It was the summer before my freshman year in high school when I began to notice change in my small town. There was story after story about person after person discovering Jesus Christ to be real. I saw life after life change—the hard-hearted now showing God’s love, the cynical teeming with hope and released to joy. And I wanted that. I wanted the peace that she had. I wanted the joy that he had. I wanted the assurance that they had. It would be years before I, too, placed my trust in Jesus, but it was these people’s undeniable experience and the irrefutable evidence of lives changed that sent me searching in earnest.
Peter urges us, “In your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). For most of us, it was love and joy shining through another that stirred our hope from its slumber and the word of God that woke our spirit to a new, never-ending day in Christ Jesus. Yet sometimes we let Peter’s call to defend our hope put us on the defensive. We feel inept to answer myriad questions arising out of a naturalist worldview or a relativistic culture, so we either consume ourselves in endless study, or we muzzle our hope and keep it to ourselves. But while it is helpful to grow in our ability to address people’s faith obstacles (answers do exist), we need to remember it is the truth of the gospel and its evidence through changed lives that reaches into searching souls and resonates in seeking hearts.
Using a lion as a metaphor for the word of God, 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Open the door and let the lion out; he will take care of himself.” We can say the same for our testimony: Open the door and let your new life shine; it will take care of itself. For Christ is contagious, and He is as real as the need in those who seek Him.
Father, you have given us new life. Send us in the truth of the gospel and the love of Christ, that your Spirit would shine through us as He has shone before us. May lives be reborn because you used your people. In Christ we pray. Amen.
Christ in me is confidence.