As a follower of Christ, I should know what I believe and why I believe it. Consequently, it is to produce a living hope in me. The Christian faith is such, that it changes us in tangible ways and we must long to share that reality so it can impact others, as well.
Peter speaks to OUR DEVOTION, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…”. The sharing of our faith with others is foremost a matter of obedience. We have been commanded to witness to Christ by the Lord God Himself. We are set apart to shine as lights in the darkness of this world. Our love for God is the foundation of our love for others.
The Apostle then points to OUR DECLARATION, “and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” There should be something so different about us—a hope so profound—that others recognize it and ask about it. Sharing Jesus does not require beating someone’s door down to do so, but they may beat a path to our door to discover why we can face the challenges of life with a radiant peace and joy. Those in the world should see that we have something they don’t have and something they need. This is being the salt of the earth; salt makes you thirsty. It creates a thirst for God in others.
Then, Peter indicates OUR DISPOSITION, “with meekness and fear.” Meekness is not weakness. It is a disposition of humility. We do not talk down to sinners, for we recognize apart from the grace of God we would still be in the same state. An attitude of smug sanctimony is not attractive, but repulsive. Someone has defined witnessing as one beggar tell another beggar where to find bread. The fear of which Peter speaks is not the fear of man—that is what often paralyzes our vocal cords. Rather, it is the fear of God—our reverence for His authority and purity—knowing we will give account to Him concerning whether we seize opportunity or shirk responsibility. Hell is real—and family and friends are going there without Christ. That should move us to speak to them about the only source of salvation.
Having a visible devotion and proper disposition makes our witness credible. Giving a ready declaration makes our faith comprehensible. All these elements are essential for sharing the hope of Christ to a hopeless world.