How we have influence.
|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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1Peter3:15-16)|
In today's two scripture verses we are told to anchor our hearts on Christ so much so that those who see us will be so astounded by the hope that we get from trusting in Jesus that they ask us for the source of our hope. It is not just about having hope while others do not have it. It is about the quality of the hope that Christians should have. This is a kind of hope that does not avoid adversity but a hope that is based on going through suffering and conquering.
Setting apart Christ as Lord includes acknowledging that the one who was born in oblivion in a crowded town is the one to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess as Lord. It includes acknowledging that the one who was born in poor circumstances is the one worshipped by wealthy people from the east who brought to him expensive gifts. It includes acknowledging that he who has nowhere to lay down his head is the one who owns heaven and earth and all contained there. It includes acknowledging that the one who was wounded transforms wounds into healing instruments. It includes acknowledging that death has no sting anymore because he died to take its sting away and and rose so that death is now effectively dead.
With your heart anchored to such a Lord what can destroy your hope? With a hope that grows from that hiding place, people will want to know what makes you tick, so to speak. With Christ as your Lord you humbly tell the story of this amazing Lord who transforms your wounds and changes, yes, even your death into a germination of something new. Something new that no eye has seen yet. You may be blind to many things in this life but your confidence lies in the one who is Lord in your heart!
So you bask in peace and joy regardless of circumstances because your hiding place is the Rock of ages that was cleft for you!
Paul Neshangwe is a friend who is pastor to Makokoba Uniting Presbyterian Church. He and his wife Lydia are blessed as biological parents to T.C and Melusi and also privileged to be parents to many more!