Called to sobriety

Christians are called to a life of sobriety. Several times in the Bible, followers of Christ are warned to stay sober-minded and clear-headed. 

In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter says to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, says “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”

Again, he says in 2 Timothy 4:5, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.”

The list could go on.

Undoubtedly, one of the first things that comes to mind on the topic of sobriety is physical drunkenness due to alcoholic beverages. Although I don’t drink, I was quite shaken up when I came to the realization that Christians are to be sober minded at all times (2 Timothy 4:5). You see, it is not only alcohol that can render a person ‘intoxicated.’ We are also capable of getting ‘drunk’ on the cares, desires, needs, and pleasures of this life. 

Now, it is not a sin to desire money for important earthly needs, nor is it an issue to want good things that are in line with the Word and will of God for your life. It is not a bad thing to have fun or have a good time with your friends and family. The real issue comes when whatever you are doing drives you into a state of intoxication–when your mind is not sound, you can’t think straight or make decisions that align with God’s will, you are vulnerable to attacks from the enemy, and you cannot discern the voice of God.

You can see the physical manifestation of such a state in a person who is drunk with alcohol. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” In many instances, intoxicated people are unable to make sound judgements; they may end up saying things they do not want to say or doing things they had no intention of doing in the first place. They are also more prone to attacks from people who want to take advantage of them. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to discern God’s voice when you are drunk, that is why the Word advises Christians to avoid drunkenness. 

However, like I said before, it is possible to get drunk on worldly things other than alcohol. For example, one of the things that this generation has an abundance of access to is entertainment–social media, TV shows, movies, video games, etc. These things are not necessarily bad, but as Christians, it is dangerous to over-indulge in such pleasures. 

If we over-indulge in these things, we are placing these pleasures on the throne of our hearts, essentially making them idols. But God is a jealous God, so He can’t have that! (Exodus 20:5) In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “You cannot serve two masters…”. In Matthew 6:33, He says that we must “seek first the kingdom of God…” So, God needs to be first in your heart, but that can’t be the case if something else has already taken that place.

Moreover, if you are filling your heart and mind with all these worldly thoughts and pleasures, you are making it very difficult for yourself to discern the voice and will of God, because the content that you are consistently absorbing may be contrary to God’s Word. But that is exactly what the enemy wants; he knows that once he gets a solid grip on your mind, he’s done the bulk of the work. That’s why in Romans 12:2, we are told to “be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of [our] mind[s],…” Your mind is renewed when you read and meditate on the Word of God. And when your mind is renewed, you begin to be transformed into the person God wants you to be, because “…as [you] think in [your] heart, so [are you].” (Proverbs 23: 7 NKJV) You become what you constantly think about, so think on the right things (Philippians 4:8).

In these last days, it is especially important that we stay alert. 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.” We need to have a sound mind so that we can discern God’s voice, do His will, and stay out of the traps of the enemy. The enemy knows his time is short, so he is doing everything he can to get you–don’t let him (Revelation 12:12).

So, let’s obey the call to be sober minded and alert–digging into the Word, doing God’s will, and always having an attitude of prayer. 

“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42

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