This marks the third installment in the series based on the opening words of 1 Peter 1:13 (click here for part 1 and part 2). Having a readied mind is not something reserved for intellectuals or pastors – it is a call for all Christians to be ready for battle and ready to run hard. Paul says it this way in his letter to the Ephesians:
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth (Eph.6:14, fragment, ESV)
It’s the same idea of girding up that underlies 1 Pet. 1:13. Truth supports and mobilizes us in battle, and gives us the sureness we need to keep on running the race.
We have touched on the two major factors, prayer and Scripture, and now we continue with contributing factors. I would clarify that, personally, these are not necessarily optional things, but rather they are not on the level of prayer and the regular study of the Bible. On a list of essentials, those would top the list for equipping the mind, but these would make the list.
3) Other reading – the lost art of reading is a sad thing. There is some cross-over with movie analysis, if only people would all engage in the analysis part instead of mindlessly consuming! Reading forces a person to reflect on ideas and decide their veracity. The act of reading is itself a girding up process, as there is training in understanding and in refuting false arguments, as well as the strengthening of true ideas. There are many great resources out there to help, but I would encourage you not just to read about how to be discerning. Having grasped the skills, put them to use by reading wide and deep. Here’s a few recommendations of books that have helped me think more constructively:
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
Escape from Reason by Francis Schaeffer
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
4) Fellowship – the discussing of thoughts and ideas between brothers and sisters is a good way to prepare our minds for action, as we can help each other see where our worldview is faulty in some way, much like a coach watching his athletes for bad form that will hinder them in the event. When we share openly with others who love Jesus, and humbly receive correction where we are wrong, it is a great training ground for the mind. This is an important lifestyle choice – seek out mentors! We all need a coach, someone who has been there before and someone who can stand objectively from our situations to give Godly council and perspective. And equally, look for opportunities to serve as a coach to those younger in the faith than you are. In Titus 2:3-4 we see instructions for the older women to train the younger women in how to love their husbands and children, and in the care of Paul towards Timothy we see a wonderful example of mentoring between an older, experienced follower and his younger co-laborer.
One final picture of this fellowship that helps equip the mind is found in 1 Peter 3.8, where Peter exhorts everyone to have, amongst other things, unity of mind and a humble mind. The picture of unity reminds me of a rugby scrum, where the strength lies in all the guys pushing in the same direction at the same time, tightly bound together by a common goal. And a humble mind keeps us teachable, and peaceable. This unity has in it a strength by camaraderie, a joy and hope that we are not journeying alone but with people who are following the same Master.
This type of fellowship does not come by chance. Today, ironically, in an age of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, we must be even more intentional about binding ourselves to brothers and sisters for the purpose of fellowship, mentoring and being discipled. Stop back tomorrow for the final post in the series.