"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
1 Peter 3:15
I have been overwhelmed the past 6 weeks. This summer intensive is a bit more intense than I anticipated. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the word "intensive" in the class description!
The problem with being overwhelmed is that it is, well, overwhelming. I haven't had time to reach out to friends, I haven't had as much time for my kids as I would prefer. I haven't had time to write (at least not outside of the writing required for class). But the worst part is, that when I am overwhelmed, I don't make a very good witness.
I LOVE this verse in 1 Peter. It is one of my very favorites. It seems to sum up what I believe to be true in such simple words.
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord" - Christ is to be set apart as Lord, he is not to share this title with anyone or anything else in your life. Christ and Christ alone is our Lord. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is our salvation, our stronghold in times of trouble. He and He alone should be set apart in our hearts and in our lives.
And when he is, something amazing happens. I received a cute little gift bag for my birthday that had this phrase on it "She loved the Lord with all her heart, and it cast an amazing light on all she did." This is what happens when you set apart Christ as Lord in your heart, when you love the Lord with all your heart. It casts an amazing light on all you do. A light that others see, they take notice, and they wonder where it comes from. They see something in you that they don't see in others.
"Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" - when people see this amazing light you cast on everything you do. When they sense a hope in you that is missing in others around them, they will ask you where it comes from. Be prepared for this. Always be prepared to give an answer when someone asks you about your light, your hope, your faith. When you are a Christian, your life should look different, different enough that people wonder about it and ask you about it.
"But do this with gentleness and respect" - here is the crux of it all. When you live your life different, and you cast this amazing light, and people ask you about it, answer them, with gentleness and respect. Not with judgement and condemnation. Not with pride and haughtiness. But with gentleness and respect. With humility and thankfulness.
The past six weeks I haven't been casting much of an amazing light. I would like to think that Christ has still been set apart in my heart, but honestly, it's been kind of hard to tell. I don't know that my life has really looked much different than anyone else's. There has been no extra light, no hope that have made people stop and ask me where it comes from.
Today when I read this verse, my heart broke. There are days when I am far from the person I some day hope to me. There are days when I am overwhelmed, and my light is not so amazing. Hopefully these days will be less and less as I grow and mature and hopefully, one day soon, I will be back to casting an amazing light on everything I do.