Be Alert & Sober Minded

Matt Coulombe   -  

“Pardon me… I hate to interrupt, but were you aware of the laser cross-hairs on the back of your head?”

I know that’s an unsettling thought which might not be the most encouraging thing for you to hear today. But, if this were ever a real-life scenario, and someone was actually seeking to “take you out,” wouldn’t you want someone to warn you about that? I know that I most certainly would. Yikes!

Well, come to find out (and many of you are already aware of this), the Apostle Peter provides us with a very similar warning that calls for a vigilant response. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Peter is not mincing his words! We have an enemy, and we need to be aware of that.

Similarly, the Apostle Paul calls us to “put on the full armor of God, so that [we] can take [our] stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11). Paul makes it clear as well. Life is a battlefield, and we need to be geared up for it.

As believers in Jesus, we need to recognize the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in every day. Do you feel it? I know I do. And although we have a very real enemy who seeks to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), it’s important that we acknowledge the fact that we also have a strong defender, advocate, and Savior who is even greater still (1 John 4:4; Psalm 62:5-7). And since this is true, we can confidently trust in His power and protection amidst the struggle, while remaining alert and clear-headed in the battle.

In light of these realities, we must understand that, although Satan cannot stake any claim on the soul that has been paid for by Christ Himself (Col. 2:15), our enemy will do all that is in his power to deceive us (Gen. 3:4-5; 2 Cor. 11:3), distract us (1 John 2:16), and cripple our effectiveness through confusion, discouragement, and despair (2 Cor. 4:8-9). And this is why God’s Word calls us to “be alert and of sober mind”! For in doing so, we will be clear-eyed with our head in the game, more aware of the sneaky and destructive tactics our adversary ruthlessly employs against us, as well as against those in our relational world who we love so much.

I think it’s interesting that Peter uses this same phrase to encourage us in our hope and anticipation of Jesus’ return, as well as in the call to be prayerful, both of which are great motivators and means for staying engaged in the fight against our enemy:

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. (1 Peter 1:13)

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. (1 Peter 4:7)

The simple encouragement is for us to stay focused, to be sober-minded and alert, and to fix our eyes on Jesus every day with great hope and prayerfulness (Heb. 12:2). To war against the enemy of our faith means not remaining ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). It means submitting to God and resisting the devil (James 4:7).

Let’s press on in these things and keep fighting the good fight, High Desert Church!