There was a popular movie several years ago that revolved around a man who heard a voice that told him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. A statement from that movie is as well-known as the movie; "If you build it, they will come." A pastor friend of mine has his own version of this sentence with regard to getting Christians to come to an event; "If you feed them, they will come."
As you read through 1 Peter and come upon chapter three verse fifteen, it would seem that Peter had the same idea in mind. This verse tells us that if we have set Christ apart in our hearts as Lord, our lives are then lived in such a way that will get people curious. You could say that this verse conveys, "If you live Christlike, they will ask."
The verse actually reads, "But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord; Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15). This charge was given to a people who were facing brutal persecution because of their life in Christ. They would never be able to endure faithfully unless Christ was Lord. Their hearts had to be wholly His.
As they set apart Christ as Lord, they had hope. Jesus was the reason for their hope. Indeed, He WAS their reason and their hope! That faith and hope could not go unnoticed. In their suffering, the fruit of the Spirit would be evidenced rather than bitterness and hatred. Their lives were so radically different from others that people asked them about it. Their responsibility was to be ready to give the answer to the question when asked. Their answer was simple - Jesus. The radical contrast between a Christian's life and those in the world is no different - whether under persecution or freedom. That is one reason why Peter elsewhere refers to Christians as "aliens and strangers." Christians cannot hide their life in Christ any more than a city on a hill can be hidden in the night. Jesus told us that we are "salt and light" in the world. Neither of these can be concealed.
There isn't such a thing as a secret disciple. It's not that we wear name tags or badges. It isn't the bumper stickers on our cars, or posters on our walls. It is our life - our actions, conversation, habits, work, lifestyle... It may not be visible immediately to everyone, but in the day-to-day routine, it will show. And what shows will generate a curiosity in others. The Holy Spirit intensifies the curiosity prompting them to ask us about the hope we have. We need to be ready to give the answer when they ask.
There is a great amount of discussion these days among church leaders about how the church can be more effective in reaching the unsaved. And so there should be. Going into the world to make disciples is the church's divinely-given mission and must be kept a central part of our worship. Many methods and programs, both to reach out and to motivate and mobilize people, are being suggested. But, amidst all the discussion let us not forget, that the most effective way to reach the lost is for God's people to live Christlike - "in their hearts setting apart Christ as Lord."
For, if we live it, they will ask!!!