1 Peterby David Burge
In many places, pilots are not permitted to fly a plane if they have consumed alcohol in the last 8 or 12 hours. Ideally, there should be no alcohol in the pilot's system at all while responsible for so many lives.
Peter considers a sober mind to be so important that he promotes it repeatedly (see 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7). He even closes his letter by saying it one last time: ″Be alert and of sober mind″ (5:8).
An alert and sober mind does not seem to be sought after as much as it should be in Christian circles. I am not saying that Christians should abstain from all alcohol, although some choose to do that. Peter is urging Christians to have their minds and vision sharpened by Scripture. Such Christians are wonderfully helpful servants in our churches.
Some might equate being a sober-minded Christian to being a person who has gone to church for many years. But that would be a false equation. Sober-minded Christians are alert to dangers such as pride, temptation, sexual sin, church factions, false teaching, and greed. They understand the church's deep need for the grace of Christ as known in the gospel. They don't get carried away by the latest teachings or newest strategies if these seem opposed to the ways of Jesus. They love the Lord Jesus, His people, and the lost, and they have a way of keeping ″the main thing″ the main thing.
An alert and sober driver will more likely notice dangers ahead, such as a drunk driver or a child running across the road. But the importance of Peter's message is far greater than a road safety message. Peter says there are real spiritual forces at play.
The devil, the ancient tempter and deceiver, would like to see us fall. He is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for easy prey (v. 8). We aren't to be afraid of the devil, whose power is limited by God, but we are to deliberately resist him by holding fast to Jesus, even if the spiritual and social forces against us bring terrible suffering (v. 9). We pursue holiness as God's children, and, unlike Adam and Eve, trust God enough to resist the devil's temptations and distractions.
Peter concludes with a wonderfully rich description of ″the God of all grace″ and His plans for these churches under fire. It summarises the thrust of 1 Peter as a whole: ″And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen″ (vv. 10-11).
Read 1 Peter 5:10-11 a few times, slowly. What do these verses do in your heart and mind as you read them?
How can these verses help you to be clear-minded today and into the future?