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In trials, Speak fearlessly!

In trials, Speak fearlessly!
1 Peter 3:8-22 NIV.

Our actions in trials are significant, but so are our words. So believers—"all of you"—are to live Christ-like to one another (v8) as witnesses in the world (2:11-3:7). But often, Christ-like living attracts different kinds of responses from unbelievers, ranging from hostility to curiosity.

So, Peter encourages believers in trials to use their words wisely.

Speak fearlessly (8-17)

  • Speak blessing fearlessly (9-14a).
To hostile unbelievers, believers must not speak evil, but blessing because that's what it means to be a Christian with an eternal inheritance (v9, 1:4) and because there is a reward for righteous speaking (v10). This reward includes life, good days, God's presence and attentiveness (v10-12, quoting Psalm 34:12-16).

The section ends with a challenge to be fearless in speaking blessing—to be eager in good deeds (13), even if you suffer (14b) because you are blessed. The believers' eternal reward is the motive to respond with blessings when faced with trials.

  • Speak of your hope fearlessly (14b-17).
To the curious unbeliever, speak of your hope fearlessly. This fearless expression of your hope comes from a readiness that is anchored on Christ (who must be revered), conviction (your reason or experience, backed with Scripture, of how Jesus makes a difference in you), and a clear conscience (to share Christ not to condemn). (15-16).

This section begins by saying don't fear them but fear (revere) Christ as Lord (14b-15). And if your fear is towards the Lord who also judges evil (v12c), then it's better to suffer for good (17). So fearlessly speak of your hope.

Just like Jesus (18-22)

Jesus is our perfect example of fearlessly proclaiming blessings and hope to a hostile and curious world. Amid His suffering (v18), He proclaimed hope fearlessly (v19). And through His fearless proclamation of hope, believers in the past (v20) and present (v21) received forgiveness and have hope (Luke 23:34).

To fearlessly speak blessing also meant that Jesus knew when not to speak (Luke 23:8-9, Matthew 7:6, Proverbs 10:19-21). We too can imitate Him with the Spirit's help.

Speaking fearlessly in suffering is the pattern of Christ, whom you (2:13) and all creation—angels, authorities and powers (3:22)—submit to.

Reflect & Pray
How do you respond to hostility? In what way could you be better prepared to speak of your hope fearlessly?
Father, help us to speak fearlessly amid trials by your Spirit's power, in Jesus' name, amen.

God bless you exceedingly,
Sam.

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