It’s hard to believe that we’ve been sheltering in place for weeks now. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined being confined to my home due to a worldwide pandemic.
But, it has happened and I’ve been struggling to make sense of it. Or, more precisely, to discover what can be learned from it.
As a generally curious person, I tend to think beyond the surface of most things. Sometimes it gets me into trouble because I think deeply into things that are truly just surface deep. “No really, Kelly, there is nothing deeper here than painting this wall. It’s just paint drying. Nothing else.”
Although at other times I glance over something, pushing curiosity aside due to familiarity, and almost miss the lesson.
This has been my situation for the past month. The familiarity of scripture almost robbed me of an important message. But thankfully, God doesn’t give up on me and brought this passage in 1 Peter in front of me several times until I started to pay attention.
In 1 Peter, we get some instructions on how to be holy. In fact, the header above this passage in my Bible says “Be Holy”.
The passage starts with the word therefore. My excellent Bible teachers always taught me that when you see the word therefore, you should look to see what it is there for.
The previous 12 verses in 1 Peter show a powerhouse of therefore, what for, why for, who for, and when. In fact, so many things are packed into those verses, that Peter tells us, in verse 12, that even the angels would love to be learning about all of it.
So, therefore, because of all that was listed in verses 1-12 ( you really must read it for yourself) we have our marching orders in verses 13-17.
First thing on the list? Prepare your minds for action. Hmm. . . minds. Action? Those two words don’t really seem to fit together. I usually think of my mind as thinking, pondering, mulling over, etc. Action? That’s what my body physically does. How do those two words mesh?
Well, my mind needs to get ready for my body to get into action. Verse 12 explains that we are to be sober or self-controlled. If we jump into action without thinking first, we could get into trouble. My mind gets me started off on the right foot by being sober-minded. Another translation reads sober-minded as serious – taking things seriously.
Next, we are told to set our hope fully (or only) on the grace to be given to us when Jesus Christ is revealed. Setting our hope on Christ means that we know (we KNOW!) that Jesus is our only hope and plan of salvation. Because of that hope, I can look at things differently.
How different will things be looking? Eternally, spiritually, holy, fully, hopefully. My eyes won’t be on the situation around me. My attention won’t be on what I can’t do or accomplish. My wishes won’t be for what I don’t have. I won’t be trying to fill my life with things that don’t matter or won’t last.
So, preparing my mind for action looks a lot like zeroing in on better things that God has prepared for me. Verse 21 says, “Through Him (Jesus) you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” That’s the Happy Easter message, ya’ll!
Preparing my mind for action means I get to refocus and prepare to live differently. So, I’m thinking ahead to when I get to leave my house. How can I prepare my mind to be ready to activate holiness?
I’m rethinking priorities. Planning hospitality. Pondering thoughtful giving. Dreaming creatively. Visualizing obedience. Looking beyond the surface. Expecting the unexpected.
What will you do to do prepare your mind for action?
Lord, you have called me to greater things that you have already prepared, in advance for me to do. Help me to focus on you, my Living Hope, for guidance and direction. Help me to prepare my mind for the action plan you have for me. Give me your strength to accomplish your work and help me to not get distracted by the temporary things of this world. Amen.