What’s on your mind?
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
I don’t know about you, but my mind has a life of its own. I often need the reminder that I need to submit the life of my mind to Christ just as much as I submit the life of my body. He calls us to take every thought captive, submitting it in obedience to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5).
I looked up what it means to “gird up your loins” (not a phrase we use often nowadays). Basically, it means to prepare yourself to do something difficult. In Bible times, it meant to tie up long, loose clothes so that they were more practical when you were working or traveling.
I take girding up the loins of your mind to mean streamlining your thoughts — giving the dangling, unproductive ones to God so you can be about your business, not tripping over your doubts, lies and obsessions.
In Philippians 4:8, God gives us an idea of what He wants our thought lives to look like. It is a go-to verse for me, as the loins of my mind are so often un-girded. I regularly need to run my thoughts through the checklist — realizing that so many of the things I think don’t pass the test.
The next time you have recurring thoughts that are keeping you from living your days joyfully and peacefully, I encourage you to ask yourself — is what I’m thinking:
Do you know for a fact that what you’re thinking/believing is true, or are you assuming? You can put yourself through a lot of unnecessary hurt believing something that has no basis in reality. For example, unless you have a power that no person I’ve met seems to possess, you can’t actually read someone else’s mind or know the reason for their actions towards you. We rarely know the whole story, and assuming we do can cause a lot of pain.
The Greek word used in this verse is semnos, meaning dignified, respected, honorable. Are your thoughts dignified and respectable? How would you feel if they were suddenly broadcast for others to hear?
The word used here is translated from the Greek word dikaios. In short, it means “impartial, upright.” But it also means “in conformity to God’s own being (His will, standard of rightness); hence upright.” Are your thoughts true to who God is? We are to be modeling our lives after Him, and that includes our thought lives.
In thinking about the word pure, I found it helpful to look at some synonyms (and antonyms!) to guide my idea of what it means to have pure thoughts. Pure thoughts are authentic, simple, transparent, true, unadulterated and clear. And the thoughts that are not pure? Those are complicated, complex, counterfeit, dark, difficult, fake, contaminated, unclear. Which of these describe your thought life? Remember that confusion is NEVER from the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:33) We know who is the author of confusion, and we want nothing to do with him.
Because why would you waste your time with ugly thoughts, really?
Of good report?
The word used here is from the Greek word euphemos, meaning “spoken in a kindly spirit.” Are your thoughts gracious towards others? Towards yourself? Forgive yourself for your flaws, your past, or things you may have not handled perfectly. Be kind to yourself in your thoughts. I heard Tim Keller say once, “If God isn’t judging you, what makes you think you have the right to?”
Are your thoughts moral? Are they blameless? Or are they sinful? Sin starts often in the mind — a thought spirals into action. James 1:14–15 says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desire and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…” Nip things in the bud at the root. You may tell yourself it’s “just a thought,” that you’ll never act on it — but the truth is that sinful thoughts are never harmless.
Having a mind that’s geared towards praise will make you more joyful as a result. Praise is often a choice– there can be days where you’re just not feeling it. But it’s always the right choice. It’s God’s will for us to praise continuously! (1 Thessalonians 5:16,18). And He is so worthy of our praise. A woman I respected in the church I grew up in gave this advice for when you were feeling depressed or cynical — she suggested thanking God for your blessings from A to Z, and keeping at it for as many letters as it took for the posture of your heart to change.
God wants us to guard our thought lives for our own benefit. He knows that His way is best, that He’s in control, and for our peace of mind He wants us to believe that as well. He wants us to rest our hope FULLY (not a little, not mostly, but completely) in Him — not in our actions, our dreams, or our unreliable minds. I’ve too often spent days sad, believing lies of my own creation. God wants better things for me, and for you.
Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”