15 "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
I remember my first track meet. I was a freshman in high school and scared out of my mind. I was running the 200m, and as I began putting my feet into the blocks, my legs were shaking, I was so nervous!
I wasn’t sure if my legs would even work when the gun went off; you know that jello feeling you get when you have finished a killer workout. The problem was, I was just getting started. Plus, my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest.
Then that pounding moved to my stomach, and it was in knots. There you have it, the trifecta: jello legs, pounding heart and stomach in knots!
In that moment, I remember being fearful of two things; falling down on the track and a false start in front of everyone! I didn’t care if I won, I just wanted to cross the finish line and not make a fool of myself.
Athlete, have you had moments like that? You didn’t really care about the results, you just wanted to get the competition over and not make a fool of yourself. You just wanted to finish the game, the race, the match, a test, an interview, etc., and move on to survive another day.
Peter addressed this kind of experience when he wrote, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you, and do it with gentleness and respect.
We never know who is watching or when someone will approach us with a question about our faith in Christ. Just as I wasn’t ready for that race, but in survival mode and elated when it was finally over – I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t ready to run.
Reflect: What is your response when God is brought up in the locker room, or at study tables, or on road trips? Will you be ready to share the hope you have in Jesus with gentleness and respect? Or will you just try and get the conversation over with?
Athlete: be ready, be prepared!