What are you going to do today? Some people act on the spur of the moment, and sometimes regret it. We began reading the first letter of Peter today and it occurred to us that Peter’s comment to his readers about “preparing your minds for action” may reflect on his own impulsiveness in his earlier years.

He is writing to those who had never seen or heard Jesus but had come to believe in him and his message. He tells them they “are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:5-7).

How genuine is our faith in Jesus Christ? If God, in His overview of our lives sees a need to test it, we may experience a time of testing: this is not to weaken faith, but to strengthen it. There are plenty of self-centred people who are concentrating on their own interests, on things that are for their own advantage. Sometimes they end up making a mess of their lives. Consider today’s reading in Judges 9 when, after the forty years in which Gideon was judge, the people turned back to their own pursuits and false gods – and tragedy followed.

Peter notes how the prophets learned “they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you” (verse 12). In the same way believers must be conscious of the need to serve others in at least some of their actions. We must be involved in this. Sometimes it is difficult and challenging to do this! This leads Peter to make the point in the next verses, “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. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”.

“Holy” means to be ‘set apart’ from the world. Some parts of the world create their own type of ‘Holy Men’ in strange ways, but for us we must “strive … for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). So, what are you preparing your minds to do today? And tomorrow?