But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you. – 1 Peter 3:15

Like a lot of children, my youngest son Arman asks a lot of questions. His questions are based in curiosity and a desire to understand how things operate in the world that he lives in. One such conversation that I recall from when he was four or five years old revolved around why he couldn’t have Oreos for breakfast. I came out to the living room to him watching cartoons while he was enjoying two fistfuls of cookies for breakfast. I said to him, “son you cannot have Oreos for breakfast.” He looked at me confused and replied, “why daddy?” I said to him, “because you must eat something healthy for breakfast!” He once again replied, “but why daddy?”

I was a bit flustered at this point even though his question came from a place of genuine confusion. In his mind, it was perfectly acceptable to eat Oreos for breakfast because he really loved the way they taste! He didn’t understand that it would be terrible for his long-term development and health if the only thing that he ever ate was ice cream and cookies. So I thought about it and I came up with a response that satisfied his curiosity. I said, “Son, Oreos are meant to be a treat on occasion, but parents are responsible for helping you to grow up to be a healthy boy, and for that reason you must eat something healthy to start the day. Maybe after dinner you can have a few Oreos.” His response then was, “ok daddy,” and he gave up the cookies and went back to watching his cartoons.

This morning in a CBMC group that I attended, we discussed preparing an answer for when somebody asks you “why do you follow Jesus?” or “why are you different from everyone else?” I think it’s important to apply the Arman test to our answers. Many people are curious about what they have witnessed in our lives. If you have been praying for those around you, and going out of your way to appreciate others, at some point they will ask “why are you doing this?” They are curious because it is out of the range of normal experiences that they have with most people. Many of these people will not understand who Jesus is or what He has done for them. What is it that you will tell them? Will your answer be so churchy that it will lead to more confusion? Or will it be a genuine, simple answer that could lead to further conversation and relationship? We spent time this morning preparing an answer to those questions.

  • Genuine
  • Simple
  • Invites future conversation

When you answer, try to incorporate some of these aspects. Your answer needs to be genuine and assume that the person you are talking to doesn’t know anything about church or Jesus. Use “I” and “me” statements. The reason they’re asking is because they see something different in you! Most definitely include Jesus in your response. You’re not different because you are a good person, you’re different because Jesus transformed you and gave you the responsibility of helping others to know and follow Him.

Lastly, make your answer somewhat brief. Try to keep it to a couple of sentences. Your answer will give them a seed. God will direct you in your answer, and He will also prompt them to ask you more.

Here is my answer to “why are you different?” or “why do you follow Jesus?” I usually say, “Because I am extremely grateful! My life was full of pain and anger, then I started following Jesus, and now my life is full of peace and hope!” What is your answer?

Think and pray
Have you prepared a response for anyone who asks about the reason that you have hope?

Heavenly Father, please help me to be ready to share all that you have done for me, and help me to proclaim Christ in all I do and say, Amen.

Adrian Savedra serves as Area Director for CBMC in Oklahoma. Having spent his early career as a head college baseball coach, his passion is helping others grow spiritually and apply the precepts of the bible to every area of their lives. He is active in his church and a shepherd to the many men involved with CBMC.