We have been walking with Peter and learning from him on what it means to be called, chosen, elected. Along with this status trials come into our life that we may proclaim the power of the name of Jesus to unbelievers. Now for the piece’ de resistance: Peter says learn from me on how to interact with unbelievers. “When I followed Jesus into the courtyard my wayward tongue and my lack of defense caused me to sin as I denied the Lord himself.” Peter gives three commands so that we do not have to follow in his sinful footsteps or do another lap around the wilderness. If there is one thing Peter learned it was this: never look back except to use your failures as wisdom training to those who are carrying the torch now. It is as if Peter is looking us in the eye and saying this is what I wish I had done and what I want you to do:
- Set apart/sanctify the Lord in your hearts. Allow Jesus to live and rule in your heart domain. I was boastful, proud and slept rather than being in a mode of prayer. Thus, when temptation came I flunked the test.
- Be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. I am telling you to be prepared when you are “asked.” There are times to evangelize but I am focusing in on you who are being persecuted. I learned after standing before the religious council that those who will be your persecutors want to ask questions. They hope to dethrone Jesus in our hearts. But, if you are prepared their power diminishes and God gets the glory.
- Be courteous and respectful. When you are persecuted always remember that if they should ever come to believe you may stand next to them in eternity so treat them with dignity as Christ did. Keep a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. Their questions may one day lead to their eternal decision for Christ.
In the book of Acts we see the fruit of his lesson. He addressed his listeners with respect, gave his defense using scripture and trusted his defense to the Lord whom he had promised that he would love to the death.
Beloved, where are you in your walk of faith? Today if unbelievers should ask why you live, behave and respond as you do what would be your answer?