Date: Saturday, October 6
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:13-22
Verse: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that it is you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.” (1Peter 3:15b-16)
Years ago a friend was talking to me about a feud he was having with his neighbor. Fences were built, arguments occurred in the streets, I believe there was even a small claims court case. It was ugly. The neighbor knew my friend was a Christian and sometimes used his faith in attempts to guilt him into being a doormat.
One day my friend came to me furious about something the neighbor had done. He began to fantasize ways of getting revenge. I thought this was healthy until he seemed to be talking himself into following through with one of his fantasies. I then began to ask how he wanted to represent himself and, more importantly, Christ to his neighbor. Good thing we were good friends, because this was not the conversation he wanted to have.
Many seem to hear verse 15 but ignore 16. We are called to be ready to defend our faith, but to do so with gentleness and reverence. When reading further in the passage, we hear it is even preferable to suffer than to be rude, arrogant, or hurtful to others when defending ourselves.
My friend took the high road, by absorbing much of the abuse. May we become better at sharing the love of Jesus, but may we always defend our faith in ways that make Jesus proud.
Prayer: Give me the strength to be a bold, but gentle and reverent, person of faith. Amen.
Action: Begin to think of those in your life with whom you would like to share the love of Jesus. Prepare that “ready defense,” so when the evanglizable moment arrives, you will be ready.
Join us in worship tomorrow at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church for worship at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00am as Pastor Bob will be preaching a sermon called “The Jesus Presenters.”