I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”
Two-hundred and forty years ago, the American Continental Army spent the long, cold, harsh winter in Valley Forge twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia. The winter of 1777-1778 was a pivotal one for the revolutionary cause in America, and is rich with lessons for Christians today. It will be the topic of the next several PLUS posts, as we consider the powerful example and lessons of our courageous and visionary forefathers.
In order to professionalize the untrained military force at Valley Forge, General Washington brought in the Prussian battle-tested soldier Baron Friedrich von Steuben. Upon seeing the force early on in his tenure, von Steuben commented that “with respect to military discipline, I may safely say that no such thing existed in the Continental Army.” Baron von Steuben would be the Continental Army’s Inspector General and even in the harsh conditions of Valley Forge, the Americans invested their time in learning military tactics and developing into a professional force. By the time they left their winter encampment, the Americans were trained and disciplined soldiers.
Baron von Steuben made an interesting observation about the American soldiers as compared to the others around the world: “You say to your soldier, ‘do this’ and he does it. But I am obliged to say to the American, ‘This is why you ought to do this’ and then he does it.” He saw the need to be ready to give an answer to every American soldier when asked ‘why’? Once armed with an understanding and motivation, Americans were an unmatched force.
American Christians today, in accordance with God’s Word, need be to ready to always give an answer to every man about our hopefulness. We are to answer why we are hopeful. We are to answer why we are faithful. We are to answer why we are steadfast. We are to answer why we are principled. We are to answer why we are humble. We are to answer why we are filled with conviction. We are to answer why we are filled with joy. We are to answer by directing attention away from ourselves and to the source of all our strength. Doing so will provide understanding and motivation that can make us an unmatched force.
PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER FOR THE HOPE THAT IS IN US. Be ready to say, ‘this is why’.