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
Everyone is hoping for something. Whether you are hoping that the pandemic will end and life will go back to normal, or that you will get a new job after you lost your previous one, or perhaps that it shall not rain on your wedding day, every one of us has an expectation that certain desires will be fulfilled. Oftentimes, our hopes determine the way we live and the choices we make. The student, out of hope that they shall pass their exams, hides away and buries themselves in their books. Parents, out of hope that their children will prosper, deny themselves to get them into good schools. In a world where our hopes drive so much of what we do, the question we must ask ourselves is: Where is my hope?
As Peter writes to the suffering Christians in Asia Minor, he wants them to have their hope set in the right place. He is very aware that this will be the foundation of their conduct in the various places that God has scattered them. As we consider his instruction to them and seek to apply it to ourselves, we observe three things that he says to them: Firstly, the mindset they are to have; secondly, where their hope is to be placed; and lastly, the deliberate effort in placing their hope there.
Let us consider firstly the mindset that these Christians are called to have with regards to their hope. They are called to “Prepare your minds for action and be sober-minded/serious.” Our faith is not a thoughtless one. As one author said, faith is not the lack of thought, but a reliance on the truth of Christ as He is presented in the Gospel. These Christians were called to set their minds on guard like soldiers on duty. As opposed to having their minds wandering on trivial things, they were to be alert as those who are called to action, and to be sober-minded as those who understand that the biggest battleground for the Christian is their mind. At this point it would be worthwhile to pause and ask you: How alert are you concerning your thought life? Do you allow envious, hateful, or lustful thoughts to roam around unmonitored? Hear this call from God to “prepare your mind for action and be sober-minded.”
Secondly, notice the place where the believers are to place their hope. Peter writes, “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The object of your hope determines whether or not you should have confidence in it. For the Christian, as it is written earlier in the chapter, our hope is a “living hope.” We have the historical proof that Jesus lived, died and rose again, and we have the assurance of His word that He will return to take us home. And as our verse today shows, since grace is what will be revealed to us when Jesus Christ returns, not even our failures and shortcomings should shake our confidence. When Christ returns, it will be His grace which we receive by faith, and not our merit (or lack thereof), which will see us welcomed safely home. And so therefore, our hope is unshakable, for His grace can never run out on us.
Lastly, observe the call that is placed before these believers. Having prepared their minds and embraced a wartime mentality, they are to “set their hopes fully on the grace to be revealed.” Notice the active role that the believers have in this. This is not the kind of state you accidentally find yourself in. It takes conscious effort, time in prayer, and meditation on God’s word to keep your Christian hope before your eyes. In a world full of distractions and empty treasures, remembering the true treasure is a deliberate effort. Consider also that they are told to set their hopes “fully” on this. It would please the devil if he cannot completely destroy our hope, to diminish it as much as possible. So he fills us with worry and anxiety about lesser things, excites us with distractions and fleeting pleasures, if only he might reduce our hope in what truly matters. But we are not ignorant of his devices, nor of the tendency of our flesh to entice us with worldly substitutes which never satisfy.
Therefore may we be ‘stubborn Christians’, who refuse to surrender our hope and who firmly fix our eyes on the Lord who lived for us, was crucified for us, rose again and is coming back to take us home, where the small things of this world will pale in comparison to His glorious grace as we share in His love and enjoy Him forever!
When you consider your hopes and how they shape your life decisions, how much does the hope of eternal glory with God influence the risks you’re willing to take and losses you are willing to endure for the cause of Christ?