Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12 (ESV)
Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “He carries a lot of weight around here” or “His words carry a lot of weight.” We understand that phrase to mean that a person has a tremendous amount of influence, that his or her opinions and input are highly valued and sought after. It has nothing to do with physical weight. Maybe it is like the old television commercial “When E.F. Hutton speaks everybody listens.”
In much the same way, the way we as Christians conduct our lives carries a lot of weight. Peter is telling us in the passage above that we are conduct ourselves honorably. In the Greek he is saying let your behavior be beautiful. If we behave in a beautiful manner, when non-Christians (Gentiles) begin to speak evil of us they will see our good deeds and upon inspection have only good things to say. In this way God is glorified. Thus, our goal for honorable conduct is the glory of God.
Our lives carry weight in that when others look at us we either portray an evildoer or we glorify God. As those who bear the name of God the glory of God is reflected by how we act. If we act unbecoming of the name we carry then it reflects poorly on that name.
God gave this commandment to Moses for the children of Israel, You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 ESV) The Hebrew word for vain here means desolate, evil, ruin, useless or false. Taking God’s name in vain is not so much speaking his name in an unflattering manner as it is behaving in such as way that belittles his glory. We take God’s name in vain when we call ourselves Christians, but conduct our lives like those who don’t know Christ. When we conduct ourselves in an ungodly manner people do not see the glory of God.
One of the meanings for the Hebrew word glory is weight. In part God’s glory is his weight. Though God is all-powerful and his word does not return void, it seems in our world today that his word doesn’t carry much weight. This is largely due to the fact that many who regard themselves as Christians often behave in a manner that brings shame to his name.
Paul wrote to the Colossian church, . . . so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10 ESV) Christians should be bearing the fruit of righteousness; that is righteous acts of humility, generosity and love. Such acts declare that they belong to God and God is glorified. Jesus said, In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
Does your behavior belittle the name of God? Do your good deeds point others to God?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Thessalonians 2:12