Prepare Yourselves For Suffering
"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." First Peter 1:13 (NIV)
The book of First Peter has an emphasis on the suffering of the Christian. There are over 20 mentions regarding suffering for being a believer. This passage deals with an issue that must be addressed first - and that is the attitude of the believer. Peter knew that having the right emotional direction is quite necessary in the living of our faith in the day by day issues that confront us.
We have the "equipment" and the "resources" to live for Christ but sometimes we fail because we have failed to prepare ourselves for the road ahead. Peter states that we must prepare our minds for action. Thoughts generally precede our actions and now Peter tells us to be prepared. How do we prepare our mind for living the Christian life? Fortunately God has set in order a road map to the proper way we must think. God has not left us to fend for ourselves as we reach turns and decisions in life. Have you ever tried to put together some piece of complex furniture with a poorly written set of instructions? Does your boss sometimes fail to communicate very well? In contrast to these situations, God has made certain that His commands and His precepts have endured centuries upon centuries. The Word of God is our road map to success and it never becomes obsolete or out of style. We must study the Word of God from cover to cover. The Bible is a finite piece of literature. Within it is a limited number of books, chapters and verses. It can be studied, remembered and practiced by everyone. The Word of God is simple yet complex. It is not a history book yet contains some of the most fascinating and important history in the annals of the world. The Bible makes no claim to be a science textbook yet contains some of the most precise accounts of the ancient world to be found in any textbook.
Friends, God's Word is the only literature in the human race that is written by God Almighty! So, the first step is to read and study the message God has bound in those wonderful and blessed 66 books called the Bible.
Secondly, we prepare our minds by realizing Christianity is a team event. I know that the Day of Judgment is an individual responsibility but the living of this life as a Christian does not have to be alone. We find other like-minded believers in the community of "Church" in which we can laugh and cry together. We can share in this great preparation the Apostle is speaking about. The early Church banded together in all things. They leaned upon one another for strength. They prepared for the next day in the fellowship of the current day - and the same possibility exists for every Christian today. Don't miss that opportunity by missing fellowship with the local body of believers.
And what about prayer? Perhaps it should be first in the list. How is your communication with God Almighty? Do you feel as though you are "connected" with the Lord throughout the day? Prayer also prepares us by doing a work in our life that we may know beyond a doubt that the Holy Spirit is in our heart.
As we study the Word and enter into fellowship with others it is the Holy Spirit that guides our minds, bodies and hearts. He, the Spirit of God, creates the supernatural element in our reading and in our fellowship. **Editors note: There are many views of the Holy Spirit and each one applies only within particular circumstances. Please do not interpret this as the Holy Spirit acting directly upon the individual**Otherwise we are only reading words and only mingling with other individuals. The Holy Spirit binds our hearts together for His work. We all need a training time and a time to prepare for what lies ahead. We need to ensure that our mind is ready for the tricks and schemes of the enemy. We do this by ensuring we have taken advantage of the things God lays right at our feet. God wants us to succeed in this Christian life and He does His part each and every time. Have you prepared yourself by studying the Word of God?
Do you take part in a local body of believers to share strength and hope? Have you taken time to make prayer a regular part of your day? These are the things that prepare us for the events that lay ahead. Don't be unprepared or you will find yourself unable to cope and unable to win! God gives us the tools to win - lets reach down and pick them up and make them our very own personal arsenal. May God bless your study of His Word.
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