I might say this to someone I think has too high an opinion of themselves or their abilities. “Get a grip” would be my reminder that they aren’t or can’t. My exhortation would be a call to come back to reality.
Someone else might use it for someone who seems to be lost in fear or anxiety. “Get a grip” would be an attempt to calm them down from their unrealistic emotions, to awaken them to look more carefully and truthfully at the situation.
“Get a grip!” I would also use this phrase to paraphrase what I think the Apostle Paul says to his friends in Corinth as he closes out his first letter to them, what we call 1Corinthians.
“Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,
which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.
Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
1Corinthians 15:1,2 NIV
Paul is writing to his fellow Christians in Corinth reminding them of the saving power of the gospel. Here, Paul emphasizes the power of the gospel to save them not only from the penalty of sin past but also of the power of sin present. He does so by using the present tense for the verb “saved” when he says “by this gospel you are saved.” In the ESV, this phrase is translated “you are being saved.”
However, Paul wants these same Corinthians to understand this power for saving them from the power of sin is not automatically experienced. “By this gospel you are saved, if…” This power is conditioned upon something from the Corinthians. They must “hold fast” to the gospel to experience the power of the gospel to overcome the power of sin presently.
In other words, they have to keep a grip on the gospel. The picture Paul is trying to draw here is that of having a grip on something and having someone trying to yank it out of that grasp. The picture is of a tug of war. In this case, what is being pulled back and forth is the gospel.
This is not some theoretical or inconsequential game. What is at stake in this tugging is our ability to live in victory over the power of sin. That victory depends on our keeping our grip on the gospel.
Paul understood this and exhorts his readers to “Get a grip!” Be careful to not misunderstand what I am saying by using this exhortation. I am not calling for greater human effort in our battle with sin. Rather, this is a call to keep our grip on the gospel and the power of God found there, for “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (again present tense) Romans 1:16.
Paul understood the need for the power of God through the gospel. He also understood something about getting this grip. He knew it involved regular reminders about the gospel. This is why he says to the Corinthians, “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you.”
They tended to forget. So do we. Just like them, we need to remember the gospel. In light of this reality, author Jerry Bridges says it this way – “Preach the gospel to yourself everyday.” (For more ideas of how you might “get a grip,” listen to this audio from a Church at Charlotte Adult Fellowship Class I recently taught.)
Where are you struggling these days in your battle with sin? The key to your battle, to my and all believers’ battle, is the gospel and the power of God found there. Experiencing that power involves holding on to the great truths of this gospel.
This is why there is such an ongoing tug of war going on for the gospel in all our lives. Having heard Paul’s words, can you recognize that battle in your heart for your grip of the gospel? In the light of that reality, resist that tug. Pull back. Fight against the forces that would steal the gospel from you and “GET A GRIP!!”