But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:14-17)
Since not everything in the world functions as it should, even those who do God’s will may undergo suffering. When Peter said if we should suffer "for righteousness’ sake", he is saying that believers should make certain that when they suffer it is only because they have served God faithfully and not because they have done anything wrong (1 Peter 4:14, 15). Then Peter states, "you are blessed." indicating that God specially honors those who suffer for doing what is right (see Matt. 5:10–12).
But what does Peter mean when he states, "sanctify the Lord God..."? Peter is saying that believers should acknowledge the eternal holiness of Christ by revering Him as the Lord of the universe who is in control of all things. Peter then goes on to say, "to give a defense..." Here Peter assumes that the Christian faith will be falsely accused. Peter therefore encourages Christians to have rational answers to respond to those false accusations. You may not be able to keep people from slandering you, but you can at least stop supplying them with ammunition. As long as you do what is right, their accusations will be empty and will only embarrass them.
It is very important for a believer to keep their conduct above criticism! Some Christians believe that faith is a personal matter that should be kept to oneself. It is true that we shouldn't be boisterous or obnoxious in sharing our faith, but we should always be ready to give an answer, gently and respectfully, when asked about our faith, our life-style, or our Christian perspective. Peter uses the words, "with meekness and fear;" Meekness is the same term translated gentle in 1 Peter 3: 4. Meekness is not weakness. Scripture indicates that both Moses and Christ were meek men; however, they were certainly not weak men. Fear implies a high degree of reverence or respect. Rather than fear our enemies, we are to quietly trust in God as the Lord of all. We must believe that Christ is truly in control of all events. When He rules our thoughts and emotions, we cannot be shaken by anything our enemies may do to us.
Peter then uses the phrase, "For it is better," Here; Peter is not encouraging believers to seek out situations in which they will experience suffering. Instead, he is saying that believers should make certain that when they suffer it is the result of having been faithful to God rather than because they have done evil (see 1 Peter 2:19, 20). Peter concludes with the phrase, "if it is the will of God," Peter wants his listeners to know that suffering may be part of God’s perfect and wise plan for a believer (see Matt. 5:10–12).
Father God, it is my prayer to sanctify You in my heart, mind and soul. Lord give me the wisdom and courage to always be ready to give a defense to anyone who questions the blessed hope that I have in You. Thank you Lord for shedding Your blood for me on the cross so I could have eternal life with You. My heart goes out to those who still have no hope because they refuse Your free gift of salvation. Lord I continue to thank you for all of the blessings You have given to me and my family. I pray this all in Your Holy and precious name. Amen.
References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.