I Peter 3:15-16 (AMP) But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect. And see to it that your conscience is entirely clear, so that every time you are slandered or falsely accused, those who attack or disparage your good behavior in Christ will be shamed [by their own words].
I have been reviewing the highlight reels of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the form of a devotion I have been reading. The writer is encouraging others to become bold for the Lord. In fact, Bolder is the name of the book the study is based on. One of the referenced verses for today is I Peter 3:15-16. Do you desire holy boldness? To be bold and shameless about faith in God our Father and Jesus His Son. To be ready to be accountable when asked by others about our belief. To be accountable to defend our hope that is secure. Are you ready for a new life? Miraculous existence? Kingdom living? Unprecedented favor? Every spiritual blessing? The infinitely more than one might think, ask or imagine? Revival? It is vital to spiritual success to live a life of constant and ongoing accountability.
Accountable to Christ
The first and probably most important accountability factor is Jesus Christ. My heart must be set apart for and set on the Lord before my faith will be effective in any other realm of spirituality. It is this relationship with Jesus that allows me to live in right standing or righteousness with God. Without grace, there is no power available to me. Reverence has left most religions. Former Houses of Prayer are now deemed Places of Preference. Soft and seeker sensitive social gathers crying out for God’s Spirit but unwilling to be inconvenienced or uncomfortable when He comes. In order to live the life I am called to live in Christ means I must full acknowledge Jesus and give Him first place in my life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Everything I desire of God must be found through Him.
Accountable to the Word
Jesus is the Word of God. He came wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love to us. His Words completely aligned with God’s Word. Jesus did nothing without the Father’s approval. What a different life I might live if I ever make it to the place of 100% accountability and alignment with the Word of God for my life. If I do not know the Word of God and reconcile my life to it, there is no possible way to receive the complete fullness of it.
Accountable to People
Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.
Accountability to people piggybacks on accountability to God’s Word. God does not condone ignorant arguments. He doesn’t thrive on division or strife. Half-cocked Christians fire amiss created collateral damage because they do not know the Word (Jesus) who they so vigilantly try to defend. Jesus didn’t argue with those in opposition. He simply shared the truth. When the enemy came to tempt our Lord, His Defense was the Word of God. I believe the Word of God. I strive to know the Word of God. We must be diligent in studying the Word of God each day. We must be accountable to the Word of God so that our accountability to others is on point. Confidence and Christ doesn’t need to deal death blows to others but rather quietly, lovingly and consistently share the truth with gentleness and respect just like Jesus.
Accountable to the Cross
And see to it that your conscience is entirely clear, so that every time you are slandered or falsely accused, those who attack or disparage your good behavior in Christ will be shamed [by their own words].
I must be accountable to the Cross. Each day must begin with true repentance and the night end the same way as well. It is vitally important in our relationship with Jesus that the Cross is never dismissed as old-fashioned or unnecessary. It is in humility that one bows before Jesus to confess our many sins. It is the only way to have a clear conscience. People will talk about you. Right or wrong? True or false? Gossip or tale telling? It is just a fact of life. The only way to discredit the attack is to nullify it. In other words, live above it. God’s Word for your life has so many good things in store that wallowing in the mud with others is simply not necessary.
I Peter challenges us to live godly and set apart lives. Even in the midst of trials and suffering to develop a consistent Christian character that are constant. Circumstances do not affect godly principles. Let me say that again…our circumstances to do not affect godly principles or change the truth of God’s Word. Consistency in godly living, despite our circumstances, is the true test of growth in godliness. Daniel was a man of integrity. He did not use his unfortunate circumstances to change his commitment to God. In fact, it didn’t matter what the cost – Daniel demonstrated an intense love for God. His friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were the same. When faced with certain death due to unwillingness to bow down to the king, they chose the fiery furnace over compromising their commitment. Accountability demonstrated to the point of death. Not many of us will ever face such challenges, yet the invitation of accountability remains. To live set apart for Christ, a willing vessel who is ready to receive His Overflowing Outpouring! Let that be me today, Lord! I want to be accountable!