“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts—and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the Hope that is in you with meekness and fear—having a good conscience, that, whereas, they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

I Peter 3:15-16

When it’s been cleansed by and consecrated to Christ, we need never wonder if the Heavenly Father will be pleased with us and what we do.

“The good conscience.”

Years ago one of the most delightful children’s books and movies was Pinocchio—the story of a wooden puppet who came to life.  Interestingly, he had a propensity for adventure and lying.  But, one day he was given a little helper named Jiminy Cricket to assist him in knowing and doing right-and-wrong.  And, Pinocchio was instructed to “give a little whistle when he got in trouble and didn’t know what to do and shout ‘Jiminy Cricket’!”

While humorous, most likely, there are times we wish the Holy Spirit would give us some verbal or tangible warning when we’re about to do wrong.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have Him hiding in your pocket or sitting on your shoulder, going “No, no, no” when you’re about to give in to temptation?

Most assuredly it would.

But, the Heavenly Father has chosen instead for His Spirit to indwell us and to “convict (convince) us of sin, the need of Righteousness and Judgment to come” (Jn. 16:8-11).  And, this can only happen as we “sanctify (Grk. ‘hagiazo’—‘to make holy, purify, consecrate, hallow, etc.’) God in our hearts.”  Or, another way to put it is “By letting Christ be #1 in our lives and allowing Him to sit on the throne of our hearts as we willingly yield to Him.”

This spiritual “ever-readiness” will ensure that we are “always ready to give an answer (Grk. ‘apologia’—‘reason, plea, defense, give an account of, etc.’) of the reason of the Hope that resides within us.”  Simply put, it’s our “Christian apologetics” or “defense of the faith.”  Even though you may not have been trained in theology or are a Biblical scholar, you can still be like the blind man whom Jesus healed, who said “This one thing I know:  I was blind, but now I see!” (Jn. 9:25).  Hallelujah!!

There is a word of caution here, however:

Such response to others’ questions or attacks should always be done “with meekness (Grk. ‘prautes’—‘mildness, gentleness, humility, etc.’) and fear.”  We should refrain from short, critical, sarcastic responses, debate or efforts to justify or vindicate—for such reactions are rooted in fleshly anger and/or pride.

You cannot reason with someone whose mind is closed, whose mantra is “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.”  Much better is to let your consistent lifestyle refute their accusations and your quiet, Christlike demeanor “convict them and make them ashamed for falsely accusing you.”

June 21, 2011