This is a special 843 Acres. It is a devotional that Bethany wrote for Redeemer Presbyterian Church as a part of its Catalyst initiative. The reflection itself is 398 words, but the text and the prayer are an additional 159 words. Enjoy!
Text | 1 Peter 3:14-16
14 Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but 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, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (ESV)
Reflection | Living Questionably
Peter assumes that his Christian readers are living in such hope that their neighbors would see them and ask them about the reason for their hope. Today, how can we live in our City so that our neighbors ask us about the reason for our hope? Here are some ideas.
Beauty/Materialism. Our yearning for beauty is good because it points us to the most beautiful person in the universe – Jesus. Everything about him is beautiful – his creation, power, wisdom, justice, love. Yet, physically, he had “no beauty that we should desire him” . In our culture that is obsessed with mere external adornment, we can show that our hope is in God by pursuing the deep and comprehensive beauty of Christ in ourselves and in others .
Generosity/Consumerism. Our desire for needs and goods is wonderful because it leads us to the greatest need and good in the universe – the forgiveness and grace of God. In our culture that promotes purchases and consumption, we can show that our hope is in God by loosening our grip on the “treasures of earth” and laying up for ourselves “treasures in heaven” , as we give generously and spend modestly.
Purpose/Success. Our longing for purpose is great because God invites us to join Him in the greatest calling in the universe – the timeless and boundless work of glorifying His name through the flourishing of humanity. In our culture that promotes self-promotion and personal gain, we can show that our hope is in God by serving and loving others .
Freedom/Independence. Our yearning for freedom is good because it points us to the One who died to make us unconquerably and unyieldingly free – Jesus . In our culture that fears oppression and praises individualism, we can show that our hope is in God by enjoying the ultimate freedom that comes from being bound to Christ. As Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own … because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” .
Joy/Fun. Our quest for joy is wonderful because it propels us to search for the greatest joy in the universe and the delight of our souls – God. As David sang, “In your presence there is fullness of joy” . In our culture that craves entertainment and fun, we can show that our hope is in God by enjoying Him with great happiness and gladness of heart .
Lord, We long for you to make your name holy in our midst. May your kingdom come in our city, as our lives become lights of your truth. We pray that your will would be done – that our hearts would be so full of hope that our neighbors would ask us for the reason for our true beauty, generous giving, modest spending, confident purpose, ultimate freedom and deep joy. And as we daily meditate on your word, give us increasing joy and faith in your glorious grace. Amen.
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 Is. 53:2 |  See 2 Cor. 3:7-11 |  Matt. 6:19-20 |  See Jn. 13:1-17 |  Gal. 5:1-5 |  Jn 5:30 |  Ps. 16:11 |  As C.S. Lewis once wrote to a friend, “It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can.” | [FN] For the scheduled reading, see 2 Kings 2 + 2 Kings 4.