Thursday and Friday I was in a training class for technical trainers. I would love to be a technical trainer one day because I simply love to teach. I love learning and then passing on that knowledge to others. It’s exhilarating “watching the light come on” about a subject I’m passionate about. So I jumped at the chance to take the class. It was taught by a fellow Christian brother who I’ve known for a decade and it was good catching up with him as well. So all in all I loved the class for the experience, for the fellowship, and for the reminders that the class left me with. The biggest one being the importance of being prepared.
The initial part of the material focused on learning theory and presentation style, but the bulk of the material was about preparation: making sure the classroom is ready and making sure you know what you’re teaching. If those things aren’t handled, it really doesn’t matter what you know about how people learn or how good a presenter you are, the students aren’t going to get out of the course what they should. And when we went to video tape our presentations Friday afternoon, that was especially evident. Our trainer coached us more on knowing our material, knowing our transitions, having our equipment ready to go, our handouts distributed, etc., because not only were those things critical should we submit the video tape for a particular certification, but it made a huge difference in how the presentation came across. It reminded me of the charge from Peter:
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, 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; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. – 1 Peter 3:14-17, NASB
It is a Scripture passage we’ve looked at before. The words to focus on this time around is, “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” We know that if we put our hope in Jesus Christ, we should be living life different than most other people. And when we do live life differently and we aren’t affected by the trials of this world like everyone else, we stand out. We have a different attitude. We have a different mindset. When the horrible conquers others and we’re standing tall in the face of it (at least one the outside, because God is holding us up), then people notice and they want what we have. So they may overcome their timidity and ask us why we are different. And when they do, we had better be prepared to explain why we’re different. But that’s not what Peter is talking about here.
Peter goes beyond that situation where people are coming to us because they want what we have. He says when we suffer for the sake of righteousness. In other words, we’re doing it God’s way and we’re taking it in the teeth because we’re doing it God’s way. I know among young Christians that I deal with, they’ve usually been told, “Come to Jesus and all your troubles will be gone.” I believe that’s in a hymn or two. But that’s not really true. Our troubles won’t be gone. We just get better at dealing with those troubles because we come to better understand what’s really important. In fact, Peter is warning us that life can be more difficult for being Christians. Don’t believe me? Then why does Paul talk about bearing the marks of Christ (Galatians 6:17)? So when life is more difficult for us because we’re doing it God’s way, we may get asked why we keep going. Others may try to figure out why we keep taking the pain when there’s a way out. And we’ve got to be able to give a defense and do so in a gentle manner. We’re not to be squeezing out through clenched teeth and in a harsh voice, “Because God wants me to.” Rather, we should be able to explain our joy, our hope, and our salvation in a way that is inspiring and gives others something to think about, where they hopefully ask themselves, “What is it I’m missing?”
To do this, we must know what we believe. We must also understand that choosing God’s path may mean real trouble for us. And we had better be ready for that trouble. All of that is about being prepared. We must be prepared to take hits for following Christ. And we must be prepared to explain to others why we continue to take those hits when others see a way out. If that way out isn’t godly, we stay in there. We keep going after it. And we share that Christ isn’t just our God and our Lord and our Savior in good times, but in all times. And even when it hurts, we’ll follow His ways. We’re prepared to do so. And we’re the better for it. That’s being ready to make a defense, to give an account for the hope that is in us. That’s what Peter means. It’s all about preparation. Time to get ready!