The Best Days Begin the Night Before
I recently read a quote attributed to the United States Navy SEALs that states the following, "Under pressure, you don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That's why we train so hard."
I encourage you to read that quote multiple times and let that really sink in. More true words may have never been spoken. 1 Peter 1:13-16 (NASB) reads, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.””
So how can we put this into a practical application for everyday life? May I offer some simple plans of actions to help us “prepare our minds.” As the above quote states, I have found that most of us are far more productive when we plan to be. In other words, the best days begin by planning the night before! Here are a few tips worth trying:
1. Make the tough decisions ahead of time. Let’s be honest. We’d like to think that we are all invincible in the face of pressure and temptations. The truth of the matter is, we often wait until the crisis occurs to make our spiritual decision. Guess What? For most of us, that is too late! Do we truly want to be victorious over evil? Then it is going to take preparation before the “flaming arrows” are hurled (Ephesians 6:16). What are your personal temptations? Now, take that knowledge of what besets you and form a plan to remain pure. What are your triggers for sin? Now, take action to refrain from causing self-inflicted wounds by allowing yourself around those people, places, etc.
2. Create Roadblocks. Even when we “prepare our minds” from time to time we are going to make unwise decisions and find ourselves in the heat of a temptation battle. Now what? Create roadblocks for yourself! Do you find that you lack the time to read God’s word? Consider this, before you go to bed open your Bible to the Scripture that is to be read in the morning/tomorrow. Seeing the open Bible reminds us to sit and read instead of making excuses about our busy schedules. Is there a website/app that tempts you to indulge in fleshly desires? Make your wallpaper an image of the Bible, a Scripture, a cross, etc… you get the picture. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Whatever your temptation is, find a way to give yourself a mental/physical roadblock to remind yourself to “be holy.”
3. Remind Yourself of The Incentives. We often fail in our aim of holiness because we live in the now and forget the eternal picture. Remind yourself that IF we will prepare our minds, we will increasingly rise to the spiritual level that honors the sacrifice of Christ. IF we will prepare our hearts, we will increasingly rise to the level of love that pleases the Father. IF we will prepare our hands, we will increasingly rise to the example to lead the next generation to Jesus. IF we will prepare ourselves with all our heart, soul and mind… one day we will stand in the presence of God Almighty.
Are you preparing?