I was struck with a passage of scripture this week that caused a considerable amount of contemplation to take place in my brain. It was a challenge to read and comprehend, because as I consumed its prose I realized how far I fall from the mark of success on the daily. Sure, I have some of it mastered, but I have a lot of work ahead of me still. And just when I make gains in one area, another area previously mastered starts to falter. It is one of those passages that can be visited and revisited again as a checklist for life.
That eye-opening passage is found in 1 Peter 3:8-12 and goes like this: (MSG)
“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, BLESS – that’s your job, to BLESS. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what to do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you are worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what He’s asked; but He turns his back on those who do evil things.”
Wow! A very “tall order” indeed! But what exactly does the idiom “tall order” mean? According to Macmillan Dictionary a “tall order” is “something very difficult to accomplish that someone expects of you.” The Free Dictionary states it is “a particularly difficult task to accomplish.” The Urban Dictionary calls it “an assignment that seems impossible to accomplish.” The English Stack Exchange goes further to say it is, “a direction or commission to make, provide or furnish something. With tall meaning large in amount or degree. Thus, a tall order is a direction to do something rather considerable.”
In relation to these definitions then, 1 Peter 3:8-12 is in fact a “tall order.” It is what the Lord expects of us. It is a command. It is a directive in living that pleases our Heavenly Father. Is it easy to accomplish on a daily basis in our own strength? Absolutely not! Is it possible to achieve this over a lifetime of living in the grace of God and transformation through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit? Absolutely yes!
Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, (daughters), in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
His will is that we follow His Word and employ His directives. As our minds are transformed through His Spirit we can indeed accomplish this particular “tall order,” and others like it, found in scripture.
The huge and wonderful flip-side of this “tall order” is that when it is successfully carried out the “gains” are “unparalleled” (“having no equal; better or greater than any other” Cambridge Dictionary). 1 Peter 3:8-12 tells us that when we work to accomplish what God has asked of us, we will be a blessing to others and we will be blessed; we will be able to fully embrace life and experience happiness; we will speak words of life, cultivate goodness and walk in peace. Ultimately, we will please our dearest Lord and one day be with him on high. These are all worth the hard work in my estimation.
So, Daughters, let’s challenge one another to keep moving forward and work hard to complete this “tall order.” Let’s do it together and change our world as we become the beautiful blessings we were meant to be, for the glory of God.