The reason for my hope

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Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, 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.  1 Peter 3:15-16

Before we do anything, we need to remember who is Lord – Jesus. He alone is the one to whom every knee will eventually bow. If we’ve truly grasped this, and allowed him to be the pre-eminent one in our lives, we can be freed from inappropriate fear of other people. We should have a visible hope that prompts others to question ‘why?’. This hope is not false optimism or unrealistic idealism, but a steady, unshakeable certainty that God is in control and nothing that happens in this life is beyond his control or outside his will.

We need to be able to explain this hope clearly, gently and with respect for the other person’s point of view. There is no need to be loud, forceful or defensive – God’s truth is powerful and effective and it will work even when we feel rather inadequate!

We need to be living for an audience of One. The opinions of other should factor pretty low! Too often we are kept silent by fear of what others think. It is also good to study, discuss together and consider how to explain our faith and how to counteract misunderstanding.

I’d recommend Tim Keller’s book, The Reason For God, as a possible starting point if you feel ill-equipped to counter the criticisms that people have of Christianity.

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