I had a great meeting with a couple of men this morning in my weekly Bible Study. We started working through 1 Peter, and being that today is New Year’s Eve the topic of yearly highlights from 2015 came up, as well as goals for 2016. This is such a good habit to cultivate; to look back over the last year and find things for which to be thankful and joyful, as well as looking on into the next year with goals and aspirations. Some people get down on resolutions, since most of the time they only last a few weeks. Why is that? My friend Rob had some insight into that today.
We got to verse 13 in the first chapter where it says, “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.” Rob mentioned that we’ve gotten too comfortable with the idea of flipping a switch and something happening. There’s a paradigm of immediacy in our culture that sometimes prevents us from understanding the necessary struggle and pain that it takes to get from point A to point B in a given exercise. For instance, if I say that beginning tomorrow I’m going to run three times a week. Why not start with one? I haven’t been running. I hate running. Yes I need to run, and lose weight, but 3 times a week??!! Rob shared his own “preparation” for some of his goals in the next year; a preparation that acts as a foundation, or platform from which to build. Without the preparation, the platform, the foundation, a given task has little chance of making it down the long stretch.
Forget about resolutions, how do we prepare our minds for action? What is the foundation upon which we will build as it relates to the grace that will be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ? The imperative is not to prepare our minds for knowledge, or to prepare our minds for doctrine. The imperative is to prepare our minds for action. What action is Peter talking about? In context Peter is getting at “holy conduct”; that is, putting aside “the passions of our former ignorance”, and seeking to live holy lives. Preparing our minds for action is in large part to consider the action for which we’re preparing our minds. (I apologize if you had to read that sentence 3 times, it took me 5 times to finish writing it…) The action is clear; holiness.
Holy lives are ones that are set apart for the works of Jesus Christ. Holy lives give love to those whom others disregard and for the poor and helpless. Holy lives delight in children knowing that the Lord loves the least of these. Holy lives seek the Lord in passionate relationship, and know his voice. Holy lives hunger and thirst for righteousness. Holy lives tell others of the salvation that is in Christ with words and deeds. Understanding the commands for how we are to live is only the foundation; the building on the foundation comes in the doing. This is the way Jesus has called us to walk. Consider these and other “actions” that Jesus has called us to, and in 2016 engage not only your mind to these things, but your heart and your will as well. In this by God’s grace we will be transformed into His likeness by the grace that is given at his revelation.