Just when you can’t take the Texas out of a girl, we can thank Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights for helping us to understand 1 Peter. Don’t think I’m joking. Three of my favorites collide – the state of Texas, football, and the Word of God. And here we are in 1 Peter 3, verses 13-22.
Peter is finishing chapter 3 of this letter with an exhortation of how to live in the midst of suffering. In doing so, Peter provides a couple of principles for the church at large – be zealous for goodness (verse 13), be willing to suffer (verse 14), and be devoted to Christ (verse 15), be ready to defend the faith (verse 15). In reading verse 15 and teaching through this passage this week, it hit me – “Lacey, are you ready? Both in your heart and with your words?”
Now you might be thinking, “ready for what?” In all my attempts for achievement, whether athletically or now even as a wife, my husband pointed out this morning that I don’t like down time. He’s right, per the usual. I like to be active. I like to be busy. I like to be ready. But ready for what? Ready for a job interview, a date night, or a doctor’s appointment? Ready to take a vacation or ready to watch a great football game?
In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter tells us to be ready. Ready “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). And we are to “always be prepared” (verse 15). Always ready is not sometimes ready. Always ready means always ready. It begs the question if I’m always ready for anything – obviously not. Let’s be honest, a good night of sleep and caffeine usually help, but it calls us to consider how we are to always be ready to give the right words in response to the hope we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are people of hope. Peter has already reminded us of this earlier and the call the “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
So how are Coach Taylor’s high school football players “always prepared” for the kick-off every Friday fall night under the beaming stadium lights? How are you “always prepared” when you get asked why you go to church, why you have hope in the midst of infertility, or why you’re not leaving your spouse despite difficulties in marriage? How are you always ready to defend the faith?
Now before we think we need to flip out of 1 Peter, stick right there. And read 1 Peter 3:15 again. Peter tells us to “regard Christ the Lord as holy” in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15). Friends, we must be devoted to Christ. In the same way that we’re devoted to our exercise routines, our Netflix shows, and our social media scrolls, Peter is calling us to be devoted to Christ.
Here Peter alludes to Isaiah 8:13 in the call to regard the Lord as holy. Thank you, Peter. Once again, you’re taking an Old Testament passage and connecting it with Christ. And once again, we’re reminded that there’s a right pursuit in and purpose for how we fear Christ as the Lord. We live differently when we see the Lord the right way. We see him as transcendent God. We see him as Lord of the universe. We see him as beautiful and better. And thus we want to obey.
Think about this in your own life. When was the last time you saw the Lord with great adoration and awe? When were you moved by the Spirit with greater worship and affection for Christ? Maybe it was earlier this morning over a cup of Chemex coffee as you spent time in the Word or perhaps last Sunday during your pastor’s sermon? Or maybe it was last summer when your family took a trip to Colorado, and the beauty in the Rocky Mountains captivated you with greater worship for your Creator? Or maybe, if you’re really honest, it’s been awhile. And you’re actually feeling like you’re stuck and unable to see God.
For all of us, we need eyes to see. We need the Spirit to open our eyes to see Jesus, that our minds might be renewed, that our hearts might be refreshed. And it is here, that we’re able to always “be ready.” A constant readiness requires a consistent dependence. A daily submission to the Lord, confessing our need for fresh bread, a fresh filling of the Spirit. In own submission to our Great Giver, we see our Great Gift – we see God. We commune with him. We adore him. We exalt him.
And when we see God, the purpose of our pursuit unfolds. Here are two takeaways of how seeing God changes us. Obviously, this is not exhaustive, but hopefully encouraging.
Friends, there’s just no better to be prepared. To have eyes to see with clarity and courage. To have a lens that views God rightly, not with fuzziness and frustration but with faith and fervency. After all, any coach (especially Coach Taylor) would tell us, with clear eyes and a full heart, you just can’t lose.