Here are some things I’m hoping for today:
- Good food (in the bag; I’m having East Side Pies for dinner)
- Sex (not in the cards; Lord willing)
- Getting some good work done (obviously not right now)
- Writing a blog that is interesting to read (you tell me)
Obviously, those things are a lame place to set my hope. Some of you may have set your hope in ‘godlier’ dreams than mine. Some of you may be setting your hope in the safety of your kids, or the healing of a spouse or loved one.
But, it doesn’t really matter how ‘godly’ a thing you have set your hope in. If our hope isn’t fully in the grace we’re gonna get on the last day, the Bible says it’s misplaced. 1 Peter 1:13 says:
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)
I have a tattoo that says ‘j’espere’. It means ‘I hope.’ I picked the tattoo because I felt like hope was something that really defined me. Ever the optimist, I always had hope things would turn out. I had hope that I would have a great career, a great husband, great friends, a great day.
But the call from the Bible is to suck all our hope out of temporal things and place it squarely in Him.
Peter’s command is for us to hope fully in the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading and kept in Heaven for us. He wants us to take every drop of hope inside our hearts and put it all on the day when Christ is finally unveiled. We should spend our hope so fully on that goal that there is no hope left for the concerns of today.
How? The great news is that Scripture doesn’t leave us to wonder what that looks like. Setting hope in our inheritance isn’t just an abstract concept. It’s an active command; it’s a call to action. The two things we’re supposed to do are:
1. Prepare your minds for action. A more literal translation is ‘gird up the loins of your mind’. Love it. When soldiers would go into battle they would wear strategically placed protective gear for the more sensitive regions. Peter wants us to get protective gear around our thoughts because the battle is coming. The world will challenge the way you think; it will try to convince you to put hope in other places. Are you ready for that attack?
- What does your engagement with the Bible look like? Jesus used Scripture when the battle came. He girded up the loins of His mind by memorizing and meditating on God’s Word.
- What are you thinking about? Are you taking thoughts captive? Are your thoughts set on things above?
- What are specific areas that you see your thinking looking like the world? Where are you letting worldly thoughts direct decisions in your life?
2. Be sober-minded. Peter’s talking to a bunch of people who are walking through really tough circumstances, and in the midst of it they’re being lulled into living in their human passions instead of the will of God. To be sober-minded means to be self-controlled; it means not letting your passions, not letting your earthly hopes and fears direct your steps. Submit to the will of God instead.
- What are things you’re hoping for in this world? What are your earthly passions or fleshly desires?
- In what ways are these things directing your steps? Look back through the decisions you made today. Are they motivated by human passions or the will of God?
Peter says that these two things are the key to setting your hope fully in Christ Jesus. If you’re guarding your mind against the world and if you’re fighting the desire to let the flesh tell you what to do, then you are on the way to setting your hope in the glorious inheritance that is yours in Christ Jesus.
At the end of the day, if you feel friction in your heart at the thought of losing hope in the things of this world, I would encourage you that you might want to take a step back and look at the betterness of Jesus. God isn’t calling me to a lesser hope than a spouse, or a great sex life or good food or healthy kids. He’s calling me to a better hope than any of those things.
This verse in 1 Peter comes after paragraphs going on and on about how great the hope we’re called to really is. It’s a hope so great that it brings joy in the midst of suffering. It’s a hope so great that the Bible was written just to tell you about it. It’s a hope so great that even the angels ‘long’ to look into it and grasp it. That word ‘long’ is translated elsewhere in the Bible as ‘lust’ or ‘covet’. The angels see at the inheritance laid out for us in Christ and they desperately desire to just gaze at it.
I don’t know how we could look at the great salvation offered in Scripture and then turn to the anemic promises of this life and reach the conclusion that they offer a better hope. Gird up the loins of your mind against those thoughts and walk in the will of God. Set your hope fully on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.