Gird up your loins

Updated: May 16, 2019

Peter McArthur

(1 Peter 1: 13-16) “Therefore girding up the loins of your mind, being sober, rest your hope fully upon the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

The allusion here is to the manner in which people of the period were accustomed to dress. They normally wore loose, flowing robes so that when they wanted to run, to fight, or to apply themselves to any kind of business, they would tie their garments close around them so as not to get in the way.

The obvious meaning here is that they were to have their minds in constant preparation to go about their duties, or if need be, to endure any trials of life that may suddenly come. It has a reference to Jesus’ words in Luke 12:35. “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.” Christ's call is a call to active service and being constantly prepared for it.

According to the Jewish NT commentary the phrase highlighted above (“girding up the loins of your mind”) has the meaning of “being mentally prepared for opposition, distractions, temptations and unexpected setbacks”. In Vincent’s Word Studies it is expressed as a way “to counter hypocrisy and falsehood”.

Notice that the antidote to hypocrisy and falsehood is to “rest your hope fully upon the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (verse 13).

Here we have a verb in the imperative form. It's a command to "hope fully, or hope perfectly" meaning “completely or with maturity”. So here is the command to perform an action you do with the mind. If you like, it's a command to hope. In other words, a CORRECT FOCUS keeps the mind “at rest” and relatively free from attack.

The NT warns us many times about deceit, false doctrine and the traditions of men that will ensnare. Unfortunately strange and “different” teaching has affected some Christians we know and love as brethren. This happened to me at one time when a dear brother in the Lord became ensnared by the legalism associated with the “Name of Jesus” movement, causing much angst between us.

My reaction to his insistence that the name “Jesus” was anathema, was I’m sad to say, a knee –jerk one on my part. In my attempt to wean him away from legalism I sprouted such things as “Let’s get back to basics”, or “Let’s just focus on the really important things”, etc. The Lord had to pull me into line about my mind attitude and He spoke a word to me for adjustment. He firmly said “A response is required here, not a reaction.” I was quickly humbled!

So, let’s look at the “girding up” of our minds. A principle is set in motion once we let our guard down, and it’s that Carnal reactions only breed further carnality, and eventually some form of death. If we let our guard down (like I did, and react rather than respond) some kind of death will follow; death of relationship, death of expectations, death of spiritual insight, etc.

On the other hand another principle shows us that Spiritual things always reproduce their own life. Some spiritual things are not always “of God” as we well know from the occult realm. But we can say that “Soul reproduces death; Spiritual produces a life.” Of course the Holy Spirit always reproduces God’s Life!

While we’re looking at principles about all this we might note that the more we try to live according to the laws of good and evil, the more we become separated in our consciousness from God. In other words, if we allow legalism in while trying to be holy, it will take us further from God, not closer!

We would think it should be the reverse, but NO! To live according to “good and evil” requires knowledge of the two and of their profound differences. This is what the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is about. Notice please that Scripture doesn’t say it’s “the Tree of Good and Evil” but the Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17).

There are two seeds at work reproducing themselves on earth. The Seed of Adam and the Seed of Jesus. One is the Serpent’s seed, and the other is God’s seed. One is the Adamic life, and is basically “anti-Christ” meaning “anti-Spirit” (Christ=anointed). The other is God’s life which always aligns with the Anointing, the Spirit.

Do you want to eat from that Tree of Knowledge? Fine! But please be aware to live from that Tree will require you to keep every part of its knowledge. That’s why when you look into ANY doctrine and focus on IT as the end-all and be-all, you end up having to keep on INCREASING its details and “laws”. It will “gather” partners to it all the time, and wear you out trying to keep it, justify it, and defend it.

It will bring you into Death, not Life. Of course the adherents of “Doctrine Keeping” think it’ll actually give them “Life” but it brings the very reverse. Unfortunately the ecclesia of God has unwittingly taught new believers to live by the Tree of Knowledge.

Think about this: a seed is pre-programmed/pre-destined by the Creator to reproduce after its own kind. When a farmer puts a seed in the ground, he doesn’t take his Grower’s Manual out every day and read out something from it to the seed buried in the soil. The seed knows HOW to grow all by its own innate sense. It regenerates naturally.

When a person is regenerate by the Holy Spirit what do we normally do? Give them books to read! We try to teach the seed how to grow! We tend to heap “works” upon them. We tell them, Don’t smoke. Dress differently. Sepaprate from your friends. Truth isn’t in intellectual understanding (at least not to begin with), it’s in learning Who is He who is The Truth.

Someone was put it this way: Before I got saved they told me God loved me unconditionally. Now after I was saved they loaded me up with a list of conditions and instructions! Our Heavenly Father has made a covenant with the Seed in you; and it is JESUS in you!

(Gal 3:16) "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ."

No knowledge can make that seed grow in you – it is automatic because of Jesus living within the born-again ones, by the Spirit. A practical application of this is when some saint runs after a new teaching before truly discerning its merits and truth. Brethren who get locked into some suspect doctrine or false teaching need our patient correction in the matter.

(2 Tim 2:25) "With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth."

To oppose oneself will bring about confusion, so it’s very important we act according to Scriptural principles in order to help others get re-aligned with God’s mind in a matter. We are not to try and "win them over" but to show them the reality of the seed within them.

Let the Father reproduce His life is us, but not by knowledge and the keeping of laws and man-honoured doctrines. The Adamic nature wants head Knowledge, it wants Religion. But the Anointing that is within us by Christ’s Spirit will quite naturally, and automatically reproduce divine life. Let us learn to be constant in girding up the loins of our minds – to discern in all humility.

(2 Peter 1:3) “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Peter McArthur