"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
-1 Peter 3:15, New American Standard Bible (NASB)
This verse is striking to me, since I do not typically see the word "defense" used in the same sentence as "gentleness." As believers, God is on reserve as the leader of our hearts, of what goes on at our core. When people ask about our faith, we are able to respond not only with words but also with our actions - there is this window of time where we can explain who God is, what He's done, and even how He has done it - we can answer in a way that reflects His own gentleness.
What is this believer's hope? We have hope in the past - in God's forgiveness for our sins and how He makes us new (1 John 1:9, 1 Peter 1:3, Acts 3:19). We have hope for today - He guides us through good and tough times (Romans 8:26, Romans 5:5). We also have this hope for the future - He has a plan for our lives (1 Corinthians 4:16-17, Psalm 27:4).
The way we share our hope is just as important as the words we use, because it shows who God is - it shows the transformation God can make inside someone. Gentleness comes from God; it's a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). So, the unique thing in this defense is that we are talking with someone who we have something in common with - we are all in need of God's gentleness, as we ask Him to forgive us. We are able to respond in a considerate and respectful way with God's strength.
Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die for us and for the world. Please help us remember to put You first in our lives. When there is opportunity to share the hope you bring, please help us explain it with the gentleness You have shown us. Amen.
Devotion above based on the verse highlighted to study in the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo above, "Gentleness," taken by K. W. Sanders - photographyblogger.net - Horse Photos