I’ve been on a church staff for the last decade. Every time I introduce myself to someone new I get asked, “So what do you do?” I get the joy of saying “I’m a pastor.” This brings about a number of reactions from people. Some good. Some bad. Some are eager to talk about things of faith and share stories about their relationship with Christ and their church. Others offer up reasons why they don’t attend church.
The most common reason I hear for not attending church: “The church is full of hypocrites.”
I won’t get into the legitimacy of such an excuse but I’ll tell you what I do find interesting: Even the non-church attender. Even the non-believer. It appears that everyone … understands that those who claim to follow Christ should in someway resemble Christ.
Christlikeness should be our goal.
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. – 1 Peter 1:13
Your mind influences your obedience and your obedience influences your holiness. (Feel free to read 1 Peter 1:13-25 and see that played out)
This verse begins with a powerful image often missed in modern Bible translations. In the NIV2011 it reads, “Therefore, with minds that are alert.” In the original edition of the NIV1984 it reads, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” What you have here is a cultural expression that has been translated to make sense for modern English readers. The King James Version keeps the cultural expression, “Gird up the loins of your mind.”
That’s what the passage truly says: Gird up the the loins of your mind. Wow. What an image!
This image is drawn from the ancient form of dress in which a man’s long outer garment draped down to his ankles, obviously preventing quick motions. As a result, when such actions were needed, a man tucked his outer garment into his belt and thus “girded himself for action.” Here’s this lovely graphic from The Art of Manliness:
Peter says, “gird the loins of your mind.” Peter is telling the church: The first step to Christlikeness is to prepare your mind for action. Perhaps a good modern translation of the expression: “Roll up the shirt sleeves of your mind.”
Which leads to all sort of application. Let’s just look at one.
What goes into your mind? What is the greatest source of input into your brain?
- News station
- TV Shows
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat
Or is it … things that prepare your mind for the action of Christlikeness?
- Godly Counsel
- Fellowship of Christian community
If you want to begin a lifestyle of Christlikeness … you need a mind prepared for action.