the marketplace, people who don’t like you because of your faith will have to take notice of the God you claim (verses 18-20). And in the home, Christian wives will win their unbelieving husbands not by preaching at them, but by loving them as if they were loving Jesus himself. Likewise, husbands will really impress God if they love their wives as if they were loving Jesus himself (3:1-7).
It goes without saying that we need to be ready to verbalize our witness to unbelievers (3:15), but we will never be effective with our words if we first don’t have the witness of a life that matches those words. And even when we are prevented from speaking verbally, there is undeniable and irresistible power just in the integrity of our lives alone.
Our lives are Gospel…or at least they should be! So go forth and do the Good News. Be Jesus—then you’ll have the right to talk about him. As St. Francis of Assisi said, preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words!
Prayer… Lord, on this day, help me to so live my life that people will see you in me. Help me to be such a person of integrity that through the purity of my being, others will be drawn to you. “Character in a saint means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifested.” —Oswald Chambers
One More Thing…