ARE YOU PREPARED
Key Scripture: “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…” — 1 Peter 3:15
I have always admired people who are gifted at sharing and defending the gospel. Unfortunately, I have never considered myself a part of that category. I wanted the ability to explain and defend the gospel but often when put in a position to do just that, I’d worry about offending, or getting too emotional, or not speaking eloquently enough.
Can you relate?
The apostle Peter clearly gives all Christ-followers a directive to be ready to give a logical answer for what we believe. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He went from being the fearful guy who denied even knowing Jesus to eventually being tried and crucified upside down for his faith.
And to think that I’d let my own self-criticism justify my apathy in sharing my faith when it felt uncomfortable. Ouch! That realization has stung a bit. I’m learning that one of the best ways to develop this skill is to practice when the opportunity arises. Sometimes those opportunities land at our doorstep.
While attending George Fox University, I had several classes with another student; we became quick friends. He was a psych major and not a believer. Since we were studying at a Christian college, we were expected to take all the required Bible classes and sit through mandatory chapel days. Nevertheless my friend just couldn’t bring himself to buy into the whole Christianity thing.
I really wanted him to choose Jesus, but never debated his opinions. Then, late one evening he showed up at my doorstep wanting to ask me a question about something that he was wrestling with. I was flattered but also terrified at the same time. I barely survived psychology class and I was never any good at debating logic with psycho babel.
He asked me, “If Jesus is really God, all powerful, then why is it such a big deal for him to die. If Jesus truly is all powerful, he could die over and over, so why is his death such a big deal to you Christians?”
I had never been asked anything like that before, so I did my best. My response in a nutshell was, “Christianity is unique from other religions, God actually seeks relationship with us, but sin creates a gap between man and God. So, God came down to earth in flesh as God the Son, our mediator, who bridged the relationship gap by living a sinless life and died on a cross for the sins of all mankind once and for all, so we could have a relationship with God and spend eternity in heaven with him. Because Jesus is all powerful, he only had to die once for the sins of everyone, ever.”
We talked for an hour or more and sadly I didn’t get the response I hoped for. He didn’t seem too satisfied with my answer, although he thanked me for the explanation. I felt so discouraged. He respected my faith, but I didn’t change his mind with my answer and to this day he still hasn’t said yes to Jesus.
This experience taught me to not only be prepared to give an answer with love and respect, but to know that I am not the Holy Spirit. Working in the hearts and minds of others is God’s department, not mine and not yours! It is our responsibility as believers to point others to the truth and freedom of Jesus Christ and let God take care of the rest. It’s all about our perspective as well. It can often feel like someone’s question is a personal attack, but it might just be a God appointed opportunity to share truth. Our reaction and the way we respond is just as important as our response. It’s okay to not have all the answers, but it is our responsibility to give an answer in love, no matter the outcome.
Steps of Faith: Lord, thank you for your unending love and the gift of Jesus. Give us a thirst to know you more and grow in our knowledge of you. Help us live a life that oozes the love of Jesus to those around us. Lord, give us a heart for those who do not know you and the courage to share the good news of Jesus. We pray you would prepare the hearts of those you put in our path, and you would be glorified through our conversations to come. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Deeper Walk Scripture: Romans 3:23-26, 6:23, 8:15, John 3:16-18, Col 2:14