1 Peter 3 v 13 - 16

More straightforward advice here from Peter: seek with all that you have to live good lives, beyond reproach, and then there is less chance that you will be harmed and more opportunities to have those potentially life-changing conversations with others who seek us out because of our holy lives. I have read many articles and listened to a lot of conversations on podcasts about errant men of God (I think it is always men). Great characters such as Jean Vanier and Ravi Zacharias who have great attributes but proved also to be moral failures and those who became Christians through their teaching are now concerned about their salvation and do not have this human model to follow. Although we may say that no one should rest their Christian discipleship on one person, it is often inevitable that this is the case. The apostle Paul himself encouraged his readers to: 'Pattern your lives after mine' in Philippians 3 v 17 and he does this elsewhere too. If we are mature believers who sincerely seek to follow Christ in every aspect of our lives, it is likely that we will discover that others come to us for advice, support and encouragement and they will do this principally, I pray, because they have witnessed the standards by which we live by.

There is one thing I've discovered in my Christian walk of 50 years is that people are observing-many keep an eye on you so they can crow at any lapse in your behaviour (''Call yourself a Christian!''), but others are genuinely looking for people who they can seek to follow. Don't be frightened of this or think of yourself as unworthy (we are all unworthy without the Christ in us), but accept it and be encouraged and challenged by it!

So, just a reminder to be patient, to wait until someone comes to ask us what our faith is about. Yes, that means patience, but then you can tell the enquirer how Jesus has transformed your life.

Fi and I attended the funeral of our niece's husband Jon this week. The minister who took the service is the leader of the FIEC church my sister attends and he was very good, relaxed, knew names, but I had this debate with my brother-in-law after the service about the definition of the Gospel. His-and the minister's- not only contained the Good News of Jesus Christ, but also the warning if people don't turn to Him in repentance. I said to him that the Gospel is Good News, pure and simple. When we welcome that, we then understand that changes need to be made in our lives so as to receive that Good News fully.

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