Have you noticed how clearly the Bible speaks to us about real life issues? There are specific biblical principles to guide our decisions and our lifestyles including outward appearance and appropriate clothing. Let’s see if we can learn a spiritual lesson from a personal garment.
In the year 2000, Sara Blakely’s new invention called Spanx rescued discouraged women worldwide! Her revolutionary undergarment gave immediate confidence to the sagging bodies of middle-aged females. I was introduced to the miracle of Spanx by a ministry wife friend who, by the way, has not one ounce of cellulite on her body. But, I quickly became a believer, buying every variation of this modern-day shapewear. In the fifteen years since its founding, Spanx has become a billion dollar business simply by the word-of-mouth of satisfied customers—women who boast of its amazing results.
Now, I’m a baby boomer in denial of my aging and the impact of gravity on my body parts. So, Spanx is my answer! Hidden beneath my clothing, unnoticed by passersby, I can walk in confidence that any bulges have been smoothed out. Now, I must admit that I don’t really know exactly where my extra fluff goes when I shimmy into my Spanx, but at least it is out of sight and out of mind for awhile. You see, I would never wear a girdle like my mother or grandmother, but . . . I never leave home without my Spanx!
The Bible instructs believers to “gird up their loins” or to “be prepared.” Specifically in 1 Peter 1:13, the writer exhorts: Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (NKJV). Gird up your loins . . . what does that mean to us girls today? Maybe we can better understand the instruction if we express the truth this way: “Gird up your Spanx!”
The word “gird” means to encircle or bind (sounds like a girdle or Spanx to me), but it also means to prepare for action. The phrase in 1 Peter 1:13 metaphorically applies the ancient custom of tucking in long robes around the waist for comfort and ease of movement. The biblical truth specifically teaches the importance of holy living and godly thinking. So, ladies, it’s time to gird up our spiritual Spanx and prepare for life in this sinful world . . . tuck the Word of God into our minds, control the desires of our hearts, and glorify God in our lives.
1. Be prepared. The Bible has been given to equip believers for life. Christians are to get our minds ready for action by abiding in the Word of God, meditating on it, and obeying it (Psalm 19:7–11, 119:1–11; James 1:22–25). We are to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). To have the same mind of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we must spend time in His Word so He can prepare us for the experiences we will face. In a similar way, our mental Spanx will not benefit us if they are on the shelf, in the drawer, or in the package. We must be IN them to be ready for action. So, spend time in God’s Word and gird up your Spanx!
2. Be disciplined. Peter issued strong warnings throughout this letter. Christians are to be serious and sober, controlling our minds and hearts (1 Peter 1:13). We are to be serious and watchful in our prayers (4:7). And, we are to be serious and vigilant because the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking to destroy us (5:8). Discipline is necessary for spiritual growth. If it is worth the effort to improve our physical appearances, then it should be even more important to discipline our minds and hearts. So, bind up your hearts and gird up your Spanx!
3. Be hopeful. When our minds are prepared and our lives are disciplined, we Christians can be completely confident upon the grace brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). Because of the grace of God, Who sent His Only Son to die for our sins on the cross, we can have hope to the fullest degree. This hope is more than a dream or a wish; it is a strong expectation, a promise of God to encourage our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:16–17). Hope is not based on our works but on His Word. Spanx helps give its wearer personal confidence with a slim and shapely appearance. That confidence is fleeting, but hope in God lasts forever. So, be hopeful in God’s grace, give Him the glory, and gird up your spiritual Spanx!
Ladies, if you were willing to give Spanx a try, surely you will make a commitment to the Lord. Let Him do His work in you as you let the Spanx do its work on you. You can have complete confidence and great hope in the Lord. Now follow Him and gird up your Spanx!
Rhonda Harrington Kelley is president’s wife and adjunct professor of women’s ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a speaker and teacher as well as co-editor with Dorothy Patterson of The Study Bible for Women and The Devotional for Women, published by Broadman & Holman. She is a member of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.