Well we, of course, have the responsibility tonight to set our hearts toward the cross and the things of Christ and we also are very mindful of he fact that we are on the brink of a new year and this is a good time to kind of do a bit of a spiritual inventory. And as I thought about that, I was drawn to a text of Scripture that I would call to your attention for a few moments...1 Peter, 1 Peter. You might want to turn to it and we'll look at a couple of scriptures here in the first chapter of 1 Peter that will help us focus not only on the cross but on setting our priorities.
In the thirteenth verse of 1 Peter chapter 1, Peter writes, "Therefore prepare your minds for action." Now the Authorized says, "Gird up your loins, pull all the loose ends of your life together." This is kind of military language. When a soldier went into battle, he made sure that he pulled his tunic up, tied it around him tightly so that he could move freely and not be encumbered or hindered, or give any opportunity for the enemy. And as a soldier pulls all the loose ends together to go into serious combat, so we are called upon to prepare our minds for action, to call all of our thoughts into control. And then he says, "Keep sober," and what that essentially means there in verse 13 is to get your priorities right. Think seriously, think accurately, think nobly, be sober minded. He adds, "Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So in pulling in the loose ends of life, setting your priorities, you keep in mind the future revelation of Jesus Christ. We do everything we do in view of the return of the Lord when what we have done will be evaluated, and for that we will suffer either reward or the loss of reward.
As you think about your life at the beginning of a year, that's a good way to begin. This would be a time for you to begin to pull in the loose ends. That would be sinful loose ends, that would be wasteful, useless things that occupy your life and get your priorities where they should be as you anticipate the face of the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious return, or your arrival in His presence in glory....