“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15
Since its inception, the Boy Scout motto has been, “Be Prepared.” It is one of the most well-known parts of the Boy Scout manual found on page 19 in the 1967 edition.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have as our manual the Word of God with its admonitions to stand firm, to be prepared, to be ready always, to run the race, and to finish the course.
1 Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
Here, Peter offers us four disciplines we need to accomplish our preparation:
- We are to prepare spiritually by sanctifying the Lord in our hearts.
- We are to prepare scripturally by always being ready to answer.
- We are to prepare intellectually by communicating the reason for our hope.
- We are to prepare by being Spirit-led in our communication with gentleness and reverence.
First, to prepare spiritually, we are to “sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts.” To sanctify means to set apart or to consecrate. When Christ is Lord of our hearts, we will yield our will to His will, our way to His way. Our time, talents, and treasures are His. We will commit to following Christ regardless of what those around might say or do toward us. Our allegiance is totally to Christ. Nothing else matters.
Three of our greatest challenges to sanctifying Christ as Lord are:
- The world with its pressures to conform.
- The flesh—the carnal nature within that continually wars against the Spirit for dominance.
- The devil—our adversary with all his diversionary schemes.
Secondly, we are to prepare scripturally by being always ready to give an answer or a defense. In Psalm 119:11, David wrote, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Again in Psalm 119:105, David declared that the word was a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that the Word of God is “living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). To know the Word of God is to have the power of God at our fingertips. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He rebuked Satan with the power of the Word. We prepare scripturally by knowing the Word.
Third, we are to prepare intellectually by being able to explain the reason for our hope. We must first be fully assured of our own salvation, our own hope before we can communicate that truth to anyone else. We must be able to give an answer to those who ask why we live and believe the way we do. We must be able to give the right answer regarding our hope. A hope that Peter describes in 1 Peter 1:3 as a “living hope” founded and grounded in a “living Lord.”
In 2004, a group of us from First Dallas were on a mission trip in Russia. We visited many orphanages while in Russia, but I will never forget one particular orphanage where we visited. We were meeting with the doctor who was the head of the orphanage. As he explained to us how all these little ones came to be at the orphanage, one member of our group asked that doctor what hope these children have. The doctor paused for what seemed like a long minute of deep thought, then he simply said, with great heaviness in his voice, “There is no hope.” But for those of us in Christ we do have hope! We have a Living Hope! We must be prepared to communicate that hope to a world that has no hope!
Finally, Peter exhorts us that our communication must be Spirit-led. Truth is most effectively shared under the control of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:16–26, Paul presents the characteristic difference between being controlled or led by the Spirit and being controlled or led by the flesh. When we are controlled by the flesh, we won’t find gentleness or reverence present. Communicate under the control of the Spirit and listeners will be drawn to the truth that is presented with gentleness and reverence.
We must sanctify Christ as Lord in our lives. Follow Him in faith and obedience.
Be prepared! Be ready!
Make certain that you are not only prepared to meet Jesus one day but that you are always prepared to give an answer for the hope in Christ Jesus that you have.
Questions for Thought
- When we meet someone who needs to hear our story, are we prepared to share? Are we prepared to share Jesus’ story?
- When you talk to people about Jesus, do you do so with gentleness, reverence, grace, and truth? If not, how can you become more Spirit-led in your communication?
Associate Executive Pastor, Special Projects
After serving in the Tennessee Air National Guard and working for a telephone company in Chattanooga, Ron Cresswell joined the First Baptist Church Staff in 1985 as the Church Electrician. 20 years later, in 2005, he became the Minister of Facility Management, and in 2023, he became Associate Executive Pastor, Special Projects. In his spare time, he has completed two degrees from Criswell College, B.A.B.S. and M.A. in Ministry, and he is passionate about evangelism and outreach. He and his late wife, Pam, have two sons and six granddaughters.