Respond With Gentleness

by Martin Luther

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

When you’re challenged or asked about your faith, you shouldn’t respond arrogantly. You shouldn’t be defiant or forceful, as if you were tearing trees out of the ground. Rather, you should respond with fear and humility, as if you were standing before God and answering him. If you were summoned before kings and princes and had prepared yourself well in advance with Scripture, you might think, "Just wait; I’ll answer correctly." But the devil will grab the sword out of your hands and give you a shove. You will be disgraced and find out you put your armor on in vain. He can even take your best verses from your hands so that you can’t use them, even though you have them memorized. God allows this to happen to subdue your arrogance and make you humble.

So if you don’t want this to happen, you must stand in fear and not rely on your own power. Rely instead on what Christ promised: "But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Matthew 10:19-20). When you have to give an answer, you ought to arm yourself with Scripture. But don’t pound it home with a proud spirit. Otherwise, God will tear the verse from your mouth and from your memory, even if you were armed with all the verses beforehand. Therefore, caution is needed here. But if you are prepared, you can answer princes, leaders, and even the devil himself. Just make sure you aren’t speaking insignificant human words but the Word of God.

From Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional – James C. Galvin General Editor

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5 thoughts on “Respond With Gentleness

  1. Yes, yes. How can a person who had no way out of a deep pit be thrown a rope and be pulled out only to look down into the pit he was just in and pridefully and with disdain impatiently command them to come up out of there?

    I was one of those pit dwellers. Many Christians would have thought me hopeless, I was a brawling, drunken, and selling drugs in the high schools brute beast. Just to give you some hope for these sinners picture this – I was 6’5″ with long hair and wearing a large pancake hat, I wore silver studs down the outseam of both pantlegs and high heeled boots, many chains around my neck that dangled on my bare chest, and a 2″ red dog collar with gold studs around my neck. And on the back of my van I had a bumper sticker that said “Don’t laugh, your daughter may be in this car!”.

    So the next time you see these poor lost goth kids or hip hop kids or all the rest of the pit dwellers remember humbly, they are in the same pit you and I were lifted out of – by grace alone. Glory to His Matchless Name!!!!

  2. Rick,

    Great testimony to the power of the grace of God! Yes, we were all completely mired in that pit. I couldn’t measure up to your example though since I am only 5’6″ instead of 6’5″. :-) However, when I first met the lady that is now my wife my appearance terrified her. I had long hair, wore black leather jackets, drove a black Italian sports car and dressed in black as much as possible. I was a runner though so I didn’t do drugs, but I did know how to party. When I look back at that poor lost sinner then though I am amazed at how far God has taken me. Eternity will be that to the nth power Rick. Can’t wait!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Wow! I see that I’m in good company…I’ll spare you all the details of my former life :). Anyway, tonight at work I was able to spread the Gospel to two women here one who isn’t sure there is a God and the other a nonpracticing Catholic. I remembered this post that I read before my way out the door for work and remembered that it isn’t my job to do the conversion and it isn’t their minds and hearts I have to change it’s His…and I even told them that. I think that helped them to relax and ask some “how do you know or how can you prove” questions. Maybe it will make them think who knows. I just am happy that God is helping me to spread the Good News more than I have in the past.

  4. Hi Mike,
    Knowing you and Rick now, it is so hard to imagine you both back then.
    Only God can take us from what we were and make us what we are today, only by His power. Thank you for sharing that.

    Sarah, I’ll be praying that you will be given more opportunities with these ladies.

    Cristina

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