Have you ever seen that popular YouTube video about the little boy named David who’s on his way home from the dentist? Still groggy from the anesthesia, David gives us quite the commentary on his post-surgery reality, and he has a million and one questions for his dad.
“I feel funny. Is this real life?” David asks.
Seconds later, a few more questions.
“Why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?”
Lovingly, his dad assures him, “No, no it won’t be forever.”
But in the midst of funny feelings and the fogginess of his post-anesthesia reality, David replies with a frustrated, “Aaagh!”
In life, I sometimes feel like David. In response to my present reality, I often just want to cry out, “Aaagh!” Because the more I come to understand the love of Jesus Christ for me and the beauty of what heaven will be, the more I long for the reality of eternal life with my Savior.
But that time has not yet come.
And so, I constantly return to God’s promise that this present reality, this world, won’t be forever (1 Peter 5:10); there is something greater coming. I have the hope of a perfect paradise, of life forever with Jesus Christ. And that is the reality in which I live—not perfectly, but securely.
This reality in which I live, in which I rest secure, however, is a reality foreign to much of the world. To some, it’s laughable. To others it’s simply unbelievable. To some, it’s not worth their time to think about. And to others still, it’s a reality they think they don’t deserve.
Like so many Christians, it is the desire of my heart to share the hope I have with those who do not have it. But I hesitate. Why? Because speaking of such things—sharing such a hope—is scary. Faith in real life can be hard, it can be messy, and it can be scary.
Do you remember those class presentations you had to give in high school? Oh boy, I do. I hated them. Dreaded them. The thought of standing in front of my classmates, all alone, with thirty pairs of eyes staring at me, knowing the teacher and my peers were waiting for me to say something worthwhile, something worth their time, was terrifying. My dad encouraged me to sign up for public speaking classes to help me overcome this fear, but I avoided those like they were the plague. So, I have since learned to rely on another piece of wisdom my father would share: be prepared.
Funny. God said the same thing.
Check out 1 Peter 3:15: “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.”
As I read that verse, I am reminded that when I’m faced with an opportunity to share that special hope I have, God doesn’t expect me to be the smartest and most convincing evangelist of my time. He doesn’t ask me to first attend seminary before attempting to share the truths of His Word. He simply urges me—commands me, in fact—to be prepared. Prepared to make a defense, give a logical explanation, for the reason I have for the hope that is in me.
Allen Quist is the author of a new book called The Reason I Believe: The Basics of Christian Apologetics, and while the word apologetics can be an intimidating word, he reminds us that in its simplest form, “Christian apologetics deals with questions of whether Scripture—and Christianity—is true.” He goes on to say that “apologetics is not about winning arguments; it’s all about leading people to faith in Jesus, the Messiah.”
What a relief to know that the charge given to us in 1 Peter 3 is not about winning an argument, but about sharing the message of Jesus Christ with gentleness and respect. As Romans 10:17 reminds us, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” God certainly does not say that faith comes from a really well-formed argument.
But can well-formed arguments for the truthfulness of Christianity, especially when delivered gently and with respect, open doors to the sharing of God’s Word? Yes!
The Reason I Believe is a book that helps Christians better understand the evidence they have for the truthfulness of Christianity. It’s a book for those who take seriously the words of 1 Peter 3:15. It’s a book that first explains what apologetics really is and then not only offers examples of how the apostle Peter himself used apologetics in the book of Acts but also presents piece after piece of compelling evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity. It’s a book that helps Christians answer the tough questions they face in everyday life, especially when it comes to questions that challenge the existence of a loving God when there is so much evil in the world and how Christians would address the popular theories of Darwinism.
The reality of our world is this: there are more than four thousand religions, with more being added to the list every day. It’s a reality that might cause us to throw our arms up and cry out, “Aaagh!”
But thankfully, we have a hope that there is something greater coming. In fact, we have the knowledge that something—rather, someone—did come to rescue us from this world and has promised to return to take us with Him to that something greater.
In the meantime, however, I think I might take another look at 1 Peter 3:15 and challenge myself to be a bit more prepared.
If you’d like to download a free chapter from Allen Quist’s new book, The Reason I Believe, visit cph.org/reasonibelieve.