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Jan McCoy: Dealing with the falls
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1 Peter 3:15b-16 "And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ."

I love watching sports, and especially championship figure-skating. How I have longed to be the one gliding across the ice, gracefully curving and bending, spinning and moving to the music without even so much as a bobble. The job of the professional ice skater is to make what they do look seamless and effortless - like it's as natural as breathing. What the casual observer doesn't see are the hours of practice, falls, wrong moves and disappointments which the skater must work through to arrive at the point where they can perform with confidence and without errors.

Some people seem to live their lives this way - gliding along with the most confidence regardless of what crisis they may be facing. Think of someone you have known who handled a crisis without worry, or faced a long-term illness without fret. Does it just come naturally to some and not to others?

In his letter written from Rome, Peter gives us a hint to making living the Christian life look easy. In essence, he says, "Don't be ashamed to tell others about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but do so in a gentle and respectful way." People will be more likely to hear your words if your life matches your words. Then he reminds us that others are watching. If we keep our conscience clear, respond to others in hope and gentleness, and live a life according to Christ's principles, others will see our lives as we live out the Gospel in our actions. Then, they will more likely listen to our words.

How are you living out your faith in Christ today?

The Rev. Jan McCoy is the pastor of the Devereux United Methodist Circuit in Sparta. She may be reached at