Today’s readings.. (Judges 9), (Isaiah 35), (1 Peter 1)
What are you going to do today? Some people act and speak on the spur of the moment – and when they do they sometimes regret it afterwards. We began reading the first letter of Peter today and it occurred to us that Peter’s comment to his readers about “preparing your minds for action” may reflect on his own impulsiveness in his earlier years as illustrated in the gospel narratives.
He is writing to those who had never seen or heard Jesus but who had come to believe in him and his message. He tells them they “are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” [Ch.1 v.5-7]
How genuine is our faith in Jesus Christ? If God, in his overview of our lives sees a need to test it, we may have experienced, or may yet experience, a time of testing: this is not to weaken our faith, but to strengthen it. Nearly all of us are surrounded by self-centred people who are concentrating on their own interests, on things that are for their own advantage. As a result they frequently, especially in the spirit of life today, end up making a mess of their lives. Consider today’s reading in Judges ch 9 when, after the 40 years when Gideon was judge after he destroyed the images of Baal and defeated the Midianites, the people turned back to their own fleshly pursuits and false gods – and tragedy followed.
Peter notes how the prophets learned “they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you.” [v.12] – in the same way believers must be conscious of the need to serve others in at least some of their actions. We must be involved in this. But in some countries it is difficult and challenging to do this! This leads Peter to make the point in the next verses, “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. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
“Holy” means to be ‘set apart’ from the world. Some parts of the world create their own type of ‘Holy Men’ in strange ways, but for us we must, as we read last week, “strive … for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” [Heb. 12 v.14] So what are you preparing your minds to do today? Also tomorrow?