Peter employs an odd—and rather humorous—image when instructing his readers, “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” (1 Peter 1:13).
What the ESV translates as “preparing your minds for action” is in Greek, “girding the loins of your mind.” The verb (Anazonnumi), “to gird or bind up,” is used only here in the New Testament. What does it mean to “gird your loins,” and, more specifically, the “loins of your mind”?
The style of dress in Israel, and generally in the Middle East, was long robes. But what if you needed to work or run or fight? A long robe would hamper your movements. To address this issue, a man would pull up his robe to shorten it, then bind it around his waist. Voilà, a long robe is thereby transformed into a pair of shorts!
Okay, you say, but what about loins and mind? Our minds don’t have loins, obviously. This is simply a figure of speech. Just as a man literally “girded his loins” to get ready for action, so Peter says metaphorically to “gird the loins of your mind,” that is, “get your minds ready for action.” Peter is likely alluding to the original departure when the Israelites were told to eat the Passover meal “with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand” (Exod. 12:11). That phrase, “your belt fastened” in Hebrew is “your loins girded.” In this same context, the likelihood to this in the context is when Peter makes reference to Christ as the “lamb without blemish or spot,” that is, the true Passover Lamb (1 Pet. 1:19).
Peter would thus be saying, “As those redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, stay awake and alert, with the loins of your mind girded, exhibiting strong mental fortitude and a disposition of swift but excellent commitment, ready at any moment for action to fulfill your God-given purpose, fixing your focus upon the grace of Christ in this present age as your source of strength.
The second tangent of this piece of writing is to admonish us to assume a disposition of readiness to serve the Lord when he calls. In our respective local churches, there are unique responsibilities one can be assigned to, such as a Youth Executive, presbyter, hospitality department member, etc. Our state of mind should reflect readiness for action and an awareness of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ shall return.
LUKE 12:35– BE DRESSED, READY FOR SERVICE, AND KEEP YOUR LAMPS BURNING
From the literal interpretational view of this text, it posits that preparation for transformational impact is the key to actualising the aforementioned. “Keep your lamps burning” signifies a state of spiritual fervency, as the testimony of Jesus Christ about John the Baptist says, “He was a burning and a shining light,” and so must our lives be.
Additionally, our Lord, having recommended to his disciples disengagement of affection from the things of this world and a due moderation regarding their esteem for and cares about earthly possessions, proceeds to exhort them to be in constant readiness for the proper discharge of their duty, for their final remove from earth, and for the awful solemnities of death, judgment, and eternity. That this is the purport of this paragraph. The difference between men that succeed and men that fail in ordinary pursuits is by no means so much intellectual as moral, and there is nothing that more certainly commands any kind of success than giving yourselves with your whole concentrated power to the task at hand. If we can succeed in anything, we must focus all our power on it. Only by doing so, like a burning glass does to the sun’s rays, shall we set anything on fire.
The message of this writing is to urge the readers to subscribe to excellent knowledge that conquers humanistic and religious worldviews that are subpar, and to unapologetically become transformers of indelible impact in this society and the world at large.
God bless you.
Written by Elder Goodwill Kodua (PIWC-Swedru, Assistant District Youth Leader)