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"Some" evangelists, all "ready" to humbly answer

July 29, 2022

Daily Scripture

Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 3:13-16

Ephesians 4

11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.

1 Peter 3

13 Who will harm you if you are zealous for good? 14 But happy are you, even if you suffer because of righteousness! Don’t be terrified or upset by them. 15 Instead, regard Christ the Lord as holy in your hearts. Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it. 16 Yet do this with respectful humility, maintaining a good conscience. Act in this way so that those who malign your good lifestyle in Christ may be ashamed when they slander you.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The writer of 1 Peter saw it as important to be ready to provide evidence for our faith, the hope we live in, to anyone who asks. Today we call that “apologetics”—the art of defending and giving evidence for the Christian faith. We don’t best share our faith through arguments or disputes. Our sharing is most winning as we radiate hope. The goal is to be able to reasonably, realistically support our faith candidly, confidently, compassionately and comprehensively.

  • Ephesians said God gave a special gift to be evangelists to “some,” not all. Yet Peter called on all believers to “be ready” to answer anyone who asks you to speak of your hope. We need all gifted evangelists using their gift, but we all need to be ready to share. Our sharing takes on realism as people see actions that back up our Christian claims. Does your lifestyle back up your verbal claims of Christianity? Why or why not? What story does your life tell people about you?
  • You may, from time to time, meet people who challenge your beliefs, with a strong air of doubt and skepticism. Most will try to be kind, but like Romans in Peter’s day, some won’t. The author of 1 Peter challenged readers to stay respectful and humble in all situations. How easy or hard do you find it to remain respectful and humble when someone challenges your faith? For what reasons?

O Lord, in my passion to defend my Christian faith, help me to be humble to all I meet. Let your loving kindness flow through me as I represent you to the world around me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of  Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller is Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for the past 15 years, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

“Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” (attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)

This is one of my favorite quotes because it’s been tested so true in my life. The gospel isn’t about facts and rules, disputes and arguments, it’s about how we act out Christ’s love in this world.

As I’m writing this Insight I’ve just finished a 3+ hour conversation with a former student of mine. She has been wanting to meet because she had some questions concerning her faith and Christianity in general. She grew up in a Christian environment, went to a Christian school, but had consistently seen those who claim to be Christian using rules and fear-based theology to “force their faith onto others.” After years and years of being exposed to this, doubt started to creep in on whether this whole “God thing” could even be real for her. If the gospel says God is love and we are to love like Jesus why are so many Christians shrouded in fear and acting out in harm?

This is a good question, a needed question. I’m grateful she trusted me to give her a safe space to share and I’m so proud of her for courageously processing her life experience in this way. I too have experienced this in my life, even as a Christian, a youth pastor, and a seminary student. I’ve encountered others who so desperately wanted to prove to me why they believe what they believe about God (as Christians) that I left wondering if the gospel is meant to be a bludgeoning tool.

No! I don’t believe so. And I believe Paul and Peter spoke into this sentiment. Whether questioning Christianity or defending it, the conversation must always be guided by the hope and love we have in Jesus Christ, not to tear down but to give life.

My heart hurts when I hear these stories of “harm” while sharing one’s faith. The first thing I do is ask a question: could this be me? Have I done or said something to try and win an argument about faith that instead would block the light of Christ’s love? Because when I preach the gospel it must be in love. The gospel IS love. THAT’S the good news. As we meet those who question their faith, Christianity, or God’s love for them, I pray we realize the courage it took for them to come to this place of questioning. And that those questions are good. How we respond in love and compassionate actions is the best “defense” of the gospel we can ever give. So love on, dear ones! Love the questioner, the self-assured, and everyone in between.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.