How we explain our hope says a lot about why we have it.
(Read 1 Peter 3:15)
There are always going to be people who question you about your beliefs. You can’t stop them from asking you your reason for faith, but as a Christian you should welcome this discussion. This could be the first time that they hear the Gospel (“the good news”) or the first time they hear it from a sincere believer. This month we’re studying why we should share God’s glory and grace and some ways in which we should share.
“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”
When talking about your faith, you can’t control what the other person is thinking. You can’t prevent sarcasm, skepticism, or hostility, but you are able to control your response. It is easy to react with anger or defensiveness, which is why Peter tells us to be prepared for that moment to “answer” why we have this hope and to answer with “gentleness and respect”.
The Greek word used for “answer” is apologia, where we get the word “apologetics” — careful and logical defense of the Christian faith demonstrating validity as the true saving gospel of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Peter and the early Christians faced tremendous persecution and scrutiny. There was no middle ground in demonstrating the Christian faith with its attackers. Peter stressed that believers stand firm verbalizing the real message and hope of Jesus Christ. While apologia sounds like apology, it’s meaning is far from it. It is not guilt and sorrow for our beliefs, but rather clear, calm, and intelligent defense of them.
In order to respond with a gentleness, you first must fully give yourself to the Lord. We must revere Christ in our hearts. When we fully trust in the Lord, our confidence can’t waiver. In Luke, Jesus tells us, not to, “worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
When we are confident in our faith, we can share our faith gently without condemnation or insults. I have had close friends who have at times ridiculed me for my beliefs. I used to get hostile and frustrated. A Christian friend challenged me about my behavior and reminded me that the real Christian behavior is to recognize the conversation as an opportunity not as a confrontation.
With Christ in our heart, we will pour out His love with everyone we come in contact with regardless of the situation. It’s up to us to read and study the Bible. We should know it so we can explain where our hope comes from and why we believe. The grace God has given us also requires us to love equally our brothers and sisters. We are to step down our behavior, but not the true message of God’s blessing and saving grace.
- Do you ever react emotionally without consideration for how your behavior affects others? Do your reactions show a different person than who you think you are?
- Has anyone asked you questions about your faith that you couldn’t answer? Does that fuel their skepticism?
- Are you prepared for family, friend, or stranger to ask you where your faith comes from?
- Read, pray, memorize verses in the Bible. Get familiar with God’s word. It’s His story but it’s also our story for eternity. This will help you explain to anyone who asks why you believe what you believe.
- Even as a believer, we can let emotion and pride rise above our Christian souls. Focus on your response to adversity and hostility. Focus on our your response to well-meaning conversations too. Conversations about our faith all have the potential to help lead the way to someone coming to Christ.
- Read all of 1 Peter. Pay close attention to what he’s telling his readers in the letter. Be prepared at all times to demonstrate your Christianity in your explanation of your faith and in your behavior.
Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.