Be Sober-Minded

I’m sure that at some point you’ve been asked to describe yourself in two or three words. Or maybe you’ve tried to describe a friend of yours that way. Let’s say we’re having a conversation and I’m telling you about my friend Matthew. You ask me what he’s like and expect me to say something like, “Matthew is average height… he’s funny… and he works at a coffee shop.” Instead, after you ask me what Matthew is like, I pause, and after a moment of thought say, “My friend Matthew… he’s... sober-minded.”

Now I’d be really interested to hear what your first thought about Matthew was… What’s your immediate impression of my friend? That his personality is a bit dry? That his outlook on life is a little stiff? Maybe too serious? Hasn’t had a good laugh in few weeks?

I was struck by this term “sober-minded” recently as I was in a season of meditating on the book of 1 Peter. It occurs three times is the short letter - here the are:

Preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone - someone like you — to devour.

Now what we see here is that a sober-minded person is not someone who is just thoughtful, or quiet, or introverted, or somewhat more serious than the rest of us. It’s not a personality-type, or a temperament that you either have or you don’t.

I even wonder if we hear the term “sober-minded” and think something closer to “somber-minded.” Let’s be clear - to be sober-minded is emphatically not to be somber!

Instead, the sober-minded person has a certain perspective. A unique way of looking at things. There is a clarity of mind here.  It’s a deep, cultivated, lived sense of reality. It shapes our worldview, down to the thousands of little decisions we make every day.

A sober-minded Christian is a glad Christian who lives their life with refreshing clarity. So, church, I exhort you:

Let us recognize that we are at war, and fight for our lives lest we be devoured.

Let us know - to make ourselves know! - that Jesus is coming, soon, and order your days and your prayers accordingly.

And most of all, let us gladly, fully, set our hope on the grace of Jesus, who is for you, and will keep you.

In other words, I exhort you, be sober-minded.

Prayer of Confession

Father, we confess that we set our hope on so many other things… we lack self-control… we neglect prayer… we are not watchful and mindful of the war with our adversary the devil. We confess that we need your help to be sober-minded. As with any good fruit in our lives, sober-mindedness is brought about by your grace, and so we seek your grace now. Grant us the grace not only of forgiveness, but of power to change as we confess our sins to you now in a moment of silence...