The biggest difference we can make is to participate in another person’s eternal fate being changed through the good news of Jesus Christ. I believe 1 Peter 3:15 is one of the most helpful for encouraging and enabling us to be involved in that process. But the verse leading up to it is also important for making a difference in the lives of others. Verse 14 says, “Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” Peter’s readers had reason to fear, for they were persecuted while not deserving mistreatment. Yet Peter said, “don’t be afraid.” That’s easier said than done in a world where there is good reason to fear.
Unfortunately that is easier said than done. I can try to will myself to not fear, but that usually doesn’t work very well. I’ve tried it while sitting in the dentist’s chair and found that somehow fear is quite persistent even when not warranted. We try to make our lives as safe and free from threat as possible. For instance, since I’m not a big fan of heights I can choose not to parasail, thus reducing the fear of that a little, but there’s no way to avoid all stress and threat in a dangerous world like this. So how do we conquer fear?
Verse 15 tells us. “Set apart Christ as Lord.” Peter is saying, “remember that Jesus is Lord. Treat him as holy, as the Almighty God that he is, the God who is sovereign over all that happens in your life.” When we live in fear we cast a vote against God’s trustworthiness. We say he is either uninterested in giving us what is best for us or unable to do so. But God is both interested, passionately so, and able to bring about our good. In the end we will only be at rest, at peace, when we feel safe. The key for us is to believe that we truly are safe at every moment because our God is real and he loves us. Set him apart as Lord, and do not fear!