Sometimes the Scripture emphasizes the response to the young Church in the New Testament in such a way that other concepts can be buried for us.

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:14-17

Reverence for God’s Anointed comes first in our lives, we must have the determination to be steady in our faith in times of suffering for good. Not because suffering itself is virtuous, but because our devotion to Christ is paramount. It is not suffering we should look to as a sign of true devotion, but true devotion as an anchor during suffering.

So what does it mean to revere Christ as Lord? The Greek word is the verb form of holy, we might say sanctify or consecrate. Set apart from everything, regarded as dedicated to God, made Spiritually above ordinary things. We are also made holy when God calls us Saints as members of Christ’s body the Church. We place Jesus in this special category in our hearts, the seat of our decision making and will.

So Jesus is to be sanctified in our hearts. What should that look like? Peter cites an example of suffering here, but he also gives instruction that is always applicable. Do what is right so that they can only punish you for good things! This is not only a practice we undertake but an outgrowth of sanctifying Christ in our hearts. If you set up Jesus as holy and central in your heart, in your decision making, in your very existence, then what else can you do but good things? What else can you have but a clear conscience?

So yes, be prepared to give an answer and perhaps even expect persecution, but more than that look to Christ as the most important person in your life and center your decisions on his teachings.

Ethan Kirl