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1 Peter 3:14-15

11 Mar

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be in dread, 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, but with gentleness and respect;

1 Peter 3:14-15

Dear God, I was having lunch with someone last week and the subject of persecution of Christians in America came up. When he complained about it, I was able to push back a little and challenge the idea that we are really persecuted. I think we call the wrong what is happening “persecution,” when reality is that we are losing our influence because our sheer numbers are declining, and, therefore, people are not as apt to go along with our opinions and do things there way. As Christians in American society, we have been in the dominant position for so long that we have a visceral reaction to the society doing things differently that we do.

So, if, on a scale of 1-10 we call this a persecution at a stage 1 or 2, what should be our response? It seems that our temptation is to try to grasp onto that power and influence and not lose it. We make it our idol and start to ignore relationship with you. We start to look to you as more our philosophy and as something to defend. Then we look to political leaders who tell us they will defend us/you. And we start to buy into the idea that you are a God that needs defended. Peter tells us here what we are defending. We aren’t defending you to society. We aren’t trying to claim societal power and influence in your name. He tells us we need to be prepared to defend the hope that is in us. We need to be ready to explain it, share it, and then let the chips fall where they may. And when we do this, we need to do it with gentleness and respect.

Father, I have been convicted lately that I am just not good at this. I am better at talking to others about the virtual cycling program I use than I am about you. Even the words I use are words I should be using for you. Words like “changed my life,” “I do it almost every day,” and “best thing I ever did.” How backwards is that. So help me to share my story of joy and peace in you more bluntly and proudly because you are the hope in me. But help me to do it with gentleness and respect. And do it all for your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2021 in 1 Peter

 

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