READ : 1 Peter 3:8-22
Always be ready to make your defense . . . (v. 15 NRSV)
Among the finest students I have ever taught are the brave and zealous men and women from the great African country of Uganda. The names of Stephen, Titus, Millie, Latimer, Asaph, and many more rise from my lips heavenward with great regularity. I pray for them, often through my tears, because they live in the same kind of world Peter lived in. The gospel in Peter's day was a minority report and often met with violent resistance. It is little wonder then that Peter counsels his beloved to “always be ready to make your defense,” and to do so “with gentleness and reverence” (vv. 15-16).
While only the Spirit of the Lord can open the heart of an unbeliever, by speaking clearly and sensibly we can participate with the Spirit's work in another's heart. When you look retrospectively at how the Lord has worked in your life to bring you to himself, undoubtedly a sensible pattern will emerge and it needs to be shared with others. And when you do share that story with others, do it gently because the Spirit will provide the necessary force so you don't have to.
When was the last time you attempted to share the gospel with an unbelieving friend? If you don't do it, who will? Always be ready to make your defense for the glory of God and the eternal well-being of a neighbor, whether friend or enemy.
Open my lips, Lord, so I can make my defense of why and how I belong to you!