The Beauty of a Changed Life
Read 1 Peter 3:13-22
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.
(1 Peter 3:13-20)
Peter wrote to Christians with the idea that persecution and suffering were inescapable aspects of the Christian life. He learned that from his master, Jesus. Rather than fear persecution, we are to quietly trust in God as the Lord of all. We must believe that Christ is truly in control of all events. When he rules our thoughts and emotions, we cannot be shaken by anything our enemies may do.
We are to model faith and integrity. A changed life speaks loudly and clearly, and it is often the most effective way to influence a family member or a neighbor. Some Christians, however, believe that faith is a personal matter that should be kept to oneself. It is true that we shouldn’t be boisterous or obnoxious in sharing our faith, but we should always be ready to give an answer, gently and respectfully, when asked about our faith, our lifestyle, or our Christian perspective.
Can others see your hope in Christ? In what way? Are you prepared to tell them what Christ has done in your life? You may not be able to keep people from slandering you, but you can at least stop supplying them with ammunition. As long as you do what is right, their accusations will be empty and will only embarrass them. Keep your conduct above criticism!