Read: I Peter 2-3
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)
One of the greatest examples given to us in Scripture of integrity 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”. However, God used Daniel’s integrity not only for his deliverance, but to shame his enemies and 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.
Now keep in mind that this 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:
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (I Peter 2:13-17)
So will people in the workplace. When you walk the walk in the marketplace, people who don’t even like you because of your faith will take notice of the God you claim to follow:
“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.” (I Peter 2:18-20)
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:
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Peter 3:1-7)
It goes without saying that we need to be ready to verbalize our witness to unbelievers, but we will never be effective with our words if we first don’t have the witness of a life that matches them. And even when we are prevented from speaking verbally, there is undeniable and irresistible power just in the integrity of our lives alone:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (I Peter 3:15-16)
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.
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.