1 Peter 3:13-15 (AMP) Now who is there to hurt you if you become enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness [though it is not certain that you will], you are still blessed [happy, to be admired and favored by God]. Do not be afraid of their intimidating threats, nor be troubled or disturbed [by their opposition]. But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.
Imagine your younger self. What did you look like when you received Christ as your Lord and Savior? I often look back at the person I was. I look back at the eighteen year old girl, who had gotten engaged a few months before. I look at the girl that when she accepted Christ immediately enrolled in her future in-laws seminary. I was taken right away, it seems, to buy the appropriate clothes. Even though I was new in Christ, it took me a long time to get to the above scriptures. The seed of change was planted, it was not rooted yet.
I heard from someone that knew me back then that it is so good to see me now, because they did not know if I was going to make it. They did not know if I would ever reflect the changed life. I put on the right clothes, didn’t I? I attended all of the right classes, didn’t I? I am at every church service. I have done whatever I was asked. I am baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues. I am a tither. What was missing?
My account of hope. Love always hopes. I had to get to a place where it was not the love of people, but His love I was settled in. Even though I was going through the steps, I still did not feel like I was enough. I was missing something. I was missing the relational development that goes along with the personal surrender. Since I was missing this, I was not able to see and respond with grace, love, mercy, kindness and gentleness. When my heart turned to wanting to share that hope, a change happened. Discipleship is not teaching rules, it is teaching relationship, by showing relationship. This is what I needed most and what I have decided to give to others. I needed grace, so I am giving grace. I needed compassion, so I am giving compassion. I needed freedom, so I am showing freedom.
When I share my faith, that logical defense for the hope and confident assurance of who I am in Christ, I share who I was before. I share that it was the draw to be loved and not have to question if I am enough. Psalms 45:11, in the Passion Translation says, “For your royal Bridegroom is ravished by your beautiful brightness. Bow in reverence before him, for he is your Lord!” Some translations say that He is enthralled by you. When I got revelation of that, I was not afraid that I was not enough, not to say that those thoughts do not to creep up every now and again. There are thoughts that will come in and try to rob my identity in Christ. I have to remind myself that I am rooted in His love (Ephesians 3:17). I have to remind myself that surrender happens daily. I am not the same person I was yesterday. I am not the same girl I was twenty four years ago. I am not the same person I was five years ago. I am a new creation (1 Corinthians 5:17), spiritual awakenings and new revelations bring new life every day. I am a continual work in progress. What may have meant to hurt me, will not, because I am still blessed and favored by my God. So are you!
Father, I thank you that Your Word is my final authority. I thank you for sending your Son to restore me into a life giving relationship with You. I desire nothing else but to glorify You and to draw others close to You. Search my heart Lord. Root out those areas in my life that clog up the pores of hope. I want to be rooted and grounded in Your Love so when the fiery darts of the enemy come against my mind I can deflect it and will not let it take anchor. Forgive me for the times that I looked at people as the source of my love and comfort. I need them, but my identity is not rooted in them. Thank you for placing people in my life that I may serve as a worship to You. May I see them through the eyes of hope because love always hopes. I choose to surrender my will today. Let me be like a drink offering and pour out my life to You in worship today. I know you are my source of love and compassion. Let freedom flow through me as I lean on the Holy Spirit to guide me in my words and actions today. In Jesus Name, Amen.