How To Have A Good Day

Bible Book: 1 Peter  3 : 10-12
Subject: Christian Living; Joy

Often we hear - and many of us use - the expression, “Have a good day!” When we wish someone a good day, we are wishing for them two things: first, we’re wishing that their day’s events go smoothly and successfully; but secondly, and even more important, we’re wishing for that person a sense of inner peace and well-being even if things don’t go smoothly and successfully - indeed, even if things go “haywire.” But, of course, just wishing for all of that doesn’t make it happen.

People often don’t have a good day. One fellow, on a day when things just seemed to go from bad to worse, said, “If this day were a fish, I’d throw it back!” There is a children’s book entitled, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Have you ever had a day like that?

How can we avoid letting the day’s events get us down? Is there some formula for having a good day, even when things go wrong? Thankfully, there is - and it is found in God’s inspired Word, the Bible, in 1 Peter 3:10-12:

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

In that passage we see two essential things: the performance required for having a good day, and the power available for having a good day. Let’s look first at...


Often you and I can’t control the circumstances of our lives, but we can control our performance in the midst of our circumstances - that is, with God’s help, we can. What specific performance is required for having a good day?

A. One essential is this: we Must Control our Tongues

“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile.” The Greek word for “evil” [kakon] has to do with anything which is morally or ethically wrong, having hurtful or even destructive results, and the Greek word for “guile” [dolos] means literally, “a bait, snare, deceit.” Concerning Jesus, 1 Peter 2:22 says, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” So, the inspired penman is telling us that we need to be careful about what we say, and way we say it.

The old adage that “words can never hurt me” is a lie from the depths of the bottomless pit. Someone has pointed out that there is only a single letter’s difference between “words” and “swords” - and words can be like swords, cutting and injuring. Proverbs 18:21 says that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue....”

Chuck Swindoll said, “I read of a case in which a woman’s suicide note simply read, ‘They said...’ She never finished. Something ‘they said’ killed her.”

One of my sons has a plaque on his kitchen wall that reads: “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.” It is absolutely essential we control our tongue if we are to experience God’s highest and best. Every one of us should make the same resolve that the author of Psalm 17:3 made: “I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” In that connection, our prayer should be that of the inspired writer of Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”

B. Also, we Must Control our Actions

According to the inspired writer, that has two aspects.

1. For one thing, there is the negative aspect: “Let him eschew evil.” The Greek word for “eschew” (ekklino) means, “to turn aside.” The idea is that we are to be on watch, and when we see that a certain path would lead to wrong-doing, we’re to get off of that path and head in another direction. As John Phillips says, “There are some doors a child of God ought never to darken.”

Sin will rob you of the blessings God had intended for you. Jeremiah 5:25 says, “...your sins have withheld good things from you.” Much of the time, we don’t have good days because we’ve allowed sin to creep into our lives - and in many cases, that sin has crept in without our recognizing it for what it really is.

Why? Because - and this is one of the great problems of our present generation - modern day folks generally have a watered-down understanding of what sin is. The late Dr. Karl Menninger, a world renowned psychiatrist, at the age of eighty wrote a book entitled, Whatever Became of Sin? Many things that were once considered sinful are now not so regarded. Adrian Rogers said, “There is no new sin under the sun. But sin that once slunk down the back alley now struts down Main Street.” Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Anything that is contrary to the will of God is sin, regardless of how socially acceptable it might be.

Call sin what it is, and then avoid it like a dreaded disease. Billy Sunday, the baseball player who became a renowned evangelist and preached from the nineties until his death in 1935, was noted for thundering against every kind of sin. He said, “I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth, and then I’ll ‘gum it’ til I die!” The person who would have good days must never compromise with sin.

2. Then there is the positive aspect: “Let him eschew evil, and do good.” It has often been said - and correctly so - that the best defense is a good offense. When Lou Holtz was head football coach at the University of Arkansas, he had only one rule to guide his players in their general conduct. That one rule was clear and direct, and consisted of just two words: “Do right!” Romans 12:21 says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Concerning Jesus’ earthly ministry, Acts 10:38 says that he “went about doing good” - and he is to be our example, if we know him as Lord and Savior.

Titus 3:8 says, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Daniel 11:32 says, “...the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Jesus said, in Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

So, as important at it is to avoid wrongdoing, that’s only half of the equation - we must also give proper attention to the positive side. The late Vance Havner told of talking with a man who claimed to be right with God - but his testimony consisted totally of negatives. He said, “I don’t drink, I don’t cuss, and I don’t run with wild women.” Vance Havner said, “Well, neither does a gatepost.”

C. We Must also Seek Peace

The other requirement for “seeing good days” is to seek peace. This truth is found in verse11: “let him seek peace, and ensue it.” In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” We become children of God by his grace through repentance and faith in Christ; but one of the major ways that we are recognized as God’s children is by our performance as peacemakers.

We live in a world marked by hostility and violence, but each of us should do our dead-level best to be a force for peace in the midst of all that chaos.

1. The foundation for being a peacemaker is to be at peace ourselves - and that comes through a right relationship with the Lord. Paul wrote, in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In John 16:33 Jesus said to believers, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

2. Then, having laid that personal foundation, we are to seek to live in peace with those around us - and we’re not to be casual about it; as already emphasized, we are not only to “seek” peace, we are to “pursue” it. That word translated “pursue” (or “ensue” in the KJV) means to go enthusiastically after something. In other words, we are to work at it diligently. Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” The clear implication is that there are some folks who will flatly refuse to be peaceful - but God expects you and me to give everything we’ve got in the effort to achieve it.

3. Being peacemakers also has another profoundly important aspect - and that is that we are to endeavor to point others to Christ, so that they, too, will know inner peace and will thus have a foundation in their own lives for living at peace with other people. 2 Corinthians 6:20 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

“Well, preacher, all of that sounds just fine - but the 64,000 dollar question is, ‘How do I manage to do all of that? How do I manage to control my tongue, and my actions, and how do I maintain the motivation and boldness to be a peacemaker?’” - and that brings us to look at...


1 Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

A. Notice, first, that those Words are Addressed to “the righteous”

(Greek, dikaios) - in other words, to those who are right with God. That means two things: it means that we must have been born again, through repentance and faith in the crucified, risen, living Son of God - and secondly, it means that, as believers, we must be endeavoring day by day to give him first priority in our lives. Here’s the way Jesus himself put it in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness [that is, the “rightness” that only God can provide]; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

B. Look to the Wonderful Promise He Gives

Now, once we’re sure that our relationship with God is right, and that our priorities are in order, look at the wonderful promise he gives us: “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.” That means that he is always watching over us, and that in response to our prayers he will meet our needs - in other words, he will help us to have good days!

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be times of heartache and tears. Christians are not exempt from life’s trials and tribulations. To the contrary, Acts 14:22 says that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

But what this promise does mean is that whatever our circumstances at any given time, if we’re right with God and earnestly call on him in prayer, he will give us inner peace. He will miraculously give us that inner peace even when we are being battered and bruised by the storms of life, and when life seems to be tumbling in all around us.

The peace he gives is a deep-seated sense of well-being based on the assurance that, as he reminds us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” and based on such promises as that given in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for thee....” Here’s the way Paul expressed it in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

“But, preacher, aren’t there also other requirements that God makes of us, in order to have victory in our lives? - requirements such as reading his Word regularly, being faithful in worship, and using our talents in serving him?” The answer to that is Yes - but these performance requirements listed in 1 Peter 3:10-12 are basic; they are foundational; if we’re meeting them we’re headed in the right direction, and it’s likely that faithfulness in these other areas will follow.

I think that most all of us know, at least theoretically, that a vibrant prayer life is the answer to having a good day - but moving from theory to practice is the big challenge. Satan works constantly at trying to keep you and me from maintaining a consistent, quality quiet time each day. He uses every tactic in his book, one of which is procrastination. We’ll pray later, but right now we’ve got to get going, or we’ll be late. Well, if that’s truly the case, we should have gotten out of bed earlier. Someone has said, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” The reason he trembles is that that weak saint won’t remain weak if he earnestly prays.

I head Adrian Rogers say that one day when he was pastoring in Florida, the thought came to him that God answers prayer. He said, “I already knew that, of course, but that day the realization somehow hit me with new force, like a ton of bricks. God does, indeed, answer prayer!” Then Adrian said, “That being true, I would be an unmitigated fool not to pray!”

So, it boils down to this for the believer: the key to having a good day is to be sure that our prayer life is up to speed. We would all do well to take to heart these words by Ralph Cushman:

I met God in the morning When my day was at its best,

And his presence came like sunrise Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered, All day long He stayed with me,

And we sailed in perfect calmness O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered, Other ships were sore distressed,

But the winds that seemed to drive them Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings, With a keen remorse of mind,

When I, too, has loosed the moorings With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret, Learned from many a troubled way;

You must seek Him in the morning If you want Him through the day.


You CAN have a good day - every day! No, you can’t have things the way you want them every day, and you can’t always avoid pain and heartache - but even days marked by trouble and disappointment can be good days, in that even on those days God will give you peace and strength in spite of the dismal circumstances surrounding you - that is, he will give you peace and strength IF you meet his conditions: “...he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

Let me remind us, as already emphasized, that these promises are directed to “the righteous” - people who have been born again, and are earnestly endeavoring to give Jesus Christ first place in their daily lives. If you aren’t in that category, then that’s where you need to start - so this morning I challenge each of us to search our hearts, face up to where we are spiritually, and then respond accordingly. If you’ve never done so, repent of your sins and surrender your life to Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. If you’re a Christian gone astray, ask God to forgive you and give you a new start - he stands ready to do exactly that.