Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Be prepared. Be sober. Hope fully.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."  1 Peter 1:13

How many times have I gone into things, unprepared to take action?  So many times I have floundered because of that.

Here though, Peter says to be prepared. 

How exactly?  That's what I struggled with as I meditated my scripture memory verse.  My thoughts have clarified some now and I think it is by soaking in the Word of Truth.  If I focus on scripture, not just the times I have to memorize it, or get a quick moment in it, rather have focused times of reading and studying it, I will be preparing my mind.

When I am tempted, God says that he will provide a way out of that temptation.  But how will I see the way out unless I have been soaking up his truth?

When I am faced by temptation, I have to be prepared for action.  In the King James version, it says "gird up the loins of your mind."  It seems a strange thing to us now, but back in the day, they wore long robes that hampered their movement.  When they needed to be prepared to move or run, they reached down and grabbed the bottom edge of the back of their robe, pulled it up to the front and tucked it into their belts... in effect creating crude shorts, in which they could run, move, fight more freely.

Peter is saying we need to do the same thing with the loins of our mind.  Prepare ourselves in our minds.  Gather in the loose "robes" or affections, entanglements, and bring them under control of truth, God's Truth. 

Then is says simply, be self-controlled (or sober in KJV).

How can any of us be self-controlled or sober when we have all these loose things and are unprepared in our minds?  I know from experience that my self-control is out the window.

If I am not prepared, then self control will be hard to come by in the heat of the moment, when a decision needs to be made - do I do this, or do I do what God wants me to?

Being sober (or self-controlled) also means not to be inebriated in my mind.  It means cutting out the things that would dull my senses to God, his glory and goodness, his love and faithfulness, and that would hinder my coming to Him in everything, hinder my prayer life.

Here is a quote from Matthew Henry's commentary on this verse.

"Be sober, be vigilant against all your spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate and modest in eating, drinking, apparel, recreation, business, and in the whole of your behavior. Be sober-mined also in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves."

I have found my scripture memory verse this time to be full of such meaning and depth, that I have really gained a lot from studying it.  There is such application for me, for where I am at right now.

When it seems like God has given me a "wait," that doesn't mean that I get to coast.  If I coast in my walk with him, in what I am doing for Him, in how I am pursuing him, when He gives me the "go ahead" I won't be ready.  I may never get the "go ahead" from Him!  I might miss out on the opportunities He laid before me because I wasn't tuned into Him and didn't see them!

Continuing to prepare my mind for action, and continuing to be self-controlled will keep me in tune with God.  I will be able to build and maintain a strong connection with Him so that I am ready for anything.

The final thing is that my hope isn't in the preparation and readiness for action, or in the temperance and modesty in the whole of my behavior, my hope is fully fixed on God's grace.  He already has poured out such grace on me.  To think that He will continue to pour it out on me...

How to imagine the vastness of God?
How to grasp the unending grace of God?
How to understand His willingness to pour it out on me?

There is no understanding it.  However, even with things you don't understand fully, you can still fully place your hope in them.

So, I am determined to prepare myself for action.  I am going to be ready when God tells me to "go."  Instead of trying to gather my stuff up last minute and go, I want it all packed up and set.  I am determined to be self-controlled.  I know that I won't always be perfect at that, but I can strive for it, with God's help.

And above all else, I am going to hope fully.  Not halfheartedly.  Not partially.  With all my heart, mind, soul and strength I am going to love God, I am going to set my hope on His grace.

If, rather, when I fall and fail, I am going to get back up and keep on.  I don't want to give up anymore.  I have done so much of that.  Giving up on things in the past.  But not this time.  Not with this.  I have done too much work to gain the healing and wholeness God wants for me.

I will:

Be prepared.
Be sober.
Hope fully.


Desiray said...

I enjoyed the blog and the verse it seems like God is telling allot of people to be self-control. I did a teaching today on the radio about the Virtues of our faith and one of them was add self-control to your faith

Clay Feet said...

This was excellent and thoughtful Heather. It reminds me of inductive Bible studies I have observed and enjoyed. As I was reading about getting into the Word in your post the words kept popping into my mind that I like to use in conjunction with this idea. Simmer, marinate, soak, saturate, steep, impregnate, permeate, submerge.......