Therefore, prepare your minds for action.
–1 Peter 1:13
At the start of World War II, the British government printed up different posters to encourage the British people. One said, “Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might.” But there was one poster that was never hung–it was printed in case the Nazis actually invaded Britain. Do you know what that poster said? “Keep calm and carry on.” That is the theme of 1 Peter. Peter was writing to Christians in a culture that had been invaded by unbelievers. Unbelievers seemed to be winning. Christians seemed to be losing. Peter said, “Even though you are starting to suffer very real persecution, keep calm and carry on. Don’t panic.” How do we do that? In 1 Peter, the apostle gave us three commands to keep us from panicking.
First of all, be disciplined in your thinking. Look at 1 Peter 1:13: “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” That word “prepare” is sometimes translated “gird.” The Roman soldier wore a free-flowing tunic, and if an enemy grabbed hold of that tunic, he could gain an advantage. So the first thing the soldier did was to gird up his tunic–that is, he tucked it into his belt. Peter was saying, “Take hold of any loose, undisciplined thinking in your life.” Why is that? Because our thoughts are command central for everything that we do. If you are going to keep from panicking in a threatening situation, you have to be disciplined in what you allow into your mind. A church member once told me, “Pastor, I am having the hardest time sleeping. I am just so anxious.” It turned out he watched about three hours of cable news every night–no wonder he was anxious! So I suggested, “Instead of watching the news, why not fill your mind with God’s Word?” A couple of weeks later, I asked him how he was doing, and he said, “It has been the most miraculous thing: I have been listening to your sermons, and after five minutes I am out like a light.” That is the power of the Word of God!
But thinking on God’s Word does not just keep us from fear; it can keep us from distractions. There are all kinds of distractions in life that keep us from remembering God’s purpose for us. When I was five years old, my dad took me to the State Fair of Texas. We got to the midway, and he said, “Robert, I am going to go to the restroom. You stand right here and do not move.” So I stood there for about thirty seconds, and then I got distracted by all of the sounds and the bright lights of the midway. Not long after that, I found myself lost. I was in a panic. Fortunately, a policeman found me, and he put me on the back of his three-wheeled motorcycle. As we were weaving through the crowd, my father saw me. He started chasing that motorcycle, and he swept me off the back of it. The policeman probably thought I had been raptured. The point is, I was not trying to disobey my dad; I just got distracted. It is the same way with us as Christians. That is why we need to be diligent in what we think about.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #1: Don’t Panic” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Jacopo Prisco, “Keep Calm: The Story Behind The UK’s Most Famous Poster Design,” CNN, November 1, 2017, https://www.cnn.com/style/article/keep-calm-poster/index.html
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org