Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 1:13-16
The Christian’s Duty in Response to Salvation
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13–16
Big Question: What are the Christian’s duties in response to our great salvation as seen in 1 Peter 1:13–16?
Many think salvation is just about heaven and it doesn’t affect life now. However, this is not true. Our salvation should affect us tremendously.
In these verses, Peter moves to the imperative mode. He leaves describing and explaining our salvation to sharing the Christian’s duty in response to it by giving commands. What is the Christian’s duty?
The Christian’s Duty Is to Be Mentally Ready to Serve God
Therefore, prepare your minds for action.
Prepare literally means “gird up” and can refer to tightening a belt, cinching up a cord or rope, or tying something down in preparation for a certain action. In ancient times, this concept referred to the gathering up of one’s robe (Ex. 12:11; 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 4:29; 9:1; Jer. 1:17). If a person wanted to move quickly and easily, often he would pull the corners of his robe up through his belt or sash to tie those corners in place. Peter metaphorically applies this process to the mind.
The fact that Peter applies this concept to the mind, means that it is in the mind, or the way a person thinks, that is especially important in serving God. It also means that it is through the mind that a person is often tripped up and kept from fulfilling their calling in Christ.
Peter shows us the importance of the believer’s thought life in serving God. Certainly, we see this emphasized throughout Scripture. Christ taught that adultery first happened in one’s mind in Matthew 5:28. He also talked about anger being the seed that brings forth murder (Matt 5:22). In fact, we commonly see Paul focusing on the way a person thinks.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Application Question: What are some common ways we can get tripped up in our spiritual life by how we think?
1. Anxieties or worries are common stumbling blocks to a girded mind.
One of the most common ways I find myself being tripped up in my spiritual life, which hinders my effectiveness, is being too future-oriented. I have learned this both biblically and experientially. I can get on my computer and start thinking about further education, future ministries, or writing books, and it steals my mind, steals my sleep, and steals my meditation from God. Now there is a place for all these things, but when it creates “anxiety,” it leads me into sin.
Consider some of these texts.
Anxiety in the heart of man brings depression.
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
Matthew 13:22 (emphasis mine)
The anxious person will find himself depressed. But even worse than that, Christ taught that an ungirded mind would choke the Word of God and keep it from ever producing fruit or truly saving someone. The duty of a Christian is to gird his mind because worry and anxiety brings depression and also keeps God’s word from producing fruit in our lives.
2. Condemning thoughts are a common stumbling block to a girded mind.
This seems to be a special ministry of the enemy. Devil actually means “accuser or slanderer.” He will commonly bring accusing thoughts about God, others and even yourself. He will slander your works and motivation in order to deter you from serving God. This often leads to depression or apathy. It will make a person want to give up and sometimes leave the faith. Listen to what Paul said: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation (emphasis mine) for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
The believer must understand that because of our new relationship to God, Satan has no rights to accuse us in regards to our salvation. Our flesh has no rights and neither do other people. We must understand this in order to gird our minds and protect ourselves. Listen to what Paul said: