But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect – 1 Peter 3:15 NIV. All followers of Jesus are familiar with these words. But are we able to do what Peter is calling us to do? We asked some actual young people what this means to them.
The Reason For The Hope That You Have
We’re never called to convince somebody else of the hope that we have. It’s not our job – and it’s important that we understand this because this is why people get so offended by Christians and their evangelism styles. People always talk about Bible thumpers, or trying to beat people over the head with the Bible, and that’s not what we’re called to do. What Peter says is that we’re supposed to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies where? In us. The New English Translation (NET) makes the point a little more clearly (emphasis added):
But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.
The hope that we possess. That is what we need to be ready to give an answer for. That’s it. We are not instructed to preach, plead, drag, force, inquisition, or crusade people into the Kingdom. In fact, we can’t convert anyone; only God can. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow – 1 Cor. 3:6,7 NLT
And the beauty in that is that this leaves no room for boasting on our part.
Please note that we are not implying that Christians are to merely wait around for somebody to ask them for the reason for the hope they have. Far be it! Paul says clearly that he planted the seed and Apollos watered it. That sure seems to be stated as an example of what we are to do as well. So, please, no comments claiming that we are advocating sitting idly and waiting. We believe that we have a solid track record of emphatically stating otherwise. Thanks.
Your Youth Challenge Today
We had the opportunity to challenge real youth in the studio with the question: “What convinces you that Jesus really is the son of God, that he lived; he died; and he was risen from the dead and so can you?”
Matt, who is 20 years old, answered, “It’s pretty simple: Peace. I have such an overwhelming sense of peace about God’s love for us. And I can’t earn it.” He continues, “God’s grace and mercy says that we are alright. And through that peace my actions will show everybody [Jesus in my life.]”
15 year old Dylan says, “We all have a purpose [in Jesus]. It’s the belief that we have [that gives us hope].”
They gave us the reason for the hope that they possess. Can you? This is your Youth Challenge Today.
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This video is an excerpt of Youth Challenge Today episode 20 – our on-demand audio podcast.