Virtually everything that is done well requires an amount of preparation. Webster’s defines preparation as “the action or process of making something ready for use, or service, or getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty.” Week in and week out, we prepare. Business projects, little league practice and weekend fishing trips all require preparation. It’s part of life.
Yet, in spite of that fact, many believers fail to adequately prepare for one of the most crucial spiritual tasks God has given us. While we are busy preparing in every other area of life, we never really prepare ourselves to give an answer to our community. Often, this lack of preparation reflects skewed priorities in our lives. Unfortunately, it is not until the opportunity arises to share our faith or answer an inquiring friend that we realize we are not as prepared as we think we are.
Our generation has unique challenges that we must be ready to confront. Our culture increasingly looks at Christianity with hostile eyes. It is biblically illiterate, and relativistic in its thinking. Pluralism is the religion of the day. We must be ready to answer THIS generation, not that of the 1950s.
As we consider answering our generation, 1 Peter 3:15-16gives us some direction as to the kind of preparations we need to make.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh 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.
First, the text says we must prepare our hearts. Verse 15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. . . .” This is a call to treat Christ as holy. In other words, Jesus must reign supreme in your heart. To use a common cliché, you must be “sold out to Him.” By the way, the word “sanctify” is an imperative, indicating that this is a command, a non-negotiable, not a mere suggestion. Here’s the deal: If you and I are going to give an answer to our generation it all starts with our own personal lives. We’ll never be the kind of influence for the kingdom of God that we should until we are submitting to Christ’s rule in our hearts.
In the coming posts we’ll continue to examine the kinds of preparations we need to make in order to answer our generation.