In 1 Peter 3:15-17 (NKJV) The Scripture reads, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. Having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ will be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than suffer for doing evil.”
In verse 15, the word “sanctify” actually means to “honor as holy.” The expression “to be ready to give a defense . . .” parallels of speaking “testimonies also before kings and will not be ashamed (Ps 119:46).” It means that you can articulate God’s Word even to the highest of places when time is given you to give a reason for “the hope that is in you.” As Christians our “hope” here is the same as “that having been justified by his grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7).”
Whereas, I believe that being able to “defend” and have “hope” at the same time begins because the Lord God is honored as holy in our hearts. There are many ways for us to make God honored in our hearts.
1. By allowing God to have exclusive access to the thoughts and recessions of our hearts.
2. By separating God as holy in our hearts in contrast to the mundane thoughts we have inside.
3. By purifying our hearts by His Words daily.
4. By continually meditating on His Holiness by His Holy Word.
5. By blocking evil thoughts and fleeing from impurity, lusts, and immorality.
6. By seeking God every morning and every evening.
7. By dedicating our hearts to God and surrendering to His will.
After we have enthroned God as King of our hearts, our feelings and emotions are not controlled by our own way but His way which is shown through the demonstration of “meekness and fear.” “Meekness” states the idea of humility, gentleness and above all it is one of the fruits of the God the Holy Spirit in us (see Matthew 5:5, Galatians 5:22-23). While “fear” emphasized here connotes the idea of “respecting God’s command” and “receiving this wisdom from God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).
Having God in our hearts translates into “having a good conscience” in our lives. Because there is no amount of defamation or abuse of words from others can take away our good conscience from us. For which only God can fill. Thus, Peter rightly concludes that to “suffer” because of doing good is indeed far more better than suffer because of doing evil.
Is it a high time for us to sanctify God in our hearts?