by Reba Mingledorff
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
1 Peter 3:15
“So, are you like Amish or something?” Oh, if only I had a penny for each time I heard this. It’s possible that I’d be able to personally fund every youth camp this summer. The curiosity of others never bothered me though. Growing up, all I’d ever known was public school so questions about my wardrobe or lack of jewelry just came with the territory. During those early years at elementary school, the answer to any question of why I looked a certain way or why I didn’t do certain things was usually, “Because I’m Holiness”. My classmates had no idea what the word meant, and at the time neither did I, so they would shrug and we would return to our activities.
As I progressed through middle school, high school and then college, my answers to those questions had to change. I knew the scriptural references for most of the “church” questions, as I called them, because my parents were very consistent in family devotions when we were small. I distinctly remember preparing to begin high school and realizing that simply quoting a verse was not going to cut it. There had to be a heart knowledge with that head knowledge and I needed to get a deeper understanding for myself. I was just like those seeds that fell among rocky ground in the Parable of the Sower. Matthew 13:5-6 tells us of how they quickly sprouted because there was a little soil mixed in with the rocks, but their roots were very shallow and as a result they were easily destroyed.
Sometimes it seems that we are quick to sprout when it’s time to join the choir and we will adopt the platform standard, or the youth camp standard, or our pastor’s wife’s standard, but have we ever cultivated our roots?
Do we have even a basic knowledge of our core beliefs? Do we have any personal convictions that God has placed specifically in our hearts? Could we lead a soul to Christ by explaining the plan of salvation? Do we only live a certain lifestyle based on sermons or have we prayed it through? In summary, do we know the WHY? 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” As freshman in high school, I realized that I truly was not prepared to give an answer, but I desperately wanted to be. The Lord saw the desire for growth in my heart and began to work.
As the song says, “He’s still workin on me” and none of us will ever graduate from His learning program until we have reached that eternal home. I have found this burden in my heart and as long as He directs me, I refuse to be like the infantile church that Hebrews 5:12-14 refers to. As a part of the young married class in my church, I should be fully supporting the work of God. My pastor shouldn’t have to beg me to do right or live right. My walk with God should be at a place to where I can handle the “meat” and no longer need the “milk” to survive each week.
I should also be fully prepared to give an answer and scripturally defend my faith.
My prayer is for the Lord to guide our hearts and give us each a desire to seek His truth with our entire being. This seeking requires that we draw close to His radiating light and that alone discourages some.
For me, it is always humbling to step into His light because I know it will penetrate even the darkest corners of my heart.
I want Him to search my heart and try my thoughts because I realize that when we stand before a Holy God, no amount of outward standards can save us. We have to truly repent of the sins hiding underneath them. More than acceptance, popularity, or anyone’s accolades, I want His truth. That truth will stand the test of time and all of life’s disappointments. Let’s strive to be equipped for spiritual conversation and completely unashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
Let’s purpose in our hearts to pursue His truth and have a passionate testimony that stems from a personal revelation.