It sure can be tough to be a Christian in public. Some of the things you believe in can make you and others a little uncomfortable. You might even feel like your career or reputation could be jeopardized. What’s a Christian man to do in a secular world? Here are three suggestions: (1) Be ready to defend your faith; (2) Be winsome in your defense of God’s truth; and (3) Remember God is guarding and watching over you.
First, know what you believe and why. Peter encourages the believers in the early church to be ready to answer challenges. If you’re going to suffer consequences for your beliefs, you might as well be ready to state them clearly:
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; (1 Peter 3:14-15a, emphasis added)
But then Peter adds this immensely practical advice about how you defend your faith:
…yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:15b-17, emphasis added)
It may be disconcerting to read, “when you are slandered,” instead of “if you are slandered.” If you are a Christian standing for a culturally unpopular, Biblical position, you are not going to be simply disagreed with; you are going to be lied about.
Finally, then, to overcome your fear of being slandered or reluctance to take a risk for your beliefs, remember this from Proverbs:
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. (Proverbs 2:6-8)
Remember the source of your beliefs: the stored up wisdom, knowledge and understanding from the Lord. He gives us this through His Word. Rely on a God who is a shield, a guard and a watchmen over you.
So guys, let’s speak truth boldly and in love. Be an upright man of integrity, and rely on the Lord. Be the kind of man so loving and righteous that others will look foolish when--not if--they slander you. Trust in Him to be your shield, guard your paths and watch over your way.
Remember Christ’s words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Brett Clemmer is our VP of Leadership Development, training, speaking and writing on behalf of the ministry. He joined Man in the Mirror in 2000 after a career in business and human services. Along with Patrick Morley and David Delk, Brett is the co-author of No Man Left Behind. Brett married Kimberly in 1991, and they have a daughter and son, both in college.