BY JORDAN MAYER
“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)
When learning how to ski, one of the first things to learn is to look where you want to go. As a beginner, the tendency is to look down to see what your skis are doing. But to build any amount of confidence and balance, you have to keep your eyes looking ahead. As if by magic, you soon realize that your body will naturally follow the direction that your eyes point.
In Peter’s first letter, he has much to say about what we set our minds upon.
When skiing difficult terrain, an experienced skier doesn't simply ski down and hope for the best. Rather, they have already mapped out the “line” or route that they are going to take. By doing so, they can see the obstacles ahead, know where to make their turns, and see where the trail ends up. In short, they are prepared and have a plan.
In order to set our hope on the right thing, we first need to prepare our minds. Trials will come. Lies and mistruths are sure to arise. The devil, himself, is said to prowl around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:9). Satan is a liar and a father of lies (John 8:44); he will use any means necessary to get us off the path and shift our eyes off of Christ. In Ephesians 6:12, we are reminded that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil. We are under attack and the enemy is on the move. How crucial, then, that we prepare and ready our minds. Peter uses the word sober-minded. We must think clearly, seriously, and be singular in our focus.
Having prepared our minds, Peter now says to “set your hope”. The word “set” implies an active, intentional action. There may be a great many things that vie for our attention or capture our interest. And we all have a natural bent toward choosing the wrong thing. Even as believers, our sinful flesh wages war inside us (Romans 7:23). But, because of Christ and the work of the Spirit, we now have the ability to choose the right thing. If we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
New skiers often suffer from something called target fixation. Your eyes get locked in on an obstacle, such as a tree or another skier, and before you know it, you begin heading right for them! It feels as if a magnet is pulling you in their direction, but really the issue lies in looking at the wrong thing. Rather than focusing on what you’re trying to avoid, the solution is to keep your eyes fixed on where you want to go.
Peter calls us to be intentional about what we set our minds on. Likewise, Paul says "to set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Remember that it was this same Peter who called out to the Lord to beckon him out onto the water. With his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter walks across the water as if it were merely a wet floor. But as his gaze shifts, and he begins to notice the crashing waves and the swirling winds, he begins to sink. He cries out and the Lord saves him. Peter did not have perfect faith, but he had faith. I am thankful for a God who is always ready to pick us up when we are sinking, who promises to forgive and cleanse us when we confess our sins before Him (1 John 1:9).
If you have experienced this amazing grace of God, let us endeavor to set our hope and fix our eyes fully upon it. How easy it is to let the cares of the world consume our thoughts and shape our attitudes. But Jesus calls us to something greater and more glorious. For we look not to things seen, but what is unseen. We look past what is transient and look on to what is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
But perhaps you read this and have never known what true hope looks like. Instead hope has been elusive, and life nothing more than one discouragement or disappointment after the next. But hope is not a passing feeling or pipe dream. Do you realize that the God of the Bible is called a God of Hope? He not only wants to give you hope, He wants you to abound in it, to be filled with joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13). Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, you can be born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3)! It is a hope that does not put us to shame (Romans 5:5).
This hope is the hope we cling to in this life, one that allows us to rejoice with joy inexpressible in the face of trials. And it is the hope we long for as we await the day when Jesus returns in glory.