Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 ESV
(Footnote) a. Greek girding up the loins of your mind
My house had exploded! My sweet family departed, returning to their homes, leaving remnants of a precious holiday week. It was a delightful disarray of scattered toys, dirty laundry, forgotten sippy cups, stacks of games, left over desserts and used blankets close to the fire… all reminders of the past week sharing love, thoughts, fun and meals. I was not in a big hurry to put away these remnants. There was a sweet sadness that it was over.
What do we do with all the remnants and reminders of our past?
Some reminders are glorious times of accomplishment and treasure. Other reminders are gross times of apathy and tragedy. I have known people who constantly cling to the remnants of a glorious past- trophies, degrees, bank accounts, honors etc.- those who are stuck in the past, failing to connect with the present. I have also known people who are fixated on their losses and failings, shackled with fear, blinding them to the opportunities of the present.
I do not want to cling to the past, whether it was a gain or loss. Clinging to the past shuts down progress and growth. Clinging leads to deterioration rather than just stagnation. Clinging to the past creates a limited mindset, narrowing perception of opportunities and possibilities. Paul gives sound advice in Philippians on what we should do with the past:
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Philippians 3:13-15 (NIV)
“Straining” in the Greek means to “reach forth unto, to stretch one’s self forward, indicating direction.” We have a choice in the new year – to cling to the reminders and remnants of what is behind or resolve to reach forward to renewal.
To resolve, to have a resolution, means to have an intention or aim, a commitment and a plan. What are the intentions of your new year’s resolutions? What motivates your new direction?
Renewal, in a physical sense, means to replace or repair something that is broken. Physically, things of this world are always breaking down, needing replacement, subject to changing value and fickle in being fully satisfying our needs.
Renewal, in a spiritual sense, is the process of being made spiritually new through the Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth has consistent benefit, ridding the old fears with new faith that is fully satisfying to all our needs. Are your resolutions aimed at soul solutions and plans to give the Spirit of God room to strengthen and renew?
To resolve to strain forward toward the “goal”, we must “gird” our mind and heart. In other words, we must prepare as a runner prepares for a race or warrior prepares for battle.
13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [a]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having[b]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [c]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
a.Lit girded your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action or a coming event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. Before any vigorous activity the loose ends of clothing (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the wide band worn around the midsection of the body. The band (usually about six inches wide) also served as a kind of pocket or pouch to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
Girding and straining to prepare to live forward is a focus we can choose. Our Father will fully supply what we need. We are not alone in our resolve.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalms 29: 4, 11 (NLT)
To receive the strength of the Lord we must “hope fully” in the grace of God. The grace that we will be made perfect and be one with Him for eternity.
Focus Forward on the love of God -Focus on the hope in God’s love that is in front of you, leading you forward – Live hope(full).
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever, AMEN. The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle
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