We don’t have to shut off our brains to be Christians. In fact, to be a Christian is to be a thinker. It’s more than that, but certainly not less.
Don’t just take my word for it. Look at what the Bible has to say:
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. (1 Peter 1:13)
Prepare your minds for action.
Peter is using a metaphor here that doesn’t come across as clearly in English. Think back, if you will, to what people generally wore in the first century: robes. If you’re just taking a casual stroll, it’s not going to get in the way. But if you needed to spring into action, you had to do something with all that extra cloth. So you had to “gird up your loins.”
So, Peter is saying, “Get your mind battle ready!”
But where does he want us to direct our mental energies?
Set yourself fully on the grace.
He’s talking about the gospel. He’s talking about drawing out the implications of this good news for your life—and the life of the people around you:
What does it mean that the gospel is for me? What does it mean that I am accepted apart from my performance? How does that affect my home? How does that affect my work? How does that affect my relationships?
When you start asking yourself those questions, you realize the battle is not “out there.” Sure, it might play out on a number of “war zones,” but it’s really about your “home front.”
There’s a number of ways to fortify your base. R.O.A.D. journal is a method of reading that helps me think deeply and personally about the Bible.
Read – Pray for understanding, then read through the text slowly and deliberately. If you have time, read the text twice. Write down the verse or phrase that stands out to you.
Observe – Observe the details of the text and write down your observations. Ask questions aimed at getting at the meaning the author intended to convey. You could even re-write the passage in your own words.
Apply – Write down your answer to these questions: What do I hear God saying in this text? What am I going to do about it?
Depend – Write out a prayer for continued understanding, trust, and obedience. Ask God’s Spirit to help you apply these truths to your life right now. As the Spirit leads, feel free to praise God, confess and repent of sin, embrace God’s grace, etc.
It’s a simple, but powerful way to prepare the mind for action.