1 Peter 3:13-16
13 Who will harm you if you are zealous for good? 14 But happy are you, even if you suffer because of righteousness! Don’t be terrified or upset by them. 15 Instead, regard Christ the Lord as holy in your hearts. Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it. 16 Yet do this with respectful humility, maintaining a good conscience. Act in this way so that those who malign your good lifestyle in Christ may be ashamed when they slander you.
Apologetics: the art of defending and giving evidence for the Christian faith. The writer of 1 Peter saw it as important to be ready to provide evidence for our faith, and the hope we live in, to anyone who asks. We best defend our faith and radiate hope, not in arguments or disputes, but by being able to reasonably and realistically support our faith candidly, confidently, compassionately and comprehensively.
- Reason has led us to believe our beliefs (i.e. our doctrine). That takes on realism in our lifestyle, as people see actions that back up our Christian claims. Do you think your lifestyle would back up your verbal claims of Christianity? Why or why not? Do you have a sense of the story that people tell about you?
- You may, from time to time, meet people who challenge your beliefs, with a strong air of skepticism and doubt. Most will try to be kind, but like Romans in Peter’s day, some won’t. The author of 1 Peter challenged readers to stay respectful and humble in all situations. How easy or hard do you find it to remain respectful and humble when your faith is challenged? For what reasons?
Why? Think about how faith in Christ has changed your life. In essence, why do you believe? Create an “elevator speech” for your faith – something you could share in 30 seconds or less while on an elevator with someone. Here are some questions to consider as you think about this.
- Were you ever reluctant to believe? Did you have doubts? Write those down.
- What happened that changed your mind? Was it an experience, a person?
- How is your life different now?
- How do you live out your faith? Think of how you worship, grow, serve, give and share.
O Lord, in my passion to defend my Christian faith, help me to be humble to all I meet. Let your loving kindness flow through me as I represent you to the world around me. Amen.
Lindsey is part of the Missions team at Church of the Resurrection. She received her M.A. in Religious Studies from Missouri State University. Her favorite Bible story comes from John 21, because she will never turn down a brunch invite… especially not from Jesus.