"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.' But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect ..."
1 Peter 3:14-15
In high school I was the "goody goody." I got teased for staying out of the drinking, drugs, and sex scenes. But, I was truly the one that was blessed.
I had a friend during those days that followed the crowd. She and I would go out for some fast food sometimes on a Friday night. Then, she would get a call from someone asking her to come to their house for a party or meet them for drinking. I would simply tell her to take me home if that was her choice for the evening. Many times she did just that. Years later I saw her again. She shocked me when she informed me that she had always respected me for standing up for what I believed in.
As Christians we have no idea when a moment will present itself in which we can give that answer about the hope that we have. How do we do it? We start as the verse above states - "set apart Christ as Lord." Making Jesus Lord of your life means He is leader and boss. When He's not only your Savior but your Lord, His hope will shine through to others. Next, we must be prepared. To prepare for tests, we study. That's how we can prepare to give an answer. We study His Word and commune with Him. With these two prerequisites, we can speak with certainty but remain gentle and respectful, no Bible thumping over the head.
If only Christians could grasp the concepts in these two verses, how differently we would live and how much more powerful our witness would be. That "goody goody" label doesn't seem so bad after all.