The phrase “prepare your minds for actions” isn’t literally the original phrase here because in Peter’s original words he uses a figure of speech that makes no sense to us in our culture today.
The actual phrase that Peter uses would by literally translated “gird up the loins of your mind.”
During the 1st century both men and women would wear long tunics that would go down to their ankles. This would be the standard dress during that day. And the men would also wear a leather belt or a girdle around their waste to hold money, tools or weapons. And if a man needed the freedom to work, run or fight without this tunic changing down, he would pull up the tunic above their knees and tuck it into the girdle.
This was an act that was known as “girding up your loins.” And it became a figure of speech that one would use to talk about getting ready and being prepared.
In our language today it would be the same as the expression “roll up your sleeves.” It means it is time to get to work. We are about dive in to the task at hand.
When Peter writes in verse 13, “gird up the loins up your mind” his readers would have understood that he was saying, ‘get your minds ready. This is not a time to let your minds be a drift. This is not a time to be turned out. This is a time to stay alert. Because you are preparing yourself for the task at hand.’
And so our modern translations say “prepare your minds for action.”
And so Peter is saying, in light of your identity as believers in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:12) you need to be prepared as Christians because have been called to live differently.
Verse 13 continues with the same exhortation as Peter calls us to have a sober mind.
To be sober minded is a Christian who is in full control of his speech and conduct. He doesn’t give in to rage and anger, he is not consumed by lust, he doesn’t give in to the works of the flesh. But his mind his calm and clear for the work at hand. He is able to enter into the work focused.
Have you ever been in that situation in which you were not ready for something. You weren’t ready for that test, or that speech, or whatever task you were preparing for and your mind was just swirling with unrest. It is in those times you get nervous and anxious and you begin to panic. It is not a good place to be in. It is in that place that you begin to move into fear and worry.
But then there is that other place. Those times in life in which you feel ready. You feel prepared to do what you about to do. And you are mentally focused. And there is a calmness in your spirit. In fact, there is often an excitement in your spirit. You are ready and eager to do what you are about to do.
That is the place that Peter is calling us to—a place of readiness of Christians. a place of preparedness of Christians. A place of action as Christians. As we enter into a world that is in opposition to God we are not rattled. As we enter into a world of persecution, we don’t lose our hope. The trials don’t surprise us. Our hope is fixed on Christ and the grace given to us.