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
One of the great things about being in a small group is how prayer, Bible-study, and great conversation all work together to help us grow. Everyone brings something to the table, we bounce ideas off one another, and we move forward as people of faith.
It was in one such exchange this morning that I remembered a concept that has become key to my approach to “evangelism” or what I prefer to think of as “simply sharing the good news,” or – and I love this – “being so filled up with Jesus that light and love can’t help but spill over.”
We were talking about apologetics (the branch of theology concerned with the defense or proof of Christianity), and I mentioned that I am writing a new book with the working title of Un-Apologetic. “1 Peter tells us to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that’s inside of us,” I said. “But, first, we have to live like we have some hope before anyone is going to ask us to explain it!”
Real evangelism is nothing more than living a life of faith with such authenticity that anyone who gets to know you can’t help but become familiar with the story of God’s light, love, mercy, and grace.
How healthy are we?
This slotted into the general topic for the day, which was, “What are the necessary components of a healthy life?” Or, “What do we need if we are going to be able to say that we are ‘well’?”
We were building our conversation around Psalm 63 which reads, in part, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands” (vs 3-4).
Being engaged with God’s love and growing as spiritual beings, the Psalmist suggests, is better than the dim approximation of life that characterizes separateness from God. If we really intend to move on into the next stage of our lives as complete people, then it makes sense to accept Christ’s invitation to walk with him as our friend and guide.
To the extent that we engage our fundamental identity as beings made in the image of God we not only live purposeful and hope-filled lives, we light the way for others.
It’s like the toast I offered at Keith and Resi’s vow-renewal last Sunday: “In Philippians 2 Paul writes that believers shine like stars in the sky as we hold on firmly to the word of life. Stars don’t come on like a floodlight, but people do look to them for navigation. May you continue to light the way for others as you shine.”
Fill up with Jesus, and then let the light spill out. That’s my kind of apologetic – DEREK