“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” — 1 Peter 1:13
People sometimes say, “Hold onto hope,” but the words seem as ephemeral as air. The hope rests upon no foundation, leaving a person trying to cling to hope even as life batters them to pieces. Such words mean little. They offer no assurance or calm. They bring no peace.
Peter delivers a different solution to the hopeless cases and situations. He commands his readers to fix their hope completely “on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Peter, though, recognizes that people need aid, tools, to maintain such dogged hope, so he provides instructions via two phrases.
Prepare Your Minds for Action
First, Peter says, “Prepare your minds for action.” He knows how the mind wanders. Daydreams and fantasies and nightmares. (Oh, my.) The mind left to its own devices falters. It loses itself in hopes and dreams featuring impossibly high or low expectations.
The mind must be corralled, brought into some sort of order. Paul offers some definition for the task in Philippians. He says to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, [anything of] excellence and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).
Such thoughts remind a person of what is real, and what is real is God. God encompasses all the traits mentioned in the Philippians passage. He displays those characteristics in his creation—bluebonnets and sunrises and people. God reminds his children every day of just how much he cares for them.
The mind, though, readies itself for such thinking. It doesn’t naturally seek to ponder the wonderful and excellent. It focuses on the one thing wrong with the picture rather than all the other beautiful things contained within it. To set the mind free from such thinking, it must “prepare for action,” at all times.
Keep Sober in Spirit
Second, Peter says, “Keep sober in spirit.” To be sober is to not be besotted. It refuses fancies and speculations and instead sees things as they are. A sober spirit keeps its head. It remains temperate and restrained in the worst of circumstances.
Such a spirit is serious, certainly, but it’s never dull. Jesus comes to give abundant life, not a boring one. Not one person who follows Jesus in the Bible could ever be accused of leading a boring life. David faces giants. Daniel stands before kings. Joseph falls into the pit, and God exalts him to a position second only to Pharaoh. Deborah slays the enemy. Ruth becomes a stranger and alien in order to pursue God and care for her mother-in-law.
None of these people are dull, but they are focused. They know their calling. They also know what they’re looking forward to, so they fix their hope upon it. Ruth, David, and Joseph trust that God has a plan, and it is the best plan. They believe that God will send their Messiah.
Modern-day believers can learn from their examples, although the hope differs. Hope now rests in a completed, present, and future work. Jesus died the death to save sinners, once and for all and forever. The Holy Spirit works in the minds and hearts of believers, growing them into the image of Christ. One day, God the Father will restore all things, creating a new heaven and earth.
Because of such certain hope, believers fix completely on it. They prepare their minds for action and stay sober in spirit. They arm themselves for battle — because this life is one — and fight always for hope.
Image: jimpg2_2015 (Creative Commons)