Be Alert and of Sober Mind


In the post Cast All Your Anxiety on Him!, we learned that God invites to throw our cares upon Him. He does not want us to carry the load of whatever plagues us. Beyond our own sinful natures, there is perhaps no greater care or anxiety that we face other than the devil. The word “devil” in Greek is diabolos which is the name used for the devil. It is the usual translation of the Hebrew word for Satan,which means “slanderer” or “accuser”. Ultimately, it is widely accepted that the term evidences the ultimate source behind all persecution. This is where we pick up Peter’s note to the followers of Jesus scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.

1 Peter 5:8-9

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

What does Peter tell the followers of Jesus. First, Peter tells them to be alert and of sober mind. Sober refers to ensuring that your mind, your perspective is not impaired by anything. An over-indulgence of anything could lead to a loss of sobriety. Vines Expository Dictionary states it is “to be free from the influence of intoxicants;” Sober used in conjunction with alert which is to be on the lookout or to be watchful reveals the true danger the devil posses to the follower of Jesus. Because he is the accuser and slanderer, we need to be sober and alert to be mindful of those actions to mislead us and draw us away from God. Peter had just told us to cast our cares upon Jesus. In the context of the text and life, troubles, trials, hardships, sufferings happen. If we are not careful, we will allow the devil to accuse or slander God and follow that lead rather than God.

We all have seen or heard of some tragic event. One of the most prominent responses is to assign blame to God. I thank God for my brother Jason at church for this context. Mark 4:38 captures when the disciples bought into accusation or slander from the wicked one. While Jesus was asleep in the boat during a storm, the disciples, as we do, had the nerve to ask “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” We know 1 Peter 5:7, but they knew Psalms 55:22 which says, “Cast your cares on the Lord     and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Although the disciples knew that verse, they were not Alert and of Sober Mind.

While they were not Alert and of Sober Mind, Job truly was. Listen and learn how we should respond to and of God when sufferings come.

18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job did not charge God with wrongdoing is tantamount to saying that Job did not accuse and slander God. Job did not replicate what the devil was telling him. Furthermore, we learn latter in the text that Job did not listen to his wife who told him to curse God and die. How many times have we not been Alert and of Sober Mind,which led to us accusing and slandering God. That God the devil kicked out of heaven. For the follower of Christ, it will certainly get you chastised or disciplined. Take it from the Word of God, the discipline of the Lord is painful, but it does produce a harvest of righteousness by those trained by it. You have a choice to be trained by the discipline of God. You also have a choice to avoid the discipline just by being Alert and of Sober Mind. What are you going to do today?

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