Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. Having a good conscience. — 1 Pet 3:15-16
There is no doubt that if every Christian person were to begin to live up to the New Testament ideal, avoiding always what Christ would not be, and seeking to be always what He would be, there would be .little need for preaching, for the beauty of the Christian character would in itself be sufficiently attractive to win men for Jesus Christ.
Let us examine ourselves by the suggestions in this chapter, from which we have selected our text (1Pe 3:8-18). Have we the mind of Christ, which makes us willing to be of no reputation, and to stoop even to the death of the cross, for others? Are we compassionate, sympathising in the joys and sorrows of others? Do we love the brethren, not always liking them perhaps, but treating them kindly, and making their interests more important than our own? Are we tender-hearted and pitiful towards the afflicted and distressed? Are we courteous, with true Christian politeness which differs from the world’s code of manners? How do we reply to injury? Do we bless when we are cursed, or do we retaliate with hot and indignant words? Are we willing to leave our vindication with God?
Do you want a happy life and good days? Then leave God to vindicate and deliver you. Set yourself against evil, and live at peace with all, as much as in you lies. The one thing for all of us to be really anxious about is to enshrine Jesus Christ in our hearts as Lord (R.V.). Is there a door in your heart opening on a throne room which is reserved for Jesus only? Have you written on that door such words as these: “Other lords have had dominion over me, but henceforth He only is my King.”? Be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you. This is what Peter, on one memorable occasion, failed to do; and we shall fail also but for the help of the Holy Spirit, who will teach us what we ought to say (Joh 14:26). Have a good conscience—one that can look God and man in the face, and is not conscious of willful violation of what is right and good. Follow the gleam; obey the inner light; listen to the still small voice, which is ever saying: “This is the way, walk ye in it.”
Help me, O God, so to live that those who are associated with me, directing or serving me day by day, may long to have the love and joy which they see in me. Show me how to apply to the common things of daily life the heavenly principles of the risen life. Amen.