S180P6 – The signs of the righteous: ready with an answer

1 Pet. 3:13‭-‬16

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.  “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”  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.

It could be said that their town was a place of faith, but there were many different kinds of faith there.  Only those who followed the Lord had a problem with this.  Those of the other faiths were perfectly fine with their neighbors following whoever they chose.  Each worshiped the god he or she wanted, and no one minded, but the Christians wanted their neighbors to consider their Lord.  Many wondered why they tried so hard to push their beliefs on others when that made others avoid them or worse.  When asked, those Christians would suffer their ridicule gladly and respond simply.  Their hearts broke at seeing others misled by a lie when they knew the freedom of the truth.

A common scene for new believers is having to explain or justify the reason for their new conviction of faith.  Considering that following Christ inherently brings a drastic change in one’s way of life, many will watch and not understand.  Particularly in our early days of walking in righteousness, questions will be asked, and we will need to give answers.  We should be able to articulate why we believe what we believe.  The answer does not need to be complex or full of scriptural references.  Sometimes, all someone knows of the Lord is the experience of that salvation encounter with him, and that might be all it takes to get the point across.  The important thing is having a platform of faith on which to stand.

These conversations can be difficult.  Some will ask about our faith not out of genuine curiosity but out of derision.  Others will expect that we recite passages of scripture to support every nuance of our faith and confidence.  For the righteous, these are opportunities for ministry even when they present themselves as adversarial exchanges.  Our testimony should be at the forefront of our minds, but it need not be some rehearsed speech.  We only need know why we believe in the Lord and have determined to walk in his ways.  Father, remind us daily why we have chosen to follow You despite our suffering for the sake of righteousness.