Sunday, August 23, 2015

Loins, Girdles, and a Flabby Mind

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…” 1 Peter 1:13

        In the human anatomy, the term “loin” refers to that part of our torso between the waist and thigh. And it’s this section that seems to be most susceptible to flabbiness and therefore a prime prospect for something designed to hold in the excess (i.e., a girdle). You will find the term “gird up the loins” used both literally and figuratively in the Bible. For instance, men would gird up their loins in preparation for action, as Elijah in 1 Kings 18:46, who “girded up his loins and ran.” In this case, it involved also binding the clothing that covered this area of the body. It says of the woman in Proverbs 31 that she girded her loins with strength, which sounds suspiciously like a call for crunches to me!

Figuratively speaking, God challenges Job on two different occasions to “gird up thy loins like a man” (38:3; 40:7). In other words, “Pull yourself together and play the man.” In the New Testament, in his allegorical attire of a Christian soldier, Paul gives us a girdle of truth (Eph. 6:14).

Here in our text, Peter, the one who so often spoke before he thought, says from experience, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” As one of my grandsons once said, “We should run things back and forth across our brains a couple of times before we spit them out of our mouths!” Some of us see ourselves as being far from sharp mentally, but maybe it’s just that we’re too lazy to gather and confine our thoughts as a girdle confines flesh. Both can be uncomfortable, especially if, in the case of flabby minds, pleasurable thoughts are forced to make room for more purposeful ones.

         It was interesting to me to note that this admonition to gird up our minds has to do with the temptation to give up hope, especially hope in the reality of Jesus Christ and His final victory over all that is wrong in this world. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” We lose hope in ourselves when we lose hope in Him. We may say we believe God is all-powerful, but when we refuse to see ourselves as recipients of that power, we’re not really questioning ourselves, but Him. Hope is not lost; it is abandoned, purposely and individually. And it comes of allowing our minds to wallow in self-pity, negativity, and bitterness.
         Someone has quipped, “I feel a whole a whole lot better now that I’ve given up all hope.” What they’re saying is, “Now that I’m a hopeless case, don’t expect anything from me.” Hopelessness begins in the mind; but it can be successfully squeezed out by the tight girdle of truth. It’s important, because hopelessness leads to helplessness.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…and hope…”

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