Monday, December 21, 2009

“Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks.” (1 Peter 3.15)

New Testament Challenge, Day 37 – 1 and 2 Peter
Saint Peters reminds of the hope that is in Christ. “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3.15) How often do we encounter people who ask, “Why are so happy?” or “Why are you always calm and so easy going?” I don’t expect that most people are actually genuine in their questioning. If they were, they would know our hope, joy, and peace comes from our relationship with Christ. But when we encounter people whom we may have never met who inquire, this opens the way for us to confess Christ. “You want to know why I’m so happy? I have Christ in my life? That’s how.” When we confess Christ’s peace in our lives then the Holy Spirit can nurture the seed of faith in others who witness the peace in our lives.

There is another benefit thought to our response especially for those who may be genuine. We may suspect we are asked the question because our peace makes other’s lack of peace look bad to others. If only those who were angry could convince others who are peaceful to show a little anger their life would be vindicated. We see this too in certain life styles that are sinful. If someone can show the normality of the behavior they feel legitimized. In these cases our ability to defend our hope and joy and peace as coming from our relationship with Jesus Christ may serve to convict them in their sinful behavior. We do this not to condemn them but to hopefully plant the seed of faith in others so that the Holy Spirit may nurture that seed and harvest their good fruit.

In the ancient Church thousands came to know Jesus Christ because they witness the effect a relationship with Him left upon His believers. If we have a desire to evangelize, which we should since it was a commandment of Christ Himself, then our best evangelism is a life of peace, hope, love and joy coming from our communion with God.

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