For a few weeks now, I’ve been pondering the phrase “sober-minded” from 1 Peter 4:7 and 5:8 (and several other times in the New Testament). 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (ESV). What a statement to remain sober-minded for the sake of our prayers!
I’m a teacher so I love getting stuck down rabbit trails as I research and learn more about things that stand out to me in scripture. I found at least 9 other references to being sober-minded, and they are not just talking about not drinking alcohol!
Titus, one example, is full of “sober-minded” challenges: Wives are to be sober-minded to love their husbands and children better.
Young men are to be sober-minded so that they can maintain integrity, dignity and sound speech. Elders are to be sober-minded to better serve. Older men are to be sober-minded to better teach sound doctrine.
Looks like perhaps being “sober-minded” is an invitation into something better.
I looked up 1 Peter 4:7 in the Strongs, and the word for sober-minded is S3525 (nēphō) which means not only to abstain from wine, but also to be calm and collected in spirit, to remain dispassionate and to keep watch. In fact, the King James Version uses the word “watch” instead of “sober-minded.” The Passion Translation says to be “intentional and purposeful” when we pray.
How interesting that in 1 Peter 4:7 we are asked to stay calm, collected, even intentional and purposeful, and to keep watch immediately after Peter states that the end of all things is near!
Here’s what the Holy Spirit challenged me on regarding all this: I must remain sober-minded. In the current climate of the world, I cannot afford NOT to. I am a child of God who carries the authority of Christ, and my words build worlds around me.
I have the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4) and my NEW NATURE no longer operates in the world’s view of the natural. I am not a mere human.
The world around me needs me to be sober-minded – clear headed – enough to pray and intercede with power. Politically correct spirits thrive on perverting people’s passions and twisting them into outrage and anger, so God needs me to remain calm and collected in Spirit so that I can respond like Christ and not out of my flesh.
False doctrines are flooding society and even infiltrating the Church, thus future generations need me to remain on watch and be clear minded enough to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, without cloudiness or distraction, to be able to teach soundly.
1 Peter 5:8 says it best: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We don’t want to focus on the devil, EVER, but we cannot be “unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). He will lie, distract, cause a spirit of heaviness or sickness or whatever he can to keep you from hearing the voice of your Father clearly. The enemy will keep you from prayer, keep you exhausted, keep you unwell and even keep you battling offense just to keep you from being fully sober-minded.
We have Jesus, so we have the ability to stay one step ahead of him when we can remain clear-minded and self-controlled.
Friend, you are more powerful than you know. And eternity needs you to be sober-minded, without distraction. If that looks like subtracting some things from your life – or adding others – then do it!
Learn to be intentional and purposeful to hear Him clearly. Start now, so that you can have “20/20 vision” in 2020! You have the backing of Heaven and the grace of God on your side.
~ Mandy Woodhouse