“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” 1 Peter 3:15
GREETINGS to you my dear, dear friends! It is a JOY to be with you again as we enter into the second week of 2020! We’ve made it, and now the sweet harvest is here!
I love this text! It reminds Christians to be rooted as well as anchored in nothing else but Christ when struggling with present circumstances and their hope for the future. In this text, Apostle Peter is speaking to the Christians who are scattered, struggling and suffering while existing in their new reality after the murder of Jesus. What reality you ask? Many things, but first the shock of loosing their teacher, master and friend. Second, just how unpopular it was to be a disciple of Jesus Christ during the rise of the early church.
Today, ironically, nothing has changed. We are all , in a sense, still scared, scattered geographically, and whether we are at our place of work, a student within a university or college, a teacher, princess, stay at home parent, scientist, or philanthropist we suffer and struggle due to intentionally choosing to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We suffer, first and foremost, because we’ve chosen to serve Jesus in this world which rages against anything divine.
Personally, in the last 7-months, I have experienced all these things while in transition to full-time ministry for Christ. I was running on empty and my hands were full of activities regarding DCL Ministries, Dovetales radio, completing my degree, and full-time work. I was pursuing other partnerships and playwright opportunities in the midst of executing a gargantuan amount of school work, attending various bible studies, preparing and researching guest’s for my radio podcast’s along with daily living responsibilities constantly looming over my head. I was, to say the least–exhausted. But, within the struggle to keep up with the present ‘microwave mentality,’ I was running the risk of becoming spread too thin. I had to stop and wonder, within my quest to serve Christ was my ‘hope’ actually in Him, as Apostle Peter suggests in this text. Peter’s goal is to encourage all Christians who are scattered geographically only to also find themselves alone, desperately struggling to hold onto and apply their faith to boot! This struggle is real and yet I, however, would like to draw our attention to those not only scattered all over the world, but to the masses who may also find themselves scattered-brained. In other words, I would like to encourage all Christians who discover that they are spread too thin– mentally.
We see in 1 Peter that the Apostle speaks to the many in anguish, unsure, scared, and seemingly abandoned, but yet in their heart still hoping to serve Christ openly and unapologetically. However, according to Peter one must first ‘set apart Christ as Lord” in their heart if they’ve any hope of accomplishing their goal. It was 7-months ago that I personally did just that. I realized that I needed to stop asking God for more things, more opportunities, financial support, increased territory etc., but rather in my heart cease shepherding myself, because the Lord is my shepherd. In my dysfunction I made Christ the side dish rather then the entree; the meal I am to digest resulting in strength to my body where healthy thinking ( through the Holy Spirit) can only produce healthy living. In other words, as disciples of Christ we must be mindful to identify when our service to God could potentially result in one becoming scattered, disjointed, discombobulated, befuddled and vexed. Why? because our hope may have not really been rooted in Him and trusting His will for our lives, but rather us maneuvering our storybook ending ourselves–apart from Him. Sadly, as a result, when we arrive in the Promised Land we will fail to remember that we once started this journey because of the love and hope of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross; a love that was gradually replaced with selfish ambition and prosperity.
My disclaimer to any Christian is, if the door you’ve been knocking at finally opens and you enter without the Holy Spirit you have made some major mistakes and you need to go back.
Therefore, I am learning, in the midst of rising to the top of whatever profession you are in, it is healthy to stop and perform a heart-check on oneself to make certain that the heart that should be in love with Jesus ( if you’re a Christian) is in fact still set on Him after you find yourself scattered, scared and alone. My friends, you never want to arrive into the Promised Land without Holy Spirit going before you. We are human so, disappointments, setbacks, persecution, fear, fatigue, and uncertainty can always threaten to reshape one’s heart making them an unrecognizable creature. So apply Peter’s instruction, take time in your heart to set apart Christ as your Lord, because when asked someday for the reason you have supernatural tenacity, resilience, and endurance you know it could only spring forth from your unshakable hope in Jesus Christ.