1 Peter 3; Jeremiah 35-36; Psalm 136
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” (1 Peter 3:15-16 NKJV)
Peter begins chapter 3 talking about developing inner character instead of outer beauty. Then, he drifted back into the issue of persecution. How should Christians respond to persecution? We begin by developing and growing our relationship with the Lord. We seek Him. We put Him in first place in our lives, We study His word. We pray. We do the kinds of things that Jesus would do. Then, we’re ready to give a defense to others about our hope – in other words, we need to be ready to share our faith. We need to do so in meekness and fear. That sounds out of place, until we realize that the word translated as “meekness” is used to describe a tame horse. The short version of that then means that we share with the power God has given us, but under His control. Our fear comes from concern for the people we share our hope with. We should fear not what they can do to us, but what their eternity will be like should they reject God’s love. All this leads to continuing to lead lives that honor God and the knowledge that those who defame us now, will one day be ashamed.
How has your relationship with God grown recently? My main purpose in writing these devotionals is to help you grow in that relationship. If you read the Bible passages, you’ll read the Bible through in a year. I hope the devotionals help you think about what God’s doing in your life, but even more so, I hope that as you read the Bible passages, God will bring things to mind that I don’t touch on. The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher. One thing that’s missing here is a more in-depth Bible study. While I’m working on plans to provide something like that, Nothing’s stopping you from studying God’s word even more deeply on your own. The purpose of all of these things is to help you grow in your faith as I share how God is working in me to help me grow in my faith. Ultimately, the purpose is that we all will be ready to share the reason for the hope that is within us: a hope that springs not from our greatness, but from the greatness of the God we serve.
Lord, thank You for the hope that we have of a relationship with You. Thank You for the hope of an amazing life on this earth and the most fantastic life we could imagine in heaven. Work on me so that I’ll be ready to share this hope with others, and then give me opportunity to do that.