Standing strong in your faith can be challenging, especially in a culture that may not always support or understand your beliefs. But I want to encourage you today to take heart!
The Word of God offers a powerful guide on how to live as a Christian in any situation. For example, the book of 1 Peter is focused almost entirely on unjust Christian suffering. Listen to 1 Peter using our free Courage For Life app featuring our all-female-voiced audio Bible.
Peter, the disciple of Jesus, wrote this letter to believers facing persecution and hardships throughout the Roman Empire. Persecution was beginning to increase for new followers of Jesus, and Peter was writing to encourage them to stand strong in their faith.
His letter reminds us we can find strength and hope in Jesus despite our trials. First Peter is full of practical advice and encouragement to help you stand strong in your faith like this:
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:13-17 (NLT)
Like Peter’s audience, we live in a culture that opposes our worldview. Still, we should be able to articulate the reason for our faith – what we believe and why we believe it.
Couched in this passage is the keystone verse for Christian apologetics – 1 Peter 3:15. Another version (ESV) translates the verse this way:
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
This passage answers many questions about the practice of Christian apologetics.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy
Sharing your faith with others is an opportunity to honor Christ and approach your relationship with Him with awe and reverence. This verse underscores this sentiment as you “honor Christ the Lord as holy.” In the original Greek, the phrase “honor as holy” (ἁγιάσατε) implies holding someone or something in the highest regard, a sense of awe and respect that is often associated with worship. This sense of reverence is echoed in the Lord’s Prayer when you ask that God’s name be “hallowed” or honored as holy. To read more about the Lord’s prayer, check out our blog, How Jesus Taught Us to Pray.
As you strive to share what you believe with others, approach it with humility and respect. It is important to remember that sharing your faith is not just an intellectual exercise where you answer questions and objections to the faith but a matter of the heart, which only God can change. The Greek word translated as “hearts” (καρδίαις) refers not just to emotions but to the very core of our being. Therefore, before you share with someone else, ask yourself: is Jesus truly the Lord of every aspect of my life?
WHEN TO SHARE
always being prepared to make a defense
It is crucial to know the truth if you want to defend the truth of the gospel. You can strive to grow your understanding of your faith by seeking to deepen your knowledge of God’s Word. Grounding yourself in what you believe and why you believe it can help you share it with others more effectively. By truly understanding the gospel, you will be ready to give a reason for your hope in Jesus.
The Greek word translated as “always” (ἀεὶ) means invariably or in every case or on every occasion – so literally, always! Always aim to be prepared to share the gospel with others, trusting that the Holy Spirit will use your words to draw others closer to Him.
WITH WHOM TO SHARE
to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you
Stay alert and prepared to engage with the world around you, recognizing that the culture in which you live is increasingly skeptical of the truth claims of Christianity. Eagerly welcome opportunities to connect with people from all walks of life, from friends and neighbors to strangers. You can approach every interaction with others as an opportunity to share your love and hope in Jesus. Be willing to engage in difficult conversations and answer tough questions gracefully and with compassion – even if it means admitting that you don’t know something or need to study something further.
As you build genuine relationships with those around you, you will be able to share the gospel in a way that is authentic and relevant to the lives of others. Aim to be sensitive to the needs and struggles of those you meet, showing them the same love and compassion Christ has shown you. By doing so, you can be confident that your words and actions will draw others closer to Him.
HOW TO SHARE
yet do it with gentleness and respect.
As a follower of Jesus, you can approach discussions about your faith with humility and an open mind. It’s essential to recognize that your own understanding of truth is limited and imperfect. However, you can still share the perfect love and truth of God with others.
Apologetics is more than having all the answers! It’s about showing others love and compassion so they can encounter the truth of the gospel and be transformed by it. Remember, these conversations are not about winning arguments but helping others discover a relationship with God that can bring them lasting joy and hope.
Watch the LIVE REPLAY to hear more about apologetics and how you can give a reasoned defense for the truth claims of Christianity. Join us LIVE every Monday at 3 p.m. ET on @GodGivesCourage Instagram for our Spiritual Growth Series and check back here on Tuesdays for the companion blog post.