1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." NASU
Being an old football coach (you don’t have to agree with the “old" part), my ears perk right up away when I hear something about preparing for action! I have spent most of my life preparing to play or coach a Friday night game, full of exciting action. I have been and desire to continue being a person of action. I am very interested in what the Bible can teach me about preparing my mind for action. I hope you will join me in that discovery. Grab your Bible and follow along.
Whenever we find the word therefore in the Bible, we need to find out what the therefore is there for! Therefore means "in light of what has been said earlier." It tells us to make sure we understand the context because it will help explain the following statements. In this context, the apostle Peter has been speaking to elders of the church. These particular elders have been shepherding flocks thought difficult times. The Gentile Christians were not only suffering ridicule and ostricization from other Gentiles, but Roman persecution of Christians may have begun shortly before this letter was written as well. It was not easy to be a believer during this time.
Since Peter generally ministered more to Jewish believers, it may be that the suffering he was talking about was from the Jews themselves. If a Jew became a believer in Christ, he or she was often cut off from the family, the synagogue, the ability to do business as usual, as well as suffering the same treatment a Gentile believer would receive from the Greeks and Romans. In spite of all this, Peter reminds them in verses 3-12 of chapter 1 of all the blessings that they have.
Let’s look at what these blessings are:
V3. Born again to a living hope
V4. Obtaining an inheritance which will last forever. Reserved in heaven
V5. Salvation that is protected by God’s power through faith
V6. Faith that is more precious than gold, tested by fire and it results in bringing glory to God which is our purpose for living
V7. Inexpressible joy
With all this in mind (therefore), prepare your minds for action,
Two questions come to mind. The first one is, what does that statement mean? If you look at the King James Version of the Bible, it is translated a little differently. It says to gird up the loins of your mind. HUH? Literally, in Greek it is “Bind up the procreative power of your intellect, understanding, imagination or way of thinking.” WHAAAT? Let's let a Greek scholar help us out. A.T. Robertson says that it refers to the Oriental custom of gathering up ones robes when in a hurry or leaving on a journey. He cross references Judg 18:16 The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.
The idea is that a soldier, who may have to get ready to fight in a hurry, would make sure that he arms himself properly. You wouldn’t go to war without your weapons, right? You need to be prepared. Peter is saying that in that same way, we must prepare our minds as well.
Ok, question number two. How do I do that? Peter answers that question in the next few verses. Let’s look closely at what he says.
First he says, “keep sober in spirit,”
The ESV translates it sober-minded, the NIV says self-controlled. The word spirit is not actually in Greek but it is implied. The idea is that we keep a sound mind, not clouded. The word sober is specific, in order to contrast it to a mind that is impaired by intoxication. It is the opposite of a mind that is drunk! Peter is saying that we need to keep our mind uncluttered from things that bring us into confusion.
He reiterates this in 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer and 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
The apostle Paul evidently agrees wholeheartedly with Peter. 1 Thess 5:6-8 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 2 Tim 4:5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Next he tells us, “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The word hope in the Greek is elpizo, meaning expectation or confidence. It is not just some wish upon a star. It is a firm expectation. A waiting for it to come to pass and assurance that it will. Completely is telios, meaning having reached its end or perfect. Can I paraphrase here for you? Actually, I am going to, whether you say yes or no. “Don’t put any kind of confidence, in anything else but God’s grace, which we now know in part, but will understand fully when we are face to face with Jesus. Have the mindset that all that we are and have and do is because of God’s grace!”
Peter’s next instruction is this. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts (epithumia-longing especially for that which is forbidden) which were yours in your ignorance (agnoia-lack of knowledge),”
Paul says it this way in Rom 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
What it means is, that we allow our way of thinking to change, according to what God tells us. You see, the way we used to think is tainted by the lusts of the flesh. It can never work in God’s economy. We cannot be prepared for action in the spiritual realm if we are thinking in a worldly way. Let me illustrate.
Before you were a Christian you may have thought sex outside marriage was perfectly fine. After all, there is the physical desire for sex (which God put into us) and the wisdom of the world says, “hey, it’s just fulfilling your biological need, doesn't matter who it is with, no big deal.” A famous Crosby, Stills and Nash song once told us, “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Many people followed this line of thinking and the results are disastrous. Today, more babies are born out of wedlock than in it! This is the way the world thinks. It is a result of our fallen nature.
The Bible, God's inspired word, tells us something completely different. It says that any sex outside of marriage, which is defined as between one man and one woman, is sin. It rebellion against God’s design. If we are going to choose to be obedient in our action, in this case choosing sexual purity, we must agree, in our minds that God is correct and wants what is best for us!
Lastly, Peter tells us that in order to prepare our minds for action, we must be holy.
but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
If our minds are to be prepared for action we are to live holy lives. That word can be scary for us. After all, God is perfect, we are not. How can we possibly be holy like God? The Greek word for holy is Hagios. It means sacred, morally blameless, ceremonially consecrated. The Look closely though at the command. It says to be holy in your behavior. Can we really be holy in our behavior? Well, if God has called us to holiness, then He can supply the power to accomplish it. That power comes from the Holy (yes, same Greek word, hagios) Spirit. Galatians 5 tells us that we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and bear the fruit of His holiness rather than fulfilling the deeds of the flesh. This is what Peter is telling us.
Now, you might be asking, “why is this important to me? After all, didn’t you say this was written to elders? That would not be me! Glad you asked. Elders are the leaders of the church, but all of us are leaders in some capacity. For men it can be as husbands, fathers, maybe at work or in some other place where we have a sphere of influence. As a woman, you may be called to lead other women. You might be a leader on your job or in the community. Certainly, if you are a mother, you have been called to lead your children. We all have some role of leadership.
Therefore, let’s prepare our minds for action, so that we can fulfill all that God has called us to do, in whatever capacity He chooses for us.
God bless you,