Gently and respectfully explain your hope in Jesus!

Scripture:
And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! – 1 Peter 3:15-17

Observation:
Peter warns us all that there will be suffering in our walk with Jesus if that is what God wants for us at a given point in time. It’s not a bad thing to suffer for the kingdom of heaven and be used of this world to bring glory to God. He tells us that we have a hope in Jesus because he is alive and sits at God’s right hand, and we are to tell people about our hope but in a gentle and respectful manner. When we do this, it will shame those see that we live a good life because we belong to Christ.

Application:
It’s September 1, 2015, and there is a sister in Christ in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples because she believes it violates her faith in God. She has been civilly disobedient and defied the federal government’s demands to issue these documents in accordance with the confines and responsibilities of her position as a county clerk. As much as I admire her “stand” for what she believes, she has made a mockery of the faith and discredit our Lord. How you ask? Because she makes her stand in the wrong manner. If her beliefs are so strong that she cannot and will not issue these documents, then she need to remove herself from this position.

She may be right in her belief that homosexual unions are in direct opposition to God’s Law and standard, but it’s the manner in which she does things. She gets loud and obnoxious with those who violate God’s standard and demands they leave the premises or face the authorities. What kind of example is she setting to these unbelievers, sinners, with her reactions and explanations for her refusal to issue these documents to homosexuals! According to Peter and even more so from God the Holy Spirit in this letter we should respect those who disagree with our faith and actually show them the love of Jesus in the hope that they will realize their shame for treating a believer rashly and come to repentance. The likelihood of a homosexual couple actually doing that is probably slim to none, but everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s standard and hence have a need or a Savior, regardless of their sin!

Therefore, let us learn to be respectful and loving of others, for we have to remember the words of the Spirit through the apostle Paul also, “We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against the spiritual wickedness in high places.” You have to keep in mind that our mission is not to complicate the lives of others around us but to actually love them as we love ourselves and thereby fulfill the requirements of God’s standard and show people that having a relationship with God lived out in obedience to him is a good thing! We cannot control the actions of other people, but we do have a choice as to how we act or react to them. Do you want a good reputation which is more valuable than precious stones or metals? Or do you want to be known as the one who made a stand for your beliefs but was wrong all the way through the process and accomplish nothing but showing the world a greater reason why they don’t want to be God’s children – hypocrisy! It’s the number one reason why sinners refuse to be a part of the family. They see us doing the same things they do and wonder why they should be a part of something that looks, smells, and is no different from them. Get the point?!? You should! Granted the homosexuals are full of hypocrisy in they how they treat others, but the whole scene is chaos! This is not God-honoring in anyway!

Prayer:
Father, thank you for giving me the audacity and backbone of steel to stand up and declare the truth of your Word, for I’m not ashamed of the Good News of Jesus, which the power of life to them that believe! I will make a stand and be bold for your kingdom but not in such a fashion that it detracts from your glory or your kingdom! You lead us and teach us through your Holy Spirit, who wants us to reflect your glory in the earth! Jesus gave us the example of being meek and lowly and loving others while we walk out this life, yet there are those who in their ignorance make a mess of trying to do right. Help them to see the error of their way and teach them the proper way of standing strong and not bowing to the whims and ways of the enemy, Lucifer, not our fellow-man. I love you Dad! You are all that I need and all that I want. I want to do you proud! May your glory shine in me like a beacon from a lighthouse. Your will be done, not ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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