"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;" (1 Peter 1:13)
Peter has been speaking to these suffering saints of a wonderful future, of a living hope, of an incorruptible inheritance. Such confident aspirations fill them with an inexpressible joy. However, they must not lose sight of present duties, if they are to finish strong.
The phrase "gird up" occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except perhaps in Luke 12:35. Other translations render it differently: "prepare your minds" (ESV); have a mind that is alert" (NIV). Thus, "we must gird up the loins of our mind" and set out to fix our hearts on the business of the Lord.
A closer look at the phrase paints a picture of perhaps soldiers preparing for battle, or pilgrims preparing for travel. They were to tuck in the edges of the tunic and tighten the belt. They must pull themselves together.
Peter is obviously concerned about the encumbrances and challenges along the way that may keep them from finishing the journey.
Among the distractions would be persecution. (1 Peter 4:19) Peter does not deceive them. Because they are connected to a rejected Savior, they will also be rejected. (1 Peter 2:7) The need for human acceptance is a strong emotion and can easily divert the disciple from his mission. He must get tough mentally. He needs to stay focused!
Fleshly lusts can also become a hindrance. (1 Peter 2:11,12) Former friends will expect you to engage in their fleshly activities. (1 Peter 4:3,4) Such worldly pleasures have a strong allurement and can easily cause the soldier to stumble. He must stay mentally alert.
Finally, there is the allurement of material things that will be the downfall of some disciples. (Matthew 6:33) The cares and riches of this world will prevent these soldiers from bearing fruit for God. (Luke 8:14) Therefore, they must gird up the loins of their mind and get focused on the treasures of heaven.
The people of God are pilgrims and strangers in this world. God has made high and lofty promises to his people. However, the journey is long and treacherous. They must gather up the robes and lay aside anything that may impede the progress, and one day the Savior will say, "well done."
- George Slover