Always Be Ready
When we are out and about, taking care of our day to day responsibilities: Be that work, or grocery shopping, dropping off and picking up our children from school, working out at the gym, or taking a trip to the post office, what state of being should we be in? What state of mind should we be in? How do we prepare ourselves to live and interact with the world we live in?
Well, 1 Peter 3:15 gives us a pretty clear instruction regarding how we ought to think, act, and “be” in the world.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Before we go anywhere, Christians should always return to and heed the teachings within this verse.
We are to “revere Christ as Lord.”
But what does revere mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that the word revere means to show devoted deferential honor to, or to regard as worthy of great honor.
Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, is he not?
He was sent by His Father to live a perfect life, and to be that Perfect Sacrifice, for the remission of all mankind’s sins. He lived that perfect life, enduring criticism and hatred that we cannot fully imagine, and in the end paid the ultimate price with His life. He had to endure the incredible pain associated with the process of crucifixion. All the while, being the Son of God, He could have stopped it. He could have said, “Enough!” Yet, His love for us kept Him there. His love for us outweighed every human thought of giving up, that undoubtedly went through His head, while he was enduring that slow, cruel, and agonizing death… Brethren, is that not cause for reverence?
Now that we are in the right frame of mind. Now that we have placed ourselves humbly at the feet of our Lord and Savior, we must arm ourselves with His word. The verse goes on to tell us we must “always be prepared.”
Preparation means we ready ourselves today for the events, the interactions, and the battles of tomorrow. It doesn’t mean to wait until we are confronted with a tough situation, to suddenly decide to investigate God’s Word for our answers. We may not have that opportunity.
When a family member, friend, or co-worker, engaged in a moral discussion with you, questions your underlying principles upon which you have built your foundation, how will you answer? Will you simply say, “because I am a Christian?”
Well, that may be true, but what does that matter? What is being a Christian all about? Anyone who has been put in the position of explaining that “hope that we have” understands that merely replying, “because I’m a Christian” is not enough. It’s not enough for us. It certainly won’t satisfy the inquiring minds of the world. And, most importantly, it falls short of our promise to spread the word of God.
“Always be prepared”
This means paying close attention to the sermons we hear, taking notes, and asking questions. When we depart from services, we must open our Bibles and study at home, as well. Brethren, it’s not enough to hear the Word of God. We must understand it, so that it can do its good work within us. If we allow it to do its good work within us, we will be prepared to give that answer to everyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within us.
And finally, part of being ready or prepared means we understand HOW we ought to deliver the message of our hope, and the reason for that hope, to the world. The last sentence in 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Why is this important? Shouldn’t the truth cut deeply, and prick the heart, regardless of how it’s delivered? I mean, yeah, it should. But there’s a reason we are told to go about this in a manner with gentleness and respect.
Now, I recently had a very long and emotional discussion with a co-worker, who happens to be a very close friend of mine. The conversation was, among other things, mostly about God, Christianity, and Christians in general. And, while I’m not going share the entire story, here. I will share one glaring takeaway that I was left with, following our long conversation.
What I discovered was just how powerful our delivery of our hope is, to those who are in the world. While clearly not as powerful as God’s Word, our general disposition, manner, and attitude goes a long way in someone’s discernment process, while we are presenting God’s Word. My friend told me several reasons he did not believe in God. All of which were extremely shallow, and closed-minded, from my perspective. However, there were a few stories he told me of interactions he’d had with Christians early in his life. Brethren… do you know what he remembered from each one? He remembered the attitude, the disposition, and the manner of those who he’d come in contact with. All of which, in his mind, were negative, thus turning him off immediately to the idea of God. Really, without any further conviction.
So, I’ll leave you with this:
Our preparedness matters. Our knowledge of God’s Word matters. Our attitude toward the ones we engage in conversations about God matters.
Always Be Ready!