Stop and Think: The Mind in Life and Ministry (Part 1)

How much of your life is affected by your mind? How much do your thoughts affect your day? To what extent are your attitudes, your perspectives, your relationships, and your communication shaped by your thinking?

In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter draws a powerful picture: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ . . .”

The phrase “preparing your mind for action” portrays the ancient act of “girding up your loins,” a strategic adjustment of the customary robe where a man would reach down, draw up the bottom portions of his robe, and tuck them into his belt for increased mobility. Just like we put on shorter or tighter clothes for athletic activity, the ancients would reposition their own clothing for exertion. Drawing from this custom, Peter is urging these suffering Christians to do something profound: “Tie up the loose ends of your mind.”

Draw a mental picture of the typical inner-workings of your mind. Do your thoughts blow with the breeze of circumstances, or are they tied down with a thick rope of faith? Do your anxieties flap loudly in the wind of your schedule, your workload, and your finances, or are they wrapped and bundled up with daily prayers? Are your thoughts about people marked by irritating loose ends and fraying fringes, or are they bound tightly with patience and love and gospel realities?

Consider the potent realities which Peter highlights throughout 1:13-25 as he builds his exhortations upon gospel truth. In other words, Peter provides grand reasons for every command he gives. By thinking on his reasons and realities, we are driven inescapability to follow the moral instructions he gives. Just think about the behavioral implications of the following realities:

  • Based on the promise of future grace . . . (1:13)
  • Based on the holy character of God  . . . (1:14)
  • Based on the holy calling of God . . . (1:14)
  • Based on the impartial judgment of God . . . (1:17)
  • Based on the priceless cost of your ransom . . . (1:18-19)
  • Based on the emptiness of your former life . . . (1:18)
  • Based on the “last times” revelation of Christ . . . (1:20)
  • Based on the resurrection and glorification of Christ . . . (1:21)
  • Based on the object of your faith and hope . . . (1:21)
  • Based on your irreversible new birth . . . (1:23)
  • Based on the eternal potency of God’s word . . . (1:24-25)
  • Based on the “good news that was preached to you” . . . (1:25)

These truths create a sober worldview. These truths function as so many ties to bind up the loose ends of your mind, to put decisions and priorities in proper perspective. They construct a value system that matches the structure and flavor of the gospel. They make sober-mindedness seem sensible instead of boring. They make clear-minded, heavenly thinking rational and desirable. They make morality and maturity and stability attractive instead of stuffy and rigid and old-school. They make obedience appear virtuous and ornate instead of futile and obsolete. Again, notice how all of Peter’s commands are tied to specific reasons and realities. We have to actively think about these things for them to have a binding effect on our mindset and our everyday mental mood.

The Christian life and ministry is thought-to-thought combat. It requires focus, concentration, resolve, and exertion. It is impossible to overestimate the effects of the mind on our everyday life. But if thinking truly is war, we must think better about our thinking if we want to fight better in the fight.


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