“We can’t avoid reasoning; we can only avoid doing it well.” - Peter Kreeft, Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. - Psalms 119:105
Apologetics: “systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine)” - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
My wife and I have a little Persian cat named Millie. As you may know, Persians don’t make very good outdoor pets. Their long fine hair makes it impossible for them to effectively groom themselves. So they get matted and dirty very easily. On top of that, it’s dangerous to let them outside because they’re often stolen. So Millie is an indoor cat, despite the fact that she loves to run and climb and try to kill things, like most other cats. The problem is her claws. Like I said, she likes to climb. But we have no trees inside our house, so couches and chairs have become her trees. It’s a constant struggle to keep her from trying to climb those “indoor trees.” We’ve even thought about having her claws removed so she can’t do any more damage. She would certainly be easier on our furniture without her claws. However, cats are made to have claws for a reason. They provide the ability to hunt, defend themselves, and escape danger. So much of what a cat is, is found in their claws. They may not need them inside, but they’ll always need them outside. And even indoor cats escape to the outside every once in a while. As Christians, many of us reside in the proverbial “indoors.” There is no danger to our lives, no challenges to be faced. We go to church and hang out with other like minded Christians. We go to work and don’t talk about our faith. We walk the streets of our cities and towns looking no different than any other person. For most of our lives we have no need to defend our beliefs. And so we often become “Declawed Christians.” Our identity is in Christ, but we have no way of defending ourselves, of sharing the Gospel, or escaping ridicule. It’s true, most of our lives will be lived unchallenged. However, we will all be challenged at some point. I want my cat to have her claws just in case the next time she tries to explore outside the house she’ll be able to escape a neighbor dog. And I want the same for you. So how do we retain our claws for Christ? And what in the world is a claw for Christ anyway? Our claws for Christ are anything that can help us defend the Gospel. Their technical term would be “Apologetics.” They consist of a knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, the ability to understand and form arguments, and the ability to think logically from the Christian standpoint. It’s important as believers to know what we believe. It’s important to have a firm foundation to our faith. And it’s important to be able to recall the sources of our spiritual identity. Many books have been written about apologetics, so it would be impossible for me to talk about everything pertaining to it here, (and I’m not really qualified). However, here’s a start. Get into God’s word. Listen to it, read it, memorize it. You’ll never know when you’ll need it. It’s not as hard as you may think. Sure there are hard parts to the Bible, but you don’t have to start there. Start with the gospels, continue with the writings of the apostles in the New Testament. God will lead you to His word if you give Him a chance. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn and how your perspective on everything can change. God is our source of life and His word is meant to be food for our souls, able to strengthen and sustain us. What’s more important however, is that it builds a relationship with Him. And it’s out of a relationship with Him that these words of Jesus can become true in our lives. “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” - Luke 12:11-12
Daily Journaling Questions:
- How did I help someone in kindness today?
- What did I learn today?
- What am I thankful for?
- Who did I love today?
- What am I dreaming of?
- What about today do I want to remember forever?
- What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,