Four ways to ‘always be ready’
If someone asked you about Jesus today, would you be prepared to answer?
I remember it well, the day my school friend asked me a question about being a Christian. My heart was racing, my knees were trembling and my mouth went dry. I eventually thought of a brilliant answer to their question - unfortunately it was 6 hours after the event. I lay on my bed regretting how I’d wasted another opportunity to tell my friend about Jesus.
Peter says in his letter,
Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. But answer them in a gentle way with respect. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
If only I’d known they were going to ask me a question, I so would have been ready! Maybe the reason Peter says we should always be ready is because nobody makes an appointment when they want to ask us a question; they just ask it. Don’t you find that people ask the best questions at the worst time, just when we were least expecting them to? You were perhaps talking about a movie and then BANG, from nowhere they hit you with the killer question and you just weren’t ready for it.
So, how is it possible to take Peter seriously and ‘always be ready’, ready at all times and ready with a good answer? The answer is more obvious than it might seem; being ready, means getting ready! Nobody simply wakes up for a big game ready to play, they need to get ready. Nobody wakes up ready to go to school, they need to get ready. Nobody wakes up ready for a friend’s birthday party, they need to get ready. Being ready means putting some time and effort into getting ready. Here are 4 ways to help you get ready:
1. Be ready through prayer
Pray specifically that God would cause someone to ask you a question. If you are praying everyday to your heavenly father for someone to ask you a question, you should never be taken by surprise. My kids usually tell me exactly what they want for their birthday, they’re always delighted when they get what they’d asked for, but they are never surprised.
Never stop praying. Be ready for anything by praying and being thankful. Also pray for us. Pray that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. (Colossians 4:2-3)
Asking specifically and believing wholeheartedly can help us to always be ready! You could pray something like this:
Dear Lord, I pray that today you would give me an opportunity to share my hope in Jesus with [insert name/s]. Help me be ready to spot the opportunity and be ready to give a good answer.
2. Be ready to share
One of the best ways of sharing what you believe is by sharing the story of how you became a Christian. You won’t know all the answers to the questions you are asked, but you will always know your story.
In John 9, a blind man who had been healed by Jesus was asked many questions by the Pharisees. His answer was brilliant! Though he didn’t know the answers to all their questions he told them the one thing he did know – his story. He said,
One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see. (John 9:25 NIV)
Why not write down your story and practice retelling it in less than 2 minutes?
3. Be ready to learn
It’s OK to say ‘I don’t know’ to tough questions. When the disciples asked Jesus about the precise time of his second coming, what did he say? ‘I don’t know!’ (Mark 13:32)
When it comes to the questions people ask you, don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ but don’t just stop at ‘I don’t know’. Go and find out the answer. One thing I’ve discovered is that there are lots of hard questions, but there are few new questions to answer. Here’s one of the classic questions: ‘If God is so good, then why is there so much bad stuff in the world?’ It’s a good question for which there is a good answer. There are Christians who have put loads of thought and time into how to best answer questions like these.
Why not get your youth leaders to take you through some of the BIG questions and how best to answer them? Or get a Christian book written for non-Christians and see how the author goes about answering their questions (e.g. Answers to tough questions by Josh McDowell).
Don’t forget that 1 Peter 3:16 also says that we should answer with ‘with gentleness and respect’. Remember, your learning is not so that you can win the argument but so that you can win people for Jesus.
4. Be an inviter
In John chapter 1, when Philip told his friend Nathanael about Jesus, his friend was deeply sceptical (had doubts). Philip’s response was just three words but brilliant. ‘Come and see’. He invited Nathanael to see for himself. There are some great answers to life’s big questions, but what our friends need more than a great answer is to meet a great saviour.
There are many ways we can invite people to hear more about the hope that we have in Jesus and one of them is through an exciting new course called ‘The Changing Lanes Course’. It’s a 7 episode course which aims to take teenagers on a journey of discovery in search of the meaning to life and the truth about God. It includes video clips, discussion questions and bible studies.
The course can be run in a youth group setting, or you can do it free of charge, online with a friend. The best way to find out more is to take a look for yourself. Visit www.changinglanes.org.uk and take a look.
The presenter of the course is a guy called Adam. He was once a sceptical atheist, but was invited by a Christian friend to ‘come and see’. Adam recently said ‘Aged 15, Changing Lanes challenged my assumptions about Christianity and helped me to see that the message about Jesus was not only true but exactly what I needed’.
You can be ready, by getting ready - ready to pray, to share, to learn and to invite.