Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wanderings of Purpose

     The origins of this blog's title is, obviously, from 1 Peter 3:15: 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, yet with gentleness and reverence [NASB]. I am well aware that this is not an "original" or "exciting" blog title. However, nestled in the heart of the verse that inspired this blog is the word defense ("answer" in some translations). The word "defense" in this verse is derived from the Greek word apologia which is the word which we derive  the term apologetics from.  This verse is teaching us that we should always be ready to defend the faith and give reason for the hope that is within us, but the verse ends, "with gentleness and reverence" or "with meekness and fear" in the King James.
     In this verse we are encouraged to defend our faith and give answers to those who ask. Certainly this would include giving well-reasoned, logical answers to those who question our faith and its legitimacy. However, we are encouraged to defend the faith with gentleness and reverence. This qualification may be the most difficult part of this verse for the Christian, particularly in a world that seems to be increasing the intensity with which it attacks religious faith. I know in the past that this was my biggest failure. I could articulate the faith reasonably well, but if anyone questioned my faith in what I perceived to be a hostile way, I would get very defensive and lose my composure. The very opposite thing this verse tells us to do.
     Even though I could give logical and sound reasons for faith in Christ, I did it with a wrong attitude. This is where it will do well for us, as Christians, to focus our energy. We may have the truth and excellent arguments for faith, but if we attack those who question us, or respond to an attack in kind, we have already lost the apologetic.God never calls us to be critics, but lovingly present God's truths. Christ has not called us to win arguments but to point people to Himself. This is the very foundation of apologetics. We are to dialogue with doubters, non-believers, and attackers with love, respect and humility. Christ has the power to change hearts and transform lives, but if we, his messengers, fail to speak that transforming truth in love and with compassion, then we have lost the battle.
     I want what is written here, in this blog, to be informational and intellectually enlightening. Though, more than that I want it to be jarring and make those that read these pages to sit back and consider the apologetic they are living. We, as believers, have the powerful responsibility to represent Christ, not just in our words, but in our lives and actions. Are we? Until we can begin to answer in our own lives the questions that others ask of us, and until we start living in a way that is consistent with authentic Christian faith, then we will never be the messengers of Grace that we are supposed to be. Living our faith is the most powerful apologetic of all.
     May God richly bless and keep you.

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