Devotional: April 26, 2021
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad.
First Peter 3: 14-17 The Message
As Christians, we know we are supposed to share the good news about Jesus. Yet what is the best way to do so? These verses from the first letter of Peter give us some helpful advice on how to share our faith in a positive and winsome manner.
First, the best evangelism happens when people notice how we are living. Actions speak louder than words, and hopefully our positive actions pique curiosity in people outside the faith. People may be drawn in by our hope, when others have given in to hopelessness. Peter assumes that his readers will eventually be asked about their distinctive and faithful way of living. When that happens, he encourages them to be ready to offer an answer. Could you, in a few words, talk about why Jesus is important to you? Would you be able to speak of how He enriches your life?
Second, when sharing our faith, we need to do so “with utmost courtesy… always!” In a world where rude, insulting, and “in-your-face” communication seems to be the norm, we must always be courteous. Giving our best for Christ means using our best manners, and showing respect for the other person. I can still remember hearing one church official lament at a conference, “So many of us have been exposed to really horrendous examples of how not to do evangelism!” He shared that once his wife opened their door to some neighboring evangelists who told her that she was going to die soon, so needed to make things right with her maker. What these people did not know was that she had cancer. Thankfully, she was already a woman of faith, but what if she hadn’t been? The sledgehammer approach is never effective.
Third, realize that sometimes you can do everything right, and still experience suffering. Even the best evangelism efforts can meet resistance, and outright hostility. Be prepared for that possibility. The important thing is how you respond. Never respond with hostility or insults. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to be silent and do nothing. Still holding the situation in prayer, but not stooping down to their level. Never do anything which you would not want God to see. Like Peter says, “Keep a clear conscience.”
We never know when we will be asked about our faith. Therefore, it makes sense to be ready when someone asks. We prepare through prayer, studying the scriptures, and reflecting on our journeys with Christ. When we realize that what people really want to hear is us honestly sharing from our heart, we are more likely to walk towards those conversations, rather than away. When we are asked, may our answers be filled with respectful courtesy, so that we may represent Christ well. Remember, He is always with us!
Lord of all,
Sometimes I feel very inadequate when it comes to matters of spirituality, particularly sharing my faith with others. Thank you for the written Word, which can guide me and lead me in all interactions with others. Help me to be looking for opportunities to share You with people who come across my path. May I always do so with honesty, and with the utmost respect. I pray this prayer in Your Holy name. Amen.