Growing up, I was very involved in Boy Scouts. I loved to go camping and learn about nature. I also learned that the Boy Scout motto was “be prepared”. The purpose was to instill into scouts the idea that we are better able to handle surprises and unplanned events when we’ve undertaken preparations ahead of time. It’s an important lesson that also applies to our walk as believers.
One of the most effective ways for us to influence unbelievers is through our actions. Followers of Jesus should be acting different than those who are pursuing their own goals and dreams. In this verse Peter points out that one of our distinctives should be our unwavering hope in spite of our immediate circumstances. Followers of Jesus have an amazing life ahead that will last throughout eternity which should bring us hope, even in the midst of struggle in this world. As we display that hope, it gets the attention of those around us.
Therefore, we should periodically encounter someone who asks us about the reason for the difference they see in our life. In order to make the most out of this opportunity, it is very helpful to have an idea ahead of time what to say.
One way to become prepared is to imagine yourself in a specific situation in which someone at work asks why you always seem so positive and cheerful.
Peter tells us that we should respond to those questions with ‘gentleness and respect’. Gentleness is demonstrated in an answer that is warm and loving. Respect is shown in an answer that is short and to the point.
Our goal should be that they leave the interaction drawn more to Christ. No doubt questions will remain, but we must be careful to not push too much information at one time. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict them and show the emptiness of their life without Christ. Our role is to exhibit what a Christ-filled life is really like.
Prayer: Lord help me to display true joy today in spite of what may happen so that the light of Christ can shine through me.