Last Sunday, we talked about how the prophets prophesied of the grace that would come, and how they realized that it wasn't for their age, it was for ours. We are those who have received the gospel. And we shouldn't take that privilege lightly - the gospel is so radically world-changing that even the angels long to look into this.
And so Peter - having reminded us of this - writes, "therefore..." In other words, "Because of this incredibly unique privilege and how amazing the gospel of grace is, I now write the following to you..."
He tells us to prepare our minds for action. While the New American Standard says "prepare your minds," the King James version says,
1Pet. 1:13 ...gird up the loins of your mind...
This is a more literal translation, and more accurate, just so long as you know what "girding up your loins" means.
"Girding up your loins" means tying up your loose garments in your belt. Remember, in Bible days their clothes were robes, togas, and skirts of various lengths. If you knew that you had to be ready to run or move quickly, you would gird your loins - gathering the flowing parts of your garment into your belt, to keep them from tripping you up and hindering your movement.
When Peter tells us to gird up the loins of our minds, he is telling us that our minds need to be ready for anything, to be prepared for any instance or circumstance. They can't be hindering us or tripping us up.
What does your mind do that trips you up? Thinking about things you shouldn't. Making plans that shouldn't be made. Considering courses that shouldn't be traveled.
Girding up the loins of your mind means taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Cor. 10:5).
Of course, in order to have our minds prepared, we have to keep sober. Peter used the word "NAY-fo," which is Greek for "be sober," or "abstain from wine," or "keep cool, calm, and collected." All of these definitions certainly apply. After all, no matter how well you prepare your mind, being intoxicated on drugs or alcohol is going to affect your ability to react. And if you're blowing your top or acting on impulse, your mind isn't going to be girded up for anything.
Job knew this thousands of years ago. When his children were off having parties, he was afraid that their minds were no longer girded, that they might get tripped up. When they were done, Job would consecrate them and offer sacrifices for them, because...
Job 1:5 ...Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.”...
And so we need to maintain an attitude of sobriety.
Some people won't take responsibility for keeping their minds girded and under control. They say things like, "How am I supposed to be ready and stay sober and calm? Life is too hectic, I need a break, I need a vice, my schedule is killer, my circumstances are too hard." But if their question is genuine, then we can respond that fortunately, Peter tells us how to stay ready and sober:
1Pet. 1:13 ...fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We need to focus on the fact that Jesus Christ is coming back at any moment. You see, when we are focused on His return, we can't help but be ready. When we realize that Jesus could catch us up to meet Him in the clouds at any time, we won't even consider losing our temper or giving into temptation - we realize that it's not an option.
This is very much like the commandement the apostle John wrote:
1John 2:28 ...abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
Focusing in on His appearing, fixing our hope on the grace that will be brought to us on that day, will keep us from being caught unawares. It will keep us confident and alert. We will be happy to see Jesus, rather than shrinking from Him in shame.
Now Peter really gets down to what it looks like when our minds are girded, ready, and prepared. A mind that is under control results in a life of holiness, not lustfulness.
When you read the word "lusts," you may think that Peter is simply talking about sex. But in reality, he is referring to passions of all kinds. What are some passions that people have?
- food, sweets, caffeine, sodas;
- sex, pornography, self-indulgence, gambling;
- partying, drinking, drugs, tobacco;
- sports, motorcycles, cars, racing;
- tv, movies, magazines, music;
- recognition, money, fame, influence
Some of these sound sinful, and others don't. But they are all things about which people can be passionate.
Now please don't misunderstand me: I don't believe there's anything wrong with having things in life that you like to do. But when they become your masters or your idols, when they expose you to sin - or take you away from the Lord - they become blatantly sinful. Then, having them in your life is destructive, and far from the holiness in which God commands us to live.
What passions in your life are the "have to" kind of things? "I have to smoke a cigarette. I have to see that movie. I have to have that drink. I have to watch the Super Bowl."
As soon as you "have to" act on that passion, you can be assured that it's become sin. It's a lust which shouldn't be present in your life any longer.
Paul came to the conclusion that,
1Cor. 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
Instead of passion mastering our minds, our minds should be masters of our passions. We cannot let lusts win.
Rom. 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts
2Tim. 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Gal. 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Ultimately, the command that we have been given is,
1Pet. 1:15 ...like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior
Remember, we talked about the word "sanctifying" back in verse two. It's from the same word as the word "holy" before us. It means to be set apart for God's exclusive use.
Is your life holy? Does everything you do indicate that you belong to God? Tonight, we have a communion service - a time that is sanctified, set apart for us to minister to God as He ministers to us. What are your plans this evening? Are they to be holy, or to indulge your passions?1John 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.