© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved|
An Important Word For Today Is "Self-Restraint"
"Sobriety is no less than all the powers of the soul being consistently and constantly awake, duly governed by heavenly prudence, and entirely conformable to holy affections." - John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
"We deny 'worldly lusts' when we withhold our consent from them, when we refuse the delight which they suggest, and the act to which they solicit us, nay, tear them up by the roots out of our soul and mind." - Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary
"The prouder a man is, the more he thinks he deserves; and the more he thinks he deserves, the less he really does deserve." - Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
As the coming of Christ draws nigh, the Scriptures call us as believers to sobriety.
In 1 Peter 4:7, we read - "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." Notice that the Apostle Peter did not call the saints to love, faith, or greater endurance - although that message is emphasized throughout the Scriptures. He did, however, call them to be self-restrained...of a sound mind...temperate...calm...watchful...serious...thoughtful...and considerate. In doing so, he called them away from frivolity, levity, vanity, impulsiveness, and fanaticism unto a prudent and moderate use of all their possessions and a strict sobriety in the use of their worldly enjoyments.
In 1 Peter 1:13, he admonished all believers to - "...gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." And again, in 1 Peter 5:8, he exhorted them to - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
In light of the coming of the Lord, it would be necessary for all believers to have their minds in constant preparation in order to discharge their duties. Like the men in the Eastern cultures who girded up their loose robes before traveling or running, they would find it critical to gather up their thoughts and affections...keep their minds collected, disencumbered, and disengaged from the anxious cares of the world...and be free from worldly excitement - so as not to impede their duty or obedience. Most do not realize how the enemy of their souls will use the anxious cares and concerns of this world to intoxicate them or dull their spiritual senses. They would especially have to watch for this devious plot and plan.
Besides the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul also felt constrained by the Holy Spirit to call the believers to sobriety.
In 1 Timothy 2:9, he called the young women to self-control, self-restraint, and self government - "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." His was a call for sanity...sobermindedness...the avoiding of all unnecessary impulses and all undue excitements of their passions...as well as the entire command of their desires.
In Titus 2:4, he called the older women to - "...teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." Their duty was to train them to be self-restrained, discreet, and temperate - to be wise...having their desires and passions well regulated and under proper control...having their minds not intoxicated by vanity...and not being carried away with the sensationalism of pleasure.
In Titus 2:2, the Apostle called the "aged men" to "be sober" - "That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience." These men were to be vigilant...watchful over themselves, their conduct, and conversation...not given to wine...not easily surprised by their adversary...and maintaining self-government in regards to their passions, appetites, and will.
In Titus 2:6, he called the "young men" to sobriety as well - "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded." They were to be wise...prudent in all things...discreet...self-restrained...serious...having a well-governed mind...steady in their behavior...and constant in the exercise of self-government over their passions and appetites.
In Romans 12:3, he called all believers in general to "think soberly" - "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." This was a call to avoid all high-mindedness...self-conceit...exaggeration of their own abilities and merits... and all inordinate self-evaluation and pride - based on rank, talents, learning, eloquence, wealth, or external accomplishments. Instead, they were to know themselves and their place - having a just estimate of themselves...a due esteem for others...and a constant recognition of God's grace.
Lastly, in Titus 2:12, he called all the saints to -"...live soberly...in this present world." Included in this call was the "key" to sobriety for all. It was the answer "in a nutshell." It was God's clear-cut definition. And it was simply found in the admonition to - "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts."
How does a believer prepare for the coming of the Lord?
How does he stand strong against Satan - his adversary who is set on his destruction?
How do the "young women" keep a good house - a home void of evil?
In what way can the "aged men" set the example for the young?
How do the "young men" find the power to overcome temptation?
How do all believers keep a proper perspective on themselves and others?
They do it by "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts."
They refuse to practice anything contrary to the fear and love of God...deny themselves all sinful lusts and all immoderate love of riches, power, and fame...and lead a holy life. Every temper, appetite, and desire is brought under the government of the Holy Spirit.
How can you prepare for the coming of the Lord?
You can do it by "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts" and "living soberly ...in this present world."
Never forget that the important word for today is - "self-restraint" - a word that the world knows nothing about but should be exemplified by the church like never before.
How are you doing on "self-restraint"?
That will indicate just how ready you are for the Lord's coming!
Warning - It may be sooner than you think!
May God Bless His Word.