1 Peter 1:13
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. (NIV)
We have an interesting passage today about the mind. The NIV translates from the original language encouraging a sober and alert mind that we might be ready for Christ’s return. The KJV, however, translates it as ‘gird up the loins of your mind.’ Peter is calling us to stay alert in the battle for our souls.
The phrase ‘gird up your loins’ was a way of saying, ‘man up!’ It is to say muster your strength, don’t shrink back, don’t be afraid, but find your courage. We must understand that we are in a spiritual war. The Bible says to put on the full armor of God to defeat the attempts of the Enemy to kill our faith, steal our joy, and destroy our peace. And if we are at war, we had better man up!
But what does this have to do with staying alert and sober? Being alert speaks to our awareness of the war. In other words, we often go through life forgetting or unaware that we are smack-dab in the middle of a spiritual war for our souls and the souls of our children. It’s when we are not aware that the enemy can succeed in his strategies. We lose sight of the need for prayer, deep meditation, getting the Word into our hearts, communion, worship, and gathering together. It’s as if we are walking around in a war zone without any weapons or protective gear.
Being sober speaks to how we handle the war. If we do not keep ourselves alert and aware of the spiritual battles we face each day, we will be more likely to chalk up the issues we face to a rough day, bad decisions, or a stressful life. Peter is calling us to respond to the issues of life with warlike tactics in the spirit. But if we do not stay alert to the battle and draw upon the strength of the Holy Spirit, then life will be overwhelming and we might respond to the heaviness of life by getting drunk or stoned.
The source of our battle is awareness. Life is not simply hard. There are spiritual forces at work placing before us negative thoughts, stressful moments, fatigue, and rough relationships. All of these are physical weapons to destroy our faith. The temptations to escape through ungodly pleasure-seeking are spies in the camp working to distract you from the onslaught of spiritual ammunition coming at you. But if we can just remind ourselves daily, sometimes moment by moment, that the human struggle is being pushed by an enemy to strike us at our core. This awareness will keep us prayed up, in the Word, focused on Christ, gathered with the saints, and girded up.
Prayer: Lord, help me remember that all that I see in the physical realm works either for or against my soul. Let me gird up the loins of my mind staying alert and sober in the battle. Amen.