My study time recently has been consumed by Peter’s first letter. He wrote it to Christians scattered and disconnected (sound familiar?), and it has led us into a new sermon series we started this past Sunday. Part of Peter’s initial instruction to these scattered Christians was to have “minds that are alert and fully sober” (1 Peter 1:13). And I couldn’t help but think – what does it mean to have a mind that’s alert and fully sober?
Being sober, to Peter, is far more than just limiting yourself on drinking alcohol, though I suppose that’s part of it. I’ve had people ask me in the past – especially young adults – if it’s OK to drink alcohol and still be a good Christian. Or how much is too much? Is a little glass of wine in the evening OK? What about if I make sure I have a designated driver? I’m pretty sure Peter had a broader thought in mind when he wrote about being alert and sober.
There’s a larger message here than counting your drinks. These days there are far more options than alcohol that have the ability to take control of our minds. There are certainly more dangerous and addictive substances out there. Many of them can take hold of your mind, change your personality, turn you into something or someone that doesn’t match the person you’ve been created to be. Lord, deliver us from evil.
But it is also possible to give our minds over to other things. The voices we allow into our lives can have great impact in forming and directing our thoughts and our worldview. The songs we listen to, the TV shows we watch, the news and media outlets we select – all of them want to mold our minds into viewing people and the world through their agenda, through their lens. Choose carefully. It matters.
Instead, be alert and fully sober! Focus! Prepare! Be smart about what you’re letting your mind see, and above all else take care that you’re not giving your mind over to something that will inevitably take over in harmful ways – ways that may shift you away from the Lord and His Kingdom (for more on what the Kingdom of God looks like, read Jesus’ words in Matthew 5-7).
So let’s be reminded today to move forward in our faith with a “sober mind”. Our mind is exposed to so much over the course of a week. Perhaps we need to intentionally seek out people, concepts and truths that promote a Godly, pure mindset. Remember the words of Proverbs 4:
More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.
Have nothing to do with a corrupt mouth; keep devious lips far from you.
Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you.
Watch your feet on the way, and all your paths will be secure.
Don’t deviate a bit to the right or the left; turn your feet away from evil.
-Proverbs 4:23-27 (CEB)
‘til the storm passes by,