Anchored In Hope - Anchored in Jesus as Lord
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
1 Peter 3:15
Our guest author this week is Tim Boettger. Tim is currently serving as the Director of Spiritual Care in the Western Home Communities in northeast Iowa. In addition to leading a Sunday worship service for a multigenerational, non-denominational congregation, Tim also serves as a speaker for the Christian Crusaders radio and internet ministry. Tim, along with his wife Kris, live in Cedar Falls, Iowa where Kris runs "Barn Happy," a restaurant, coffee shop, and Iowa good store based out of a barn on their acreage. Tim and Kris served as co-speakers during our first week of Family Camp this summer.
The instructions found in 1 Peter 3:15 are very clear. They are not ambiguous or difficult to understand. I want to take the time to look at these instructions one at a time.
In your HEARTS set apart Christ as LORD.
Our hearts are the center of our being. The very core of who we are. Our heart encompasses our soul and our spirit. Our soul consists of our mind, our will, and our emotions. Our spirit is the special breath of God within us which can commune with God’s Spirit. We have been designed by God to be responsive and proactive from our hearts. It is a part of the free will we have been given by our Creator.
Scripture has a lot to say about the role of our hearts in how we live our lives. In Proverbs, we find that it is in our heart where our plans are made (16:9) and all we do flows from our hearts (4:23). In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus teaches it is out of the abundance of our hearts our mouth speaks (6:45). The loving instruction Paul has for us here in 1 Peter is to do something very specific within our hearts… to set apart Christ as LORD.
The word LORD is a governing term. It is often defined as someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master, chief, or ruler. The word Lord is mentioned 7946 times in the Bible and, most of the time, it is referring to Yahweh (Jesus) as LORD. The instruction here is to make Jesus master, chief or ruler in our hearts and lives. He is to be given the most influence, authority, and power in our lives. In a broken world it can be very difficult to trust someone fully, but this is a command telling us to let someone who is totally trustworthy and loving rule our lives. Many people think that they are smart enough to run our own lives, but a short study on the history of humans in the world should at least cause any reasoning mind to doubt that assertion.
I personally find it interesting to observe how our government here in the United States is designed to reflect the governing structure of Christ as Lord. Isaiah 33:22 tells us that “the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king.” In an attempt to create a system of balanced power, the founding fathers set up the United States government with three branches of government. Our legislative branch is meant to create our laws reflecting the role of the Lord as our lawgiver. The judicial branch is designed to enforce the consequences of breaking our laws reflecting the Lord as judge. And our executive branch is designed to provide leadership and direction to call who call themselves Americans reflecting the Lord as king.
As sinful people we need accountability in governing our lives that our Lord does not need. It should be no surprise to anyone that an earthly government, even one based on the ways of God, can become corrupt. This is why we are instructed in the Bible to be as cooperative and obedient as we can with our earthly governments, but to only give the final allegiance of our hearts to Christ as LORD. Isaiah 33:22 ends telling us that it “is He (Yahweh) who will save us.” He is our ultimate hope. To have a hope beyond this world that never changes and is life-changing. It is something which cannot be taken away from us. When we live in this unquenchable hope our lives become different than many. It is almost assumed in our text for today that the lives of Christ’s followers will be so different that, eventually, they will be asked about it.
The next instruction in this text highlights this. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” To be able to say that our hope is in the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth is to say something an unbelieving world has trouble comprehending or accepting. This is why we are told to do this with all gentleness and respect.
I was recently asked by a new acquaintance if I was a Christian. I said I was and that my life had an enormous amount of joy and hope in it because of my confidence in the Lord and His care for me. I was immediately told I was, “out of touch with current scientific developments, hypocritical, stupid, and simple-minded.” I felt for this person who does not know the true joy of having Christ as Lord. I hope you do. Some time at camp this summer may be just what you need to grow in your understanding of this great instruction from our Lord.
- How is Christ the Lord of your heart when it comes to all aspects of your life?
- If your life reflects what is overflowing from your heart, what does that tell you about the condition of your heart right now?
- When you share your faith with others, do you do it with “all gentleness and respect”?