Lent 2009 – 18 Steps to the Cross


Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13)

The contrast of the two great apostles is no more apparent than right here. Where Paul’s writing is dense and filled with tightly woven units of logic as befits his education, training, and person, Peter is more expressive, given to blunt exhortation of bedrock principles. We find ourselves attracted to both but there are times in which we simply want a short piece of scripture to hang onto. The opening statement in a series of exhortations to holiness provide for just such a need.

At just 18 daily steps weeks from the glory of Easter, we draw closer and closer to reality of the cross. The weight of our sin may have seemed light when we took the first few steps but now, as the cross draws near, the burden starts to become onerous. Peter knew this feeling. His repeated failures and the love of his restoration changed him forever. He cannot help himself from trying to move us to the holiness that he enjoys. In short enthusiastic bursts, Peter begins a series of imperatives to take the life of holiness seriously.

Preparing your minds for action is literally to ‘gird your mind [loins] for action’, an ancient word picture that has lost its bite through the centuries. When men wore an outer shirt that draped down to their ankles, swift movement was not possible. When danger approached and agility was needed, a man would pull his shirt up into his belt so that he had fast freedom of movement. Rolling up the sleeves of our minds means to be prepared, to removed impeding thoughts so that any challenge to a life in Christ or attack on holiness could be quickly rebuffed and the heart protected.

What’s on your mind today?

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