Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Necessity of Being Primed

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and mother of three grown daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone, and has published two devotional books, Spur of the Moment, and Focused Reflections. Visit her website -

My husband and I stared at the white-washed wall. “I guess it’s time I did something with that,” he said. The interior of the extension on our house had been finished for about a year, but the exterior wall was still just a sheet of painted plywood. “I’ll find out what I need to do the stucco today,” my husband said, with a note of determination in his voice. Succo, I thought. How hard can that be?
Later, we stood at a counter in a hardware store, listening to the detailed instructions given by a man who obviously knew what he was talking about. He helped us figure out how much stucco mud we’d need. Then he added in the mesh. “Mesh?” I asked. He nodded. “You need mesh for the stucco to stick,” he explained. “And you’ll need primer, of course.” My husband noted the jump in cost with that addition and asked if it was really necessary. The man behind the counter nodded vigorously. Apparently primer was essential. I sighed as he handed us the total. Nothing in this world is easy, I thought. Or cheap. My husband mumbled something about hiring a contractor.
Just to be sure, we called another store and asked about the process. The clerk outlined the same details and agreed with the other man’s assessment. Primer was absolutely necessary. Without preparing the surface, he explained, the process would not work.
1 Peter 1:13 talks about primer too. The author writes – “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” We are to prime ourselves, prepare ourselves, as athletes prepare for competition. The apostle is talking about focus. Just as an athlete must focus on training for the race, we must focus on Christ. We must study Him, listen to Him, conform our will to His. Why? Because, just as the primer on a wall determines the strength of what comes after, the preparation we do in our hearts and minds determines our usefulness to God. As Christian writers, this spiritual priming is absolutely necessary. Without it our words cannot give life, cannot feed our readers the way God intends.
Peter outlines how to go about the process. He says, “Obey the truth,” (v.22), “love one another deeply”(22b). He calls us to “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.” Easy, right? Hardly. But we have help. We have something to cling to, as stucco mud clings to mesh. 2 Peter 2:4 goes on to say, “As you come to him ...” Jesus is available to help us accomplish the priming, the preparation necessary in our lives. And the end result is worth it all as we, “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”(2 Peter 2:5)