“How are you at defending your faith?” February 16

 

How are you at defending your faith? - How are you at defending the faith and what you say you believe? Do you ever pretend you're not a believer because it's inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a "personal thing" when you had an opportunity to "give a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3.15)? Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.How are you at defending the faith and what you say you believe? Do you ever pretend you’re not a believer because it’s inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a “personal thing” when you had an opportunity to “give a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3.15)? Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.

 

Today’s Readings:

Leviticus 3 & 4
Psalm 23
Proverbs 9.1-6
Matthew 27.55-66

 

How are you at defending your faith?

 

Matthew 27.55-66

Are you prepared?

 

bible study

In this passage, we find three of the women who followed Jesus there at the cross “looking on from afar.” It’s interesting to note that there is no record of any of the women who had followed Jesus leaving Him or denying Him in those last hours, when most of the men fled in fear.

What about you and me?

Do you ever pretend you’re not a believer because it’s inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a “personal thing” when you had an opportunity to defend and talk about what you believe?” Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.

Maybe we’re afraid someone won’t like us? Or of jeopardizing something we want? Or we’re afraid of the consequences?

Certainly, we need to be wise in the work place, but, at times, we keep silent more because it’s uncomfortable. Other times, we don’t speak up because we don’t really know how to defend our faith and we’re afraid we’ll sound foolish or mess it up.

Yet look at what the Apostle Peter told a earlier generation of believers–people who lived in almost constant danger of persecution or worse:

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.13-17).

What do you need to do to be better prepared to “defend the faith”? Do you need to get involved in a discipleship class or Bible study so you can learn the basics of the Christian faith? Do you need to pray for boldness or freedom from fear? Do you just need to step out in faith?

Leave me a comment at the bottom of this post if you would like more information about discipleship or check out Fundamentals of the Faith: 13 Lessons to Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Leviticus 3 & 4

The Messy Business of Sin

 

The primary theme in Leviticus is holiness. God is holy and He has commanded us to be holy just as He is (1 Pet. 1.14-16).

The need for holiness is attested to by the complicated systems of sacrifices and offerings. The animal sacrifices made temporary atonement for the sins of the priests and the people.

And what a “messy” and costly business the sacrificial system really was.

But then, I’m reminded that sin itself is “messy” business! Think of all the messes we make in our lives: our friendships, our marriages, our families, our finances, and every area of life. It’s not always “pretty” and the only remedy is Christ.

When we see our complete failure to be holy and come to understand that He died as the perfect Sacrifice for all who believe, we can exchange our sin for His holiness.

But sometimes, before that can happen, God has to allow our choices in life to bring about their natural consequences (Gal. 6.7-8). You can read my testimony in this area.

Even as believers, he allows a certain amount of hardship in our lives. Not because He’s spiteful or unloving, but because He is our Father and we are His children. Like any good father, He trains and disciplines His children precisely because He loves us!

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3.11-12).

Did you notice that word “delights”? That same passage is quoted in Hebrews 12 when the writer says if He does not correct us, then we are not really His children. He goes on:

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12.11).

So if you are going through a difficult time, don’t forget God is there? Ask Him to search your heart as the psalmist did in Psalm 139.23-24. Is there sin from which you need to repent? Is He merely pruning so you will bear more fruit (Jn. 15)? Most importantly, trust Him:

“… knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1.3-5).

 

Psalm 23

The Shepherd’s Psalm

 

lamb shepherd

What a beautiful psalm! If you have never committed it to memory, I would encourage you to do so. But whether or not you already know it or it’s only vaguely familiar, take some time and think about the words. Here it is from the New Living Translation:

1 Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!

2-3 He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.

4 Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.

5 You provide delicious food for me in the presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!

6 Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.

 

Proverbs 9.1-6

The Wisdom of God

 

Wisdom continues to call to us, but not just any wisdom, the wisdom of the One who created us. And it’s available to us as we pray and study His Word looking for it.

 

Father, help us to not deny You, to not flee when the going gets tough. Help us, Lord, to stand up for what’s right and to always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in us, yet help us to do so with gentleness and reverence. As we do, help us to not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2.24-26).

Blessings,
Donna


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2 thoughts on ““How are you at defending your faith?” February 16

  1. Apologetics can be so complicated. Balancing being sure of what you are defending and becoming arrogantly defensive can be a difficult task. Humility while practicing apologetics without becoming pragmatic is also the other side of the coin. Thankfully we serve a merciful and gracious God who, despite our failings, can use our testimony and mistakes for His good.

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