Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 1 Peter 1:13
In my Bible it describes this verse as A Call to Holy Living. That sounds so formal, so churchy, doesn’t it? Isn’t “holy living” what monks and nuns do? Well, I guess that’s a reasonable misconception, because when somebody became a priest it used to be described as “taking holy orders, right?
But “misconception” it is, and this verse proves it.
It goes on to describe exactly what “holy living” is all about.
“Prepare your minds for action” sounds like the tagline of a 1940s naval action movie. How do I prepare my mind for action? First, I have to “clear the decks” of any clutter (and I promise not to pursue this analogy any longer). Nothing must be allowed to get in the way of the action of following Jesus.
What about ambition? Aren’t I allowed to have a few long-cherished get-rich schemes, a personal bucket-list of holiday destinations and secret want-tos? Answer: are they clutter or not? Will they get in the way of the action?
My own personal discovery on this score (and everyone has to be their own Columbus), is that the more I freely relinquish my own rights, privileges and personal ambition, the more I find out what God wants for me and the more I go on to realise that His way is far far better and much more satisfying. Much much more satisfying.
The verse teases out what that “Prepare for action” looks like. Discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
Discipline –such a popular word, right? – just means training, planning, organisation. This morning, I heard a sermon on that bit in Hebrews where it says “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” The preacher got excited about the word “diligently.” It means study, effort, thought. It means the streamlining of my life until it all points in one direction. The preacher finished with this slightly worrying sentence: “God has nothing for lazy people.”
It shocked me, but only because I recognise the lazy bone in my own physical make-up. “Diligently” means discipline. It means setting the clock so that I don’t forget to pray. It means fasting. It means reading the Bible through each year and working at the tricky bits.
It means… Oh, I’m sure you know what it means. I only mentioned the words God spoke to me on this point.
And there’s a timescale on all this. Set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
The timescale is right there in the last word. “Revealed.” That’s the Bible word for the wrap-up of history, when God brings everything to a.
Peter reminds you to “set all your hope” on that final dénouement.
Before it’s too late. Get with the programme. Prepare. Discipline. Go for it.
Lord, I know that there’s a word for me to wait, to listen and to worship.
But I realise that there is also a word to “Rise up” and to “Take the land.” Help me to receive this word in its season and to respond to it with all the energies of my heart, soul, mind and strength. Enable me to get ready for action. Give me wisdom to understand what is clogging up the process.
And to follow you, my Lord.