Living godly in an ungodly world requires mental preparation for the spiritual battle that exists. Consequently, the apostle Peter urges his readers to “prepare your minds for action” (1 Pet. 1:13). The word translated “prepare” means “to bind, to gather up”; some translations use “gird.” In Peter’s day, the people of the East wore long, loose robes that they gathered up into a girdle or belt when preparing for physical activity. As Elijah “girded up his loins and outran Ahab” (1 Kings 18:46), so believers are to get ready to run the Christian race (1 Cor. 9:24). Peter was essentially saying, “Tie up your girdles. Get ready for action!” Today, we would say, “Roll up your sleeves. Get ready to work!”
Peter’s appeal to his readers to be prepared is pertinent because believers are “aliens” (1:1). That is, we are not primarily citizens of earth, but are foreigners whom God has scattered around the world to accomplish His purpose. Like the Israelites at the time of the Exodus, we must be prepared: “Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover” (Exod. 12:11). In Peter’s letter, this “preparation” was a reminder of how quickly the Israelites fled Egypt, but it was also an urgent call to always be ready to move since his readers were pilgrims, strangers, and aliens in a foreign land. We too must discipline ourselves to remember that our true citizenship is in heaven, “from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:20–21).
It is crucial to notice that Peter’s call concerns the “mind.” Spiritual readiness is the result of how we think. Near the end of the Apostle Paul’s description of the armor of God, we read, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth” (Eph. 6:14). As disciples, we are to be truth-saturated, truth-driven people. This means that the Word of God should fill our minds and govern the way we think so that our lifestyles please the Lord. Since our hearts are “more deceitful than all else” (Jer. 17:9), Scripture is the only objective test of the acceptability of our thoughts to God (Ps. 19:14).
Now…where did I put that girdle?