But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Our passage today is often quoted in the context of apologetics--theology used in the defense or proof of Christianity. Certainly, we should always be prepared to explain the main points of Christianity. At the same time, context ultimately determines meaning. The context here addresses a coming persecution when the recipients of this letter may have to suffer for their faith. Peter exhorts them to stand firm for Christ and be ready to profess Him as Lord even in the face of suffering.
Facing threats or suffering for our faith is foreign to American Christians. Most of us have never had to fear imprisonment or death for professing Christ as Lord. The eye-rolling of an acquaintance, being excluded from a social event, or having strained relationships with extended family is about as difficult as it gets. It is one thing to defend your faith over a cup of coffee with an agnostic. It is quite another thing to say, "Yes, I am a follower of Jesus" knowing you have put your life in danger for saying those seven words.
So I have two takeaways from this passage. First, know what you believe. Every Christian should know why they follow Jesus. Second, pray that if the day ever comes where your confession would result in persecution, you will be ready to say, "Yes, I am a follower of Jesus!"
Lord, give me the courage to follow You no matter the cost. May my confession always be confident and sure. In Jesus' name. Amen.