Thursday, July 8, 2010

Clothing the Mind in Eternal Wisdom

“Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.”

~1 Peter 1:13 (NRSV).

There is some wonderful imagery here that is lost in many modern translations.

Eugene Peterson’s, The Message, gives us an early clue... “So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear...,” but a more literal rendition says, “So, then, gird up the loins of the mind,”[1] in showing us that “preparation” is more about getting dressed for work; it’s being appropriately attired for the tasks at hand more than anything else.

And for what are we dressing or preparing for?

It’s the longer term hope that we’re called heavenward to. We’re to set all our hope in the coming of Jesus. I don’t know about you but I haven’t achieved this yet; for me, there’s still so much to hope for in eternity now, as salvation pertains to living in the kingdom of heaven now.

But, Peter still attests; we must put the strength of our hope in the hope of grace when Jesus is revealed. This is a strenuous hope—but it’s a hope that fortifies and solidifies faith.

The Hope-filled Future Feeds Faith for the Prepared-for Present

We need faith to endure this life. There is perhaps never a more practically-true statement that we could all identify with.

Preparation for the execution of our daily and not-so-daily acts is crucial. Being sober and of sound mind—being self-disciplined—is power to this end of endurance. We’re flummoxed otherwise.

The hope-filled future is never better achieved than setting our minds, eyes and heart on the coming of Jesus—which might as well be coming from 10,000 years away. We don’t hanker for it; but we do invest our longing hope in this fact.

It’s a teasy sort of hope. It probably won’t happen in our lifetimes. (Don’t react to that, just bear with me.) The irony is, when we hold such a tension-of-hope in our minds our faith grows exponentially. All of a sudden, our hope is no longer any more breakable.

Hope: it’s now fused in the eternal.

The intention that the apostles and Jesus perhaps had in mind, in flinging our hope toward eternity, is that we’d become so in amid of something so far off that it would show us that nothing in this world is to entrap our hope. Therefore, nothing in this world would paralyse us or hold us to ransom.

Enter the concept of spiritual safety, a.k.a. real wisdom.

Real Wisdom

This is the real wisdom life. We can all-too-easily become enslaved to our more rabidly manifest emotions, losing the plot for a time, damaging our worlds, only in losing sight of the real hope—perhaps because we’ve never had or known it.

Real wisdom is sowing upon a hope of something that’s that far away from us, we could hardly travel further in our minds to see it. It seems so foreign—yet it’s the only thing that works with surety.

To live really wisely is about being separate from the world so we can see the things of this world as they truly are; then, and only then, can we see the transient from the eternal—the objects from the spirit-filled organisms that live.

And this proves our action worthy, for we’re aptly informed and rightly motivated—sourced, as it were, from the farthest star.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, 2003), p. 211.


Giving Thanks Daily said...

Hope is the word I am clinging to right now. This is a great outpouring of truth in action. Preparation is the hardest part for me, as it demands me to be disciplined and diligent in my work.

"So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear...," I love this, for without getting in, and doing what is necessary, maybe even getting dirty or messy, we are idle and docile in our lives. And, as this work is done (for Him, with His strength), I keep my eyes on what is to come, where I will to be when I am truly with Him.

What an amazing thought to keep me moving forward.

S. J. Wickham said...

Thanks Shawn, for your ongoing encouragement. It really is appreciated. I always said to my younger teen daughters, 'God'll bless every bit of hard work you put in.' God bless, Shawn.