Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Several weeks ago Terry introduced a model for living in a missional way. The model had five parts to it. For our devotional this week we will ask God to help us grow in devotion to apply that model to our lives. The model included 5 P’s – Pray, Pursue, Prepare, Proclaim, and Plan.
Today P #2 – Prepare to share the gospel
Philemon 1:6, “I (Paul) pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good thing you have in Christ.”
1 Peter 3:13-16, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a 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.”
Ok, now you are praying regularly for yourself and for others to be active in sharing your faith. Because it is God’s desire to make Himself known, He actually gives you opportunity to share your faith! We pray to a God – who wants to be known – that He would use us to make Himself known. Then, He answers our prayers and gives us opportunity and we are surprised or caught off guard, asking, “Oh no, what do I do now?”
Although we are surprised when these opportunities come, Peter challenges us to instead be prepared.
In your preparation, remember there is no magic formula that you have to recite in order for someone to put their trust in Christ. The activity of saving people is God’s activity. Our activity is pray and be prepared.
Peter does give us some instructions, though, on how to answer people. He says, “we should do it with gentleness and respect.”
Sharing the truth of the gospel should be done in a way that reflects the gospel. Peter also assumes that his readers are people who are living with hope. He says, “give a reason for the hope that you have.”
Do we live with hope? I’m not talking about a sunny disposition but an enduring hope in certainty of God and His Word. Do we hope in God and His unchanging word or do we hope in careers, relationships, vacations, or accomplishments to satisfy us?
Practical thoughts on preparing
- You are preparing by doing these devotionals each day. The opening prayer of the devotional asks you to reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. You are reminding yourself of the gospel by reflecting on the reality that you are a person accepted only because of Christ’s sacrifice. This daily reminder is helping to prepare you.
- Memorize and practice a gospel presentation. The bridge illustration is one that we have printed on the back of the bulletins at River. You can find a copy online here. Practice the gospel presentation with your spouse, roommate, or someone in your small group.
- Write out your own story. Bill Hybels in his book Just Walk Across the Room suggests that your story be no longer than 100 words. He suggests a simple formula: What was your life like before Christ? And how is your life different after Christ? You might also keep your story current by sharing what God is doing in your life right now.
If we are praying faithfully, do not be surprised when the Holy Spirit gives you opportunity to share. Remember, preparation is NOT the same as responsibility for the results. You may prepare and present flawlessly but a person’s response is not your responsibility.
How will you prepare to give an answer to any who asks you for a reason for the hope that you have?
How can you grow in living with hope?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.