1 Peter 1:13-16 (ESV) – 13 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. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
It’s Oscar season, – literally, this weekend – and I love this time of year. One of the movies I have really enjoyed in the “Best Picture” category is The Martian. It was a really solid movie, but one of the things I noticed about this film is something that is common across so many good works of fiction: some of the best parts of a narrative are in the preparation for a singular, climactic event. In The Martian it is Matt Damon’s preparation for rescue. In Rocky it’s the training to face Apollo Creed. The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is about the preparation for the climactic moment of the ring being thrown into the fires of Mordor.
The season of Lent is a call to holiness, but it’s really more than that. It’s a call to prepare for the future hope that is being revealed in Jesus Christ. As children of God, we are called to be obedient to our Father, but as any parent will tell you, obedient children are not born, they are made. That’s why Peter reminds his audience that the pursuit of holiness is an active preparation of the mind (which for the Greeks was the seat of all action). It is a thoughtful process whereby we put aside the desires of a time when we were ignorant to any other way of life and pursue the holiness secured for us in Christ.
This is the great story in our own personal narratives because it is a challenge, but it is a challenge that God himself enables by the power of the Holy Spirit. How might we prepare our minds for action and keep ourselves sober-minded during this season so that our obedience to God flourishes all the more?