How Contrary Should We Be?

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious...

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless,.. that you may obtain a blessing. For

“’Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.’”
1 Peter 3:1-4,7-11

Giving in to peer pressure can veer us not only into danger as individuals, a church, or a nation, but away from God’s distinct plan. When we live according to the Scriptures, we will be seen as counter-cultural in many places. But God has beneficial and sanctifying reasons for His commands, and we are indeed blessed when we follow them. The world may never understand our satisfaction in Christ, or taste of the eternal riches we daily enjoy, but we can make them attractive by the way we live as they watch. Emulating Christ, we will stand out and apart from and contrary to the world. (Ephesians 1:3,7-8)

The world seldom esteems respectful submission, purity, mutual honor, prayerfulness, and valuing inward gentleness and a quiet spirit over outward adornment. Considering what we spend money on, what we choose for entertainment, and all that is advertised and promoted in media, biblical instructions for husbands and wives seem far-fetched, if not subversive to our me-first mentality. What do my manner and behavior tell about what I value most?

In our interactions with others, particularly those with whom we have disagreement or a different view, how common is it to work for agreement, show sympathy, brotherly love, tenderness and humility? To do so is unexpected, and may not even be well-received, but it honors the Lord and opens possibilities for His light to shine in darkness and opportunity to tell the reason for the hope we have. What we do with our tongues when we hold back lies, retribution, and blame, and instead bless and speak calmly and kindly, may both surprise and irresistibly draw those who long for something more than the world’s fare of deceit, crassness, criticism, and complaint. (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 3:15-16)

Where do I need an adjustment toward contrariness? What steps can I take to be lit from underneath and inside to show forth His character?

Lord, give me boldness to stay contrary to the world and aligned with You. So fill me that my different way of living makes a difference to those I encounter, for Your sake and glory.

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