Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence… (1 Peter 3: 15-16)
Has anyone ever “demanded” that you make your “defense” for the hope that’s in you? Ever had anyone ask, “Given all you’ve been through, how can you keep going?” Or, “Where do you get your peace?” Or, “Why are you always so joyful?”
Some of our best evangelism opportunities come when people have “holy-envy.” Here’s our challenge: How can we conduct our lives so that others want what we have?
After Peter says we must always be ready to share our hope, he tells us to do so with “gentleness and reverence.” That’s good counsel. Our Christian witness could be more persuasive if we talked with people and not at them, listened to them, instead of demanding that they listen to us.
How did Christians move from Peter’s admonition to share our faith with “gentleness and reverence” to threatening people to accept Jesus? I recently saw this sign: “You think it’s hot now, just wait until you die without Jesus.” Nothing gentle or reverent about that message.
Although Jesus never gives His permission to threaten people into believing, He also never gives His permission to stop sharing our hope. Just because evangelism can sometimes be done so badly, doesn’t give us the excuse to avoid sharing our faith and hope.
What’s the hope we have to share? Jesus is our hope. With His grace we are forgiven. With His presence we are never alone. With His guidance we can navigate. With His power we have all we need. With His love our hearts can be full.
Peter encourages us to “always” be ready to share the hope that’s within us because we never know when or how Jesus might be able to work through us to save a life, a heart, and a soul. Jesus came to bring hope because without it our lives dim, our courage wavers, and our dreams evaporate.
- Have you ever had “holy-envy” of someone else? If so, what did you see or feel in them that you wanted or desired?
- Has anyone ever had “holy-envy” of you? Anyone ever asked where you get your peace or your joy? If not, what do you think could be missing in your faith or discipleship?
- If someone were to demand from you an accounting for the hope that’s within you, what would you say? Do you have a hope upon which you build and lead your life? If so, what is it?