Are You Ready?
by Mark Fulmer
It happens every time. And it doesn't seem to matter when or where the catastrophe occurs. Frightened American inquisitors flooded houses of faith after September 11, 2001. The Japanese tsunami of 2011 produced the same kind of result half a world away. When that Siloam tower fell and killed 18 unsuspecting workmen, the questions were just as poignant and just as pointed (Luke 13:1-5). The entire book of Job wrestles with the topic. And today, when daily news travels at the speed of electrons, hundreds of thousands of people are seeking real answers to life's big questions every single day. Are you ready?
Someday soon, you may hear someone say something like, "You're real religious, aren't you? Well, what do you think about...?" Or maybe, "How did you even stay sane, sequestered away...?" And the Gospel of Jesus shines like a glorious beacon to burn away the dark shroud of fear and uncertainty. Are you ready?
The promise of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit will supply you with the right words at the right time. So even today, begin to pray for those words. And pray specifically for unbelieving friends whom you will see again at work or the gym or your favorite Thai eatery. Pray without ceasing for your voice to be the voice of the Gospel.
Prepare. Prepare a clear, brief, and real Gospel message. That's the kind of message Peter spoke to the hecklers in Acts 2. Paul tells Timothy to focus the same way in his preaching. The Gospel is about Jesus. Before it's a complex theological construct, it's about Jesus. The Bible is about Jesus. And in the Bible, Jesus tells the truth about who He is and why that matters. So the presentation of the Gospel is not salesmanship or sleight of hand. It's talking about God's plan to bring healing between God and His people. Prayerfully prepare your heart and mind so you can listen well and speak that truth in love.
Practice. I mean, what better thing to rehearse while you're distancing socially? You're not practicing a dance routine or a speech. You are putting the Gospel at the forefront of your own spirit, so that when the Lord sends someone to you with questions, you have a few clear thoughts ready to go.
The Lord allows His people to be the message-bearers for the most important message in all of human history. Pray about your part in that. Prepare to speak of your own journey of faith. And practice a bit. You will indeed be ready.
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 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, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:13-16