1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” It’s a reminder to us as Christians of two things. The first being to always be prepared to share the good news of Jesus with anyone who asks, but also that we should live out our lives in a way that people want to ask. I’m sure you’ve been to a store, or perhaps worked in one, where the employees wear shirts or badges that say something like, “Ask me how you can save 20% off your purchase today.” It’s basically a way to advertise their store credit card or some other promotion. In the same way, we should carry on our lives in such a way that we ourselves are a walking advertisement for Christ.
… the hope you have…
There’s a reason why if you were to wear a red shirt and khakis to Target you’ll have plenty of people walking up to you asking you questions about the store. It’s because you’re wearing the uniform of one of their workers. Christianity comes with its own uniform that we as Christians are asked to put on so that we stand out to others. This is what Jesus means when he says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden,” in Matthew 5:14. We are to live our lives to stand out. In the same chapter he says we’re the salt of the earth. Salt has a unique property of making things taste like it. If you add too much salt to your soup you say, “man, this soup is salty,” but if you were to add too little salt would you say, “man, this salt is too soupy?” Of course not, because salt makes things taste like salt. In the same way we are to make change the world around us, not be changed by it. The way we live our lives is the uniform that we put on to advertise to the world, “Ask me about Jesus!” There are people in my life that I know of who are without a doubt dedicated Christ followers. They don’t even need to tell you that they are a Christian, because you just know based on how they live their lives. They are so radically different from the world around them that the only answer is that something has changed their hearts. That is the way we all should live, so here’s a question for you. Do you live in such a way that people can know you’re a Christian without you saying anything? Here’s a good way to test it. Ask yourself, how was your life different before you met Christ? Now, I realize this only works if you have accepted Christ closer to adulthood, but it’s still a great question for those who have. If you can’t say that there is any real difference in your life from before you were a Christian to now, then the only thing that has changed is how you spend your Sundays and not your heart. There’s no point in preparing an answer for a question no one is going to ask you. If that’s where you’re at today then you need to seriously pray to God and get in His word and figure out what things in your life need to change.
Always be prepared to give an answer…
After you start living your life in a manner where people want to ask you, “why,” you then have to be ready to give them an answer. I often find that Christians are usually a little thrown off by this question. I know that I am occasionally caught off guard by it. Why do you live this way? Why are you so loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and controlled? It’s hard sometimes to give a good and concise answer to this question. It would be easy to simply blurt out, “Jesus”, but that doesn’t normally satisfy people. You also can’t just say that you’re a Christian because, unfortunately, not everyone’s experiences with Christians are positive ones. So, what are you supposed to say? Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for you because your reason for believing in the hope of Christ is going to be completely unique to you. I often get asked why I believe probably more often than most people because of my job, so I’ve had plenty of time to work out why I believe. My answer is simple, because it’s true.
If you’ve watched any of the newer Star Wars movies then you may be familiar with a particular scene where Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, makes a startling confession. Han has lived most of his life doubting the existence of the Force, Jedi, the Sith, and everything that comes with it. In the earlier movies he admits that it’s all just hokey ancient religion, but he changes his tune in the newer trilogy. He finally accepts that it’s real. With awe in his voice and what seems like a mixture of fear and wonder he says, “It’s true, all of it.” That’s the same with me. I knew about Jesus and God and church as I was growing up, but eventually as I lived through life I came to realize that these things we were talking about were really true. Jesus really was the Son of God, who really did die for all humanity, so that we could be reunited with a God who really did love us and did create us. The more I pulled on the strings to unravel the story, the more I found how it was all woven together. It’s all simply true and that’s why I believe. I believe in Jesus because it’s the truth just like I believe that the sun is real. It’s simply the truth.
Now your answer will be different than mine, and that is completely acceptable. In fact, it’s preferable. Not everyone is going to accept my answer, but they might accept yours. You just have to reach deep down and ask yourself why you believe. Is it because it’s just what you’ve been taught since you were a child? Is it because you had a “Damascus road” experience like Paul where you can point to one event in your life that convinced you without a doubt that Jesus is real? Maybe you just prefer living your life in a manner where Jesus is real and is in control of the universe, because you refuse to believe that nothing is in control. I can’t tell you why you believe. That is something only you can do, but let me encourage you to take some time this week to figure it out, because if you’re living your life right, someone is going to ask. What are you going to tell them?