Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Category: 1 Peter

Gird up your loins!

Maybe you’ve heard the expression and wondered about it. The Bible repeatedly refers to girding up one’s loins. After the mental snickering is over, what are we to make of this?

Peter used the expression: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13, KJV)

The same idea is found elsewhere in the Bible. It is found on the lips of a prophet (2 Kings 4:29; 9:1) and from God’s own mouth as well (Job 38:3; 40:7; Jer. 1:17).

Just what is meant by “gird up the loins”? And how, then, does one do so with one’s “mind”?

The first question first. In a helpful post (which you can find here) the Art of Manliness website offers us this visual instruction manual …

Here’s another helpful, but less visual, explanation.

Now consider the second question–how are we to do with with our “minds”?

The King James Version is quite literal in its rendering of the original Greek. More recent English Translations have sought to communicate the essence without a literal translation:

  • “gird your minds for action” (NASB)
  • “prepare your minds for action” (NASB Updated)
  • “get your minds ready for action” (NET)
  • “think clearly and exercise self-control” (NLT)
  • “gird up your minds” (RSV)
  • “prepare your minds for action” (NRSV)
  • “preparing your minds for action” (ESV)

Effective, perhaps, but, it seems to lose something of the vividness of the literal rendering!

The call to “gird up the loins” is a call to dress oneself for action—be it heavy labor or the life-and-death struggle of battle. To do so with one’s “mind” is the reminder that as followers of Jesus Christ we are in a battle and that this battle finds its greatest struggles first and foremost in our thinking. God’s call to all His own is to “be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Eph. 4:23). This is vital because “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). We must “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

So let’s get busy with the heavy labor of daily, continually submitting our thoughts to the renewing of our minds by the written Word of God in reliance upon the Holy Spirit. And thus in the moment of battle—which arrives repeatedly every day, many times over—may we be ready for whatever the will of God requires of us.

The Reality-altering Resurrection!

” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Thirty years removed from the reality-altering events of the cross and empty tomb, Peter was still gripped by the living Christ!

Five dimensions of reality are never the same after meeting the risen Christ.

1. The resurrected Christ offers us UNLIMITED MERCY.

“According to his great mercy …” (v.3a)

2. The resurrected Christ offers us UNENDING LIFE.

“He has caused us to be born again …” (v.3b)

3. The resurrected Christ offers us UNDYING HOPE.

We are born again “to a living hope.” (v.3c)

4. The resurrected Christ offers us UNDIMINISHED INHERITANCE.

We are born again “… to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (v.4)

5. The resurrected Christ offers us UNFAILING SECURITY.

We are those “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (v.5)

Peter could never escape the wonder of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.   This new life, this higher life, this resurreciton life, this life–the very life of Jesus’ Himself–had become to him a relationship of unlimited mercy, unending life, undying hope, undiminished inheritance, and unfailing security.

May you find the same as you repose your soul in repentant faith upon the crucified, risen Lord Jesus Christ!

Perspective on Pain

In his first letter Peter writes to people facing significant pain.  He wastes no time in bringing perspective to the pain we all experience in this life.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

He reminds us our suffering is …

  • Passing – “now for a little while” (v.6a)
  • Purposeful – “as was necessary … so that the tested genuineness of your faith … may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (vv.6b, 7a, c)
  • Painful – “you have been grieved by various trials” (v.6c)

This proves that an accurate perspective has a wide enough view to acknowledge both the reality and gravity of pain, and yet also embrace the hope of God’s grace.  Indeed, by God’s wonderful grace Peter affirms that we share in, experience, and anticipate the fullness of a salvation which 1) prophets searched for, inquired into, and longed to understand (v.10-12a) and which 2) angels “long to look” into (v.12b)!

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