“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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Picture this: a stranger asks, “Are you a Christian?”
A simple “yes” or “no” is cheating. So what is it? Do you know God intimately enough to be compelled to passionately communicate your love for him?
Most of my life, I certainly wasn’t. The problem was, I had no idea how to change my position. I felt bad about my distance from God, but it seemed to me the same as feeling bad about world hunger, or the AIDS epidemic. I was powerless, wasn’t I?
Turns out, no, I wasn’t.
Because the truth is that, if we’re not feeling close to God, it’s not his fault, but ours.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably read the verses above multiple times and not thought a whole lot about them. But 1 Peter 3:15 is actually the key to unlocking your passion for God—so how about we take a closer look at it?
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.”
To revere someone is to offer them the utmost respect not just in an outward form, but inwardly. Emotional reverence is key.
Yet emotional reverence is an uncontrollable response to someone’s greatness.
We cannot control it. And yet we are demanded either to feel it, or to mourn that we don’t feel it.
To awaken reverence for God, all we can do is continually focus our attention on his greatness. God does the rest.
It’s extremely simple. . . yet enormously difficult. Because most of us can focus on God for a span of about 30 seconds before losing focus.
Distraction, the deterioration of self-control, and the tiny moment by moment choices we make are the most destructive spiritual forces on the planet.
What we choose to think about when we’re bored holds a direct cause and effect relationship with all the “big sins” we commit. Stated more simply, each of our “big sins” is caused by the “small sin” of ignoring God.
The phrase “revere Christ as Lord” even goes further by implying total servitude to God. In fact, it even connotes a slavery mentality.
The Bible actually demands that we so revere God that we willingly volunteer ourselves to be his slaves.
That we serve him with our everything.
But here’s what’s amazing about that demand. If we actively do what 1 Peter 3:15 encourages us to do, the following advice in verse 16 flows naturally from who we are.
If we, in our hearts, revere God as Lord, we will naturally have an answer for everyone who asks about our hope. And we will do it with gentleness and respect because we will be living out of a lifestyle of humility and grace, thereby silencing the people who might speak maliciously of us.
So, I suppose the question to ask yourself isn’t whether or not you have an intimate relationship with God, but whether or not you have spent time revering Christ as Lord today?
Another word for that might be, “Worship.”
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