Our Comfort Amid Chaos1
Well, we have certainly been blessed to live in interesting times. The news this past week has been filled with things that are concerning: riots in the Capitol building; an election in Georgia giving the Democratic Party control in the House and Senate. Many Christians are experiencing anxiety and fear. The life they have known as citizens of the United States feels threatened. And it may be.
Thankfully, that’s not where our life or hope is found.
These are good days for remembering our true identity as children of God. One of the things the Lord has been showing me over the past year is how much my sense of comfort and hope for the future has been bound up in my American citizenship and the life this country can afford me. I like being an American. I like having the freedoms we enjoy. I like the economic stability and wealth we experience. I like all of it – a lot. And it makes me sad to think that my grandchildren may not enjoy the blessings of this country as I have.
But it’s a great time to remember that God has something vastly greater in mind for me and my grandchildren than the minor blessings of material wealth and temporal comfort. As the Apostle Peter writes to the “elect exiles” of his day (and ours):
God, in His great mercy, has “caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–5)
To belong to Jesus means that we are in danger of losing nothing of eternal value or significance. Our earthly freedoms might vanish, our retirement accounts might disappear, our “rights” and comforts might be taken away. But that is no cause for worry or fear. Everything that ultimately and eternally matters is being “kept in heaven” for us. And the power of God that keeps our inheritance safe keeps us safely “through faith” until the day we receive it.
This is the foundation of the Christian’s comfort and the fountain of our peace in this turbulent world. God has pledged His allegiance to us – His children – and nothing can separate us from the glory he has prepared for us.
Because this is true, there is something we must do.
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
The literal Greek wording translated as “preparing your minds for action” is “girding up the loins of your mind”. It is a reference to the ancient long, flowing robes worn by men of that day. But when there was work to do or a race to be run, those robes needed to tucked up at the waist (loins) to free the man to move forward unencumbered. That’s the meaning here. This is a time for God’s children to “gird up the loins of your mind”. Put your Christian, biblically-informed thinking caps on. Be “sober-minded” – understanding things as they truly are in God’s economy and kingdom. This is a daily, ongoing practice. There’s work to do!
What’s the work? Notice there is only one imperative in the verse. There’s only one command. There’s one thing Peter urges us to do.
“Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
I’m thankful to be a citizen of this country, the United States of America. I believe our country, in spite of many sins and serious flaws, has been used by God to be a blessing in this broken world. But America belongs to the kingdoms of this world – and we do not. America will pass away – and we will not. No matter what happens, our life is not held in the corrupted hands of this world – but in the nail-scarred hands of the One who has promised us that He has overcome it (John 16:33).
As we move forward into 2021 and beyond, let’s do so as Christians - as those who have a sober grasp of the passing nature of this world and the all-surpassing glories of the world to come. Let’s walk the streets of our temporary home with the joyful hope of those who are eagerly anticipating our future one.
In His Service,