My son sent me a Hillsong Church sermon the other day titled, “Are you Ready” by Tolu Bladders. Here is the link. https://youtu.be/-0I5a_Zu2EY Listening to it reminded me of a theme in the Bible I rarely hear preached about but have personally experienced over the last couple of years. Peter wrote in his 1st letter, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope/stance that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. The sermon and this verse took me down three streams of thought. What does he mean when he encourages us to be prepared, how do I prepare, and how do I know when I am ready?
The first lesson is know what you believe and why you believe it. Take the time to learn how to articulate the reasons for your stand on a given issue. Don’t push your beliefs or viewpoints on others. Instead, wait for them to ask what you think. That way, hopefully you will have “walked the walk before you talk the talk” earning the right to be heard.
By treating those around you with, as Peter advises, gentleness and respect, your answers will be better received even if the other person might not agree.
How do I prepare is the second question and the one we don’t hear preached on very often. The Bible makes it clear that many of those called by God to lead or speak for others were forced into a “timeout.” Moses (exiled) , Job (sickness and loss) , Noah (build an ark) Esther (wait and fast before the seeing the King) , Ruth (leaving her home to serve another), David (hiding in the caves from Saul) John the Baptist(time in the desert) Paul (from persecutor to apostle), and even Jesus (40 days in the desert) himself were placed into times of waiting before God used them for His purposes. Why? Because like us, they could have been tempted to charge out on their own power rather than waiting on God to send them out. These heroes of the faith teach us that we need to wait and make sure we understand what we are being called to do. It also takes time to study and learn so that we can back up what it is we are to say.
If you read back through their stories, each of them wondered about the third question of this blog post, Are you ready? The answer from God came in different ways to all of them but it can be summed up in Isaiah 6. Like with the others, God came to Isaiah asking Him to worship Him. Isaiah knew he was unworthy (Isaiah 6:5) and yet God cleansed and redeemed him. When God knew Isaiah was ready, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Because Isaiah drew near to the Lord, studied His ways, and been taught what needed to be said and done, Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:7,8) Whatever you are feeling called to do, I encourage you to take as much time as you need to make sure you have studied and know your position well. Be willing to listen to others points of view but when asked, articulate your points with gentleness and respect.
The link to my “timeout” in 2019 is here www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie Please subscribe to this blog to receive email notifications when new content is posted. Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org