The Apostle Peter exhorted us to be ready to share our faith when anyone asked us to do so. He wrote in his first letter: “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.” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Unbelievers who are aware of our Christian faith may be curious, and they may ask us to share our experience with them. They may notice some things that are different about us, maybe some ways of reacting to certain situations that may cause them to be curious as to why we are different.
Could it be our Christian faith?
Peter exhorted us to share our faith with “gentleness and reverence” toward those with whom we share. Those who do not know Christ are spiritually adrift in the world. Many are completely unconcerned with spiritual matters on any level. These would consider themselves to be atheists or agnostics. Others may be aware of a void in their lives, which they may be trying to fill with some form of religion or spirituality. Still others may adhere to certain pagan belief systems that are prevalent in the cultures in which they were raised.
The atheist or agnostic will likely show little interest in Christianity most times, but on occasion they may see something in us that sparks some questions as to why we do things and approach certain situations and
circumstances the way we do. They may notice that we are not out to get all we can get for ourselves, and we are not concerned only for own benefit like the rest of the world, and they may want to know why. They may wonder why we were looking out for someone else’s interests or well-being in a certain situation, instead of just looking to our own self-interest. They may also see us experience trouble and difficulties in our lives and notice in us a measure of peace or contentment in the midst of our troubles, which in their understanding should not be there considering our circumstances, and they may wonder if this contentment has something to do with our Christian faith.
When opportunities do present themselves for us to share our faith with unbelievers, we should be aware that they will have no wisdom, insight or understanding of the word of God whatsoever unless and until God calls them to faith in Christ. We see that this will be the case, because as Paul taught: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
All that unbelievers are able to discern or understand is whatever traits of character they may see in us as a result of our actions. This is why Peter exhorted us to “keep a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:15-16), which means that we should make every effort to order our conduct according to all that the word of God teaches.
We should show gentleness and respect to others when we have the opportunity to speak to them about our faith in Christ, so that those in the world who observe our lives and our actions will not be able to find fault with what we say or do. They should find no reason to see our conduct as hypocritical or contrary to what is considered to be good, kind, upright and just behavior.
When we share our faith, we are as the sower who sows the seed of the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the seed that we sow will fall upon “good soil”, which is to say in the sight or hearing of God’s elect. And in His time, God will cause this seed to spring up and bear a harvest of fruit born His glory (Matthew 13:1-23).