[forthright] Ready to Work

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2009 03:41:09 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

Build up your faith through the experience of a
sufferer. 'In Search of Perfection: Studies from Job.'
http://forthrightpress.com/#InSearchOfPerfection


COLUMN: FIELD NOTES

Ready to Work
 by Michael E. Brooks

   "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind,
   be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the
   grace that is to be brought to you at the
   revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13
   NKJV).

The lungi is a traditional item of clothing for Asian
men. It is a simple piece of fabric wrapped around the
waist to make what we in the west would consider a
skirt. It is typically worn full length, waist to
ankles, and is a popular lounging garment for the upper
classes.

The poor however often wear the lungi to work and as
their normal everyday clothing.

When a man wearing a lungi prepares to engage in heavy
labor or athletic activity the loose length of the
garment is a hindrance, interfering with his movement
and provided potential hazards of tripping or
entanglement with tools.

Therefore he will often wrap and tuck the extra length
of fabric up around his waist and hips until he can
move freely.

This is exactly the literal meaning of the Biblical
expression "gird up your loins." It describes one who
tightens his robe or other dress and prepares for work.
In the text quoted above, Peter uses it metaphorically
to describe a spiritual and intellectual tightening.

He directs us to "gird up the loins of [our] mind." In
other words, to discipline our thinking and our
attitudes.

Such girding up he says is necessary to the full
realization of our hope in the grace of Jesus. Loose
thinking hinders our trust in Christ, and our desire
for eternal life with him.

Loose thinking distracts us from the task of serving
God and from the necessity of purity in our lives. Our
goals are confused. Our way becomes crooked. We are
entangled in unnecessary material which may easily lead
us to harm.

The sloppy, unnecessary thoughts which so hinder us
include such things as worldly desires and pleasures 
(James 4:1-4), envy or jealousy (Galatians 5:20-21),
malice (Ephesians 4:31), and hatred (Titus 3:3).

When our minds are filled with these things we cannot
possibly "set our minds on things above" (Colossians
3:2) or "walk according to the Spirit [minding] the
things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:1,5).

In order to discipline our minds so that we can more
effectively put our trust in Jesus, Peter exhorts us to
"be sober." Though the Bible often warns against
drunkenness and requires sobriety in the physical
sense, that is not the meaning here.

Rather Peter is still discussing the mind, so that he
is urging us to think soberly. In this context
"soberly" has the primary meaning of seriousness. We
are to choose what we spend time thinking about, and
direct our minds to things worthy of consideration.

Paul makes the same point in Philippians 4:8:

   "Whatsoever things are true, whatever things
   are noble, whatever things are just,
   whatever things are pure, whatever things
   are lovely, whatever things are of good
   report, if there is any virtue and if there
   is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these
   things."

Time is valuable, even time spent just thinking. More
than that, our thoughts themselves are important.

They may cause us to be defiled (Mark 7:21). They
define our nature (Proverbs 23:7). One may sin by just
thinking evil (Matthew 5:22, 28). One may also praise
and glorify God with pure and wholesome thought (Psalms
1:1-2).

In the western world we might admonish, "roll up your
sleeves and get to work." The principle is the same.
Remove or restrain anything that gets in the way of
service to God. Let us get serious about our Christian
walk. Let us apply this principle not just to our
bodies, but also to our minds.

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