"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear..." (1 Peter 3:15)
I know what my hope is. But I am afraid to explain it. My answers (when I am asked) are short, given with the apologetic fashion I've adopted to protect myself from argument and offense. I am as afraid to defend my reason for hope as I often am embarrassed to speak the name of Jesus, even in writing.
Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.I know this freedom. I know this Lord. But I am not as bold as I think He wants me to be. My "meekness," such as it is, is of the mouse variety. I close my mouth when His words burn within me; I do not disclose the passion that drives me.
- 2 Cor. 3:12-18
I am ashamed of the freedom. Ashamed of the grace. Ashamed to set aside the letter and speak of Spirit-life. I am not responsible for your response.
I know the Gospel is not merely a seven-step "plan of salvation." I know the good news of the Gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified and raised to life. I know it is freedom and hope and joy and relationship with the only true God. I know it is walking in the Spirit away from the old that I was. I know the good news is that I have been justified; God has declared me righteous in His Son. I am dead to sin, alive to God.
But I do not speak. I am afraid. Afraid of years of teaching, of the control system we've put in place to keep us on the "straight-and-narrow," so aware of "the other side of God's love" - you know, the judgment part that we live in, ducking around beneath His radar, trying to be good.
He chooses the weak and the fool to display His glory. The mad ones who will live extravagantly, giving themselves away for Him, humbling themselves for glorious Christ-slavery, instead of self-or-other-approved righteousness.
God has given me a war-horse image of meekness, of the restraint of the freeing grace He gives. Held back by the bit, every muscle poised, straining ahead into the fray, guided by his master, powerful, capable, dangerous, meek. This is the meekness with which Jesus chased the money-changers from His Father's house.
The explanation is full, but simple. It is all Jesus.
Lord, may I not be ashamed to speak of what I know of You.
"...For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48b)
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