ALERT AND SOBER MINDS
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance (1 Peter 1:13-14).
Straightforward and serious, not exaggerated, emotional or silly” is the definition of set your hope”sober”, according to the Free Dictionary. Alert and fully sober! How much we need minds that are not cluttered with unnecessary information and irrelevant junk in order to focus on what really matters.
Because of our access to the media in all its forms, we are a people who suffer from information overload. It’s as though we think we will somehow suffer damage or deprivation if we are not constantly informed about everything that goes on in the world. As soon as we have an unoccupied moment, we tune in. We flick on the TV, switch on the radio, pick up the newspaper, or check what’s going on, on Facebook, and fill the air with sound or our eyes with words – and we blot out the opportunity to think soberly.
Even in the Christian context, we are constantly bombarded by every “wind of doctrine” that Christian thinking produces. Never has there been a time when so much confusion is being sown in the minds of believers through the media and Christian writing. Everyone who broadcasts or writes makes his or her own contribution to the chaos. It’s imperative that God’s people switch off the radio and TV, put away the Christian books and magazines for a while, shut down the computer or cellphone, and get back to God’s word. It’s there that the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching and what He came to accomplish will be rediscovered.
To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32).
Peter’s three basic instructions are as relevant today as they were for the believers of his day who were in urgent need of redirection. They were in danger of being swamped by the threat of persecution. How much more are we in danger of being drowned in the sea of misinformation because everyone is intent on making his or her opinion known!
What were they to do? Be alert! Let your mind be like a sieve. Filter out everything that does not come from the Word or does not match the teaching of Jesus. He is the authority, not the theologians, no matter how many degrees they might have.
Jesus gave His disciples the mandate and the authority to ‘bind’ His yoke on those who believe their word and choose to follow Him. This is a huge responsibility – His yoke is His interpretation of the Torah and His application of the spirit of the Torah in their everyday lives. Our interpretation and application of Jesus’ teaching must match His disposition: ‘I am gentle and humble in heart.’
Be sober! Be straightforward and serious, not full of exaggerated or silly ideas which do not come from God’s thinking but ours. Take the Christmas and Easter seasons, for example. Where did these traditions originate? Certainly not from God’s mind but from the minds of people ‘drunk’ with their own ideas and the deliberate plan to deviate from the truth.
Santa Claus, snow and reindeer, Christmas trees and lavish decorations, presents and feasting? From God? Really? Merry Christmas – wishing you a merry sacrifice of Jesus! Does this come from God? And as for Easter bunnies and Easter eggs! The very name ‘Easter’ has a pagan origin. Are these the product of sober minds or the stupidity of our ‘sheep’ nature who follow tradition because everyone else is doing it!
The ‘silly season’, we call Christmas. Why? Because God’s people are no longer alert and have lost their ability to think soberly. Overindulgence, spending sprees, debt, drunkenness etc. in Jesus’ name? I don’t think so.
What is the antidote? Set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. There is a reward for those who live in the light of Jesus’ return which presupposes that they will live as obedient children of God and no longer according to their old, evil desires.
Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing (2 Tim, 4: 8).
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.