"A Prepared Heart, a Ready Answer"
A good friend of ours recently preached a message on readiness. He began his discourse with I Peter 3:15:
"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."
Being ready is a common Biblical theme. The Apostle Peter also provides the basis upon which we properly prepare, namely, by sanctifying or setting apart the Lord in our hearts. This means that He occupies the hallowed place of which He alone is worthy. We must think of Him rightly and devote ourselves to Him accordingly if we are to be effectively bear witness to the reason we hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. The ongoing question of our lives thus becomes, Do we know and are we growing in the realization that Christ alone fills and fulfills our hearts? We must build this spiritual altar deeply within, and then visit it often to remember and affirm the truth expressed by Moses, "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20).
The sanctifying of God in our hearts begins with the affirmation that the Lord Jesus alone forms and informs our reason for hope regarding salvation. "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God and not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). We then proceed to trust Christ for living a life of faith and faithfulness, "being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11). Finally, we join the Psalmist in his confession regarding the future: "My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5). God is our destination for this day and forevermore. He is with us as we journey, and will be there when we arrive. Such confidence in the Lord Jesus regarding past, present, and future prepares us to give our personal answer in the power of God's Spirit, and the conviction of a testimony forged in the purifying fires of discovering Christ alone as the Life of our lives and the hope of our hearts.
Our sphere of influence requires our readiness to "give an answer." Such readiness requires our determination of faith whereby we "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" regarding every aspect of life (Hebrews 12:2). Thereby a pure testimony comes forth illuminated with God's grace and truth in Christ. May we "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," and may our verbal witness flow from a heart that echoes the hymnodist's confession: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness! I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name! On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!" (II Peter 3:18).
"I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only."
Weekly Memory Verse
To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.