“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.” 1 Peter 1:13 (ESV)
Just how important does the Bible consider your “thinking” to be? In this verse Peter reveals the mind (where your thinking takes place) as something to prepare for action. The King James Version presents the verse as “gird up the loins of your mind.” I’ve always taken that connotation as a woman lifting her long dress before running. We’re called to lift up our minds in careful thought, so as to not get tripped in our reasoning.
However, recently my perspective has expanded by reading the English Standard Version of the verse. Here it’s presented as: “preparing your minds for action.” At first I focused a little too closely on the word, “action.” I took the notion of someone carrying out a plan. But, after looking the verse up in a Greek lexicon I discovered “action” is only implied from the word, “preparing.” It turns out the idea of the verse is actually more focused on priming for some upcoming event.
My youngest daughter competes in Cross Country races. She’ll run these three-mile courses at any given competition. In preparation during the week she jogs at least 6-mile distances almost daily. She’s always exercising and conditioning her body so, when the time comes, she’s prepared physically and mentally for the contest. That’s the thought of this verse. The idea of preparing your legs for a race is an analogy of preparing the mind for action, so, when it becomes real and necessary, clear thinking will prevail.
Recently I had someone tell me “God owns the heart and Satan owns the mind.” If that’s true we’re all in big trouble. The devil can manipulate your thinking, but he can’t take ownership of it! Yes, it can be easy access for Satan to mess with minds and reasoning. The devil has studied deception since the founding of the world and understands the mind all too well. He knows how to impede what people think of things! This is masked in many of today’s freethinking attitudes. But, read how Kenneth Wuest translates 1 Peter 1, verse 13:
Wherefore, having put out of the way, once for all, everything that would impede the free action of your mind…”
Impeding the free action of thinking is a trick that politicians, prominent people and even some preachers use. True manipulation is the game of anyone with a self-gratifying agenda. It’s recognized when the instigator fears other points of view—no matter how slight the variations. Again, Wuest reminds the reader, “having put out of the way, once for all, everything that would impede the free action of your mind.” Put it out of the way—once for all! How do we do that? I think Paul lends a little clarity when He writes in Romans 12, verse 2:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
We put impeding things out of the way by learning what the Bible says about any given topic and believing it for what it is—truth! The strength of the Bible is that it doesn’t tell you what to think so much as transforms the way you’re thinking. That fear of the truth may be why doubters insist the Bible is a bunch of fairy tales and refuse to believe what it says. The mind becomes blinded to the truth (a true manipulation of Satan) until God shines His light into the darkened heart.
You don’t need to fear the Bible; it does not force you into ideas apart from clear reasoning. What God asks of you is reasonable service. The Bible works by renewing your mind into thinking reasonably about things through the act of believing. In fact, Paul goes so far as to suggest a whole new set of values will develop from thinking about the Bible’s message. In Philippians 4, verse 8 he writes of these new values to consider:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What’s on your mind lately! Instead of thinking thoughts resulting in negative brewing anger, let there be positive reflections—thoughts preparing your mind for action!
J. Robert Hanson