"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer
to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and
fear" (I Peter 3:15).
With these words the apostle Peter sets forth a guiding principle by which every
Christian ought to live. Peter urged all Christians to stand upon the same precepts
and doctrine laid down by Christ (I Pet. 4:11). When resting upon Christ, our Foundation,
we are on solid ground. Christ's life set the example for us to follow (I Pet. 2:21).
He is the Truth (John 14:6). Therefore, we have no reason to be ashamed of the
gospel of Christ, the testimony of our Lord (Rom.1:16; II Tim 1:8). When we rightly
divide the word of truth, there is not a man nor man-made doctrine that can defeat
it (II Tim 2:15).
If we truly sanctify the Lord in our hearts, we will set Him and His word far above
everything else. This means that whatever we do or say, we must do and say it "in
the name of (i.e., by the authority of) the Lord Jesus Christ" (Col. 3:17). We must
"earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3) and do so according to His will, "heartily
as to the Lord, and not unto man" (Col. 3:23). We must never shy away from defending
the Truth, but we should do so in a Godly manner encouraging edification, avoiding
strife as much as is possible (Phil 2:3; I Tim 1:4).
In giving an answer we are to use wisdom (Col. 4:5). There may be instances when
we need to be gentle and compassionate, and other times when we need to respond sternly,
as in an emergency (Jude 22,23). Then there are times when it is best not to answer
at all, such as with the fool, at least "according to his folly" (Prov. 26:4), but
rather find a better time and place which will benefit the hearer (John 16:2).
Sometimes, we may just give simple answers. At other times, the way of God may
need to be expounded "more perfectly" such as with Apollos (Acts 18:26). These opportunities
vary with the individual we may be answering and their circumstances. Some may need
just a little help or guidance. Others may be seeking answers to the ultimate questions:
"Is there a God," or "what must I do to be saved?"
It is only when we listen honestly to a querist with genuine interest, sincerely
attempting to understand their real concerns, that we then can provide the best explanation.
We must always handle God's Word correctly and reason properly when answering (Isaiah
1:18). Clear, rational thinking is vital to answering questions correctly. This
requires diligent study, honest introspection and earnest prayer. If we do this,
we can truly "Be Ready Always."