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.
When I play sports, or even when I coach them, I think ahead to the game and I visualize how I will play. I think of myself taking a couple of step-overs or sliding in for a crunching tackle. Then, in the game, I execute what I have imagined. I also think about meetings before they happen. I try and think what the goal is and I run through the possible things other people say in the meeting. Then I go into the meeting prepared. We need to prepare our minds for action.
In the most fundamental ways, we must drill ourselves and prepare our minds for following Jesus each day. This means anticipating how Jesus will be relevant for the studies, the labour, or the relationships that I will engage. This means studying scripture and talking to wise people in order to be fully trained mentally for life’s ups and downs. I have heard many Christians who want relevant studies. In other words they want studies that deal with life’s circumstances which they have right now. However, wiser Christians take a broader approach. All of the scripture is God-breathed and wise because it applies to all of life’s situations that I might face. Even as a man, I must know God’s words for women because my wife, daughter or mother might seek counsel.
The focus and the desire is to serve Jesus and relate to him fully. It is not to further my own little agenda or feel the most pleasure. Focusing on how Christ would have us die, for example, can be morbid for some because their lives are so precious to them. However, a mind focused on Jesus anticipates how death can be the most profound opportunity to serve.
The Christians of Peter’s day could possibly die for their faith. they had to prepare themselves for all eventualities. That will sober you up. It would be frivolous to focus on pleasure-seeking or partying in light of such persecution. We should see this life as having weight and meaning.
God, my mind seems more dull than it has been in the past. I think I am busy and tired. I pray that I would dedicate my mind to thoughts about you and your kingdom.
- What is the ‘therefore’ there for?
- What is the mind to focus upon?
- Isn’t sober-minded dull and boring?
- What do you focus upon?
- How could you visualize life more in light of your faith?
Since our salvation has been predicted and revealed, and announced by the Holy Spirit (v. 10, 11,12), we are given the reason why we can and should prepare, be sober-minded, and set our hope in God’s grace (v. 13). This is why the “therefore” is there, and it is a significant connector.
I’m sure that the world finds being sober-minded “dull” and “boring,” but I see it as a very important part of my walk with Christ. The transliteration of the greek word for sober-minded in this passage is nepho, and it is used in the Bible to mean “to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit” and “to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect” (Blue Letter Bible, Strong’s G3525). Without being sober-minded, my emotions and my mind experience chaos, in the good and the bad times. I desperately need God’s intervention to be focused on the hope and grace He has given and be prepared for what He allows me to experience in life.
In response to question #3 (isn’t being sober-minded dull and boring) I want to post this snippet from the classic novel, “Dracula” that I have to read for another class. It is from one of the character’s journal entries, a Dr. Seward.
“If I could have as strong a cause as my poor mad friend there, a good, unselfish cause to make me work, that would be indeed happiness.”
Christians are sober-minded because, unlike Dr. Seward, we have a noble, grand Master to work for and a noble, grand purpose- to spread His kingdom! I suppose being “sober-minded” could sound like a dreadful thing, if one associates the term with abstaining from alcohol, or if one sees not being drunk as unbearable.
But for people who find their fulfillment in the living Christ, being “sober-minded” is necessary and part of rising to live up to our calling as soldiers of Christ. We bear the name of Christ, this is no trivial thing. People are dying everyday and there is a Heaven and a Hell and we have the message about the One who can save. This is no small thing. Being serious comes with the package of being a Christian, but also great joys. Real joy.
It connects to the previous paragraph which described the hope and joy we have in our salvation which had been revealed and anticipated by the prophets. Because of this, we are to set our hopes on Christ and our salvation through Him, preparing our minds for action and being sober minded. I think many look at sober mindedness as the absence of fun, the puritanical rule follower. However, it is when I am focused on Christ and cognizant of the hope I have in Him that I truly see and live life most fully.
Thinking about the future (eternity, the coming judgment, glorification, etc.) has a way of sobering me up from the stupor of trite business. Though I have many papers to write, and I can get distracted for what is to come, thinking of these things easily pulls me back so that I prepare for action.
Thinking about the grace that I will receive at the revelation of Christ Jesus…wow. A beautiful thought where I receive favor and blessing entirely because of what Christ has done. What a glorious truth! Even now as I write this, I have many papers and things to get to that have been piling up as my to-do list lengthens; however, the thought of the grace that will come at Christ’s return is astounding