Hallelujah! Jesus Is Risen!
Peter writes to Jewish Christians, who were suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus. According to Peter, suffering is an expected part of a life of sincere faith. We all undergo sufferings of different kinds, during different phases in our life. However, 1 Peter 1:6 says that suffering is for a little while.
Even as we travel in this world, suffering is not going to hurt us if we do as Peter advises – “in your hearts set apart Jesus as Lord”. KJV reads as sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
I look at the meaning of ‘set apart’ as mentioned in the dictionaries from two perspectives.
Interestingly, Macmillan dictionary defines ‘set apart’ as ‘To make someone or something different and special’.
Few other dictionaries mention as ‘If a characteristic/quality sets someone or something apart from other people, it makes him/her/it different from the others in a noticeable way, usually better than others’.
Set apart happens at two levels
Therefore, taking from the above meanings of ‘set apart’, let us look at 1 Pet. 3:15 in two ways – firstly, it implies making Jesus special and different in our lives. This happens internally; in our heart. Secondly, when we internalize and make Jesus special, clearly setting Him apart from everything else, we in the process are ‘being set apart’ from others. Our characteristics/qualities change because of Jesus being in our heart, making an impact on our surroundings or externally.
In our heart
We need to give Jesus a special place, top priority, highest place in our hearts; such that it makes an impact in our life and that of others. For many of us Christ is a part of our life. However, we need to make God the focus of our life; we need to allow God hold the steering wheel of our life. When we place God in the center of our heart, we will be delivered from all our fears and our mind will be calm.
In our everyday ordinary life
With Jesus in our heart, people will notice the difference in us. People will see that we are the child of God and we do not have to mouth it all the time or say statements to show that we are pious. As ordinary Christians, we need to be ‘reflective’ or ‘thinking’ Christians, always conscious of God. As ordinary Christians, we have to set apart Christ in our hearts through our faith, experience and relationship with God.
Even as we say, ‘Jesus Christ is Risen’ today, do we have that sanctuary for Jesus in our heart? As we work and go through everyday’s task, do we go to that chapel in our heart where we can withdraw and reflect, think and sanctify God? Our faith and belief in God will have to set us apart from others. In our ordinary Christian life, we are called to sanctify Christ in our heart.
Happy Easter! God Be with you.