Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down
This phrase is odd, but immediately anyone that speaks “American” knows that this refers to being unprepared or not ready for a task. Another odd phrase is “gird up your loins.” What does that mean any way? In the simplest of terms it means to fasten or secure your clothing with a belt. Now, that makes sense. No need for the pants to fall down while doing something important.
Dr. Terry Rice wrote that, “The biblical expression ‘to gird up the loin’ meant to put on the girdle; it signified that the person was ready for service (I Peter 1:13). On the other hand, to loose the girdle meant the person was either lazy or resting (Isaiah 5:27).”
In 1 Kings 18, there is account of girding up the loins. In this instance we see the prophet of God, Elijah performing this task. After defeating the 400 prophets of Baal, Elijah tightens his belt in verse 46:
1 Kings 18:46 – The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
Other versions say that he “girded up his loins.” Here the NIV explains as “tucking his cloak into his belt.” I like this word picture, but either way Elijah was ready for action. And by action, I mean he broke every sprinting world record known to man. Ussain Bolt wouldn’t have had a chance.
As followers of Jesus, we have all been called to gird our loins or tuck in our cloak. We have to be ready for service at any time. Our service will be different because our Father has created us uniquely to accomplish specific objectives for His Kingdom.
In this passage we see three truths that can help us understand our service for the Kingdom of God.
1. We need the power of the Lord. Jesus let us know about this necessity right before He beamed back up to Heaven.
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Whatever our specific service may be, in general it is to be witnesses to all people. Without the power of God operating in our lives there is no chance to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. From personal experience I have found out that my own power results in just about nothing, but when the Holy Spirit steps in all things are possible. This power comes when we decide that time with our Father is more important than anything else.
2. Not only is the power of God important, but we also need our cloak. Elijah’s cloak or mantle was representative of the gifts of God on his life. In scripture you will see Elijah using his cloak to perform miracles. When his service was finished here on earth he passed his gifts on to Elisha to continue the work of God.
2 Kings 2:13-14 – He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
Each of us has been given gifts and the ultimate purpose is not to make money or make us feel better about ourselves. Our cloak’s first purpose is in the service of God. Those gifts your Father gave to you — He knew combined with your unique personality and your place in life that you could have influence like no one else. We are created for a purpose. We are gifted to fulfill it.
3. Ok, we’ve picked up our cloak. Now what? Tuck it in your belt. We’re going somewhere … fast. Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians that we need to put on our belt of truth.
Ephesians 6:14 – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
For the Roman soldier, the belt was of extreme importance. It held everything together. The belt held his sword, his ration sack and his darts. God’s truth is our sword of the Spirit. It is our daily bread. It is of extreme importance.
In order for our service to be one that goes the long haul (Elijah’s run from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel was about 30 miles) we need to be secure in the Word of God. Psalm 119 reminds of this importance.
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
There is no need to run in the dark. The Bible is here to guide us and keep us on the straight and narrow pathway. When we are walking or running with the Truth, God’s light will direct us to the place we need to be and more importantly the people we need to serve.
Running with our Truth-based gift in the power of God will first of all put the enemy behind us. We will always be “ahead of Ahab” when we are running in this fashion. He may be chasing us, but he’s not going to catch anything.
As we are leaving the devil in the dust we will find our way to Jezreel. Jezreel means “God will sow.” Now, I know I can sow and reap, but when God begins to sow just imagine the harvest! He always sows the right seed, in the right soil, at the right time guaranteeing fruitfulness.
This journey begins and ends with God’s power. This is the realization we all must come to … without Him in the beginning, the middle and the end of our journey we are hopeless and left looking like a fool with our pants on the ground.
He is here every step of the way, though. As He is always faithful to do His part, we must do ours. It’s time to tighten our belt and get ready for a run.