The Definition Of Sober-Minded
A sober mind is one that has been saved through the grace of God, a saved mind. Reprogram your thoughts by memorizing scripture. Engage in the warfare of righteousness with the proper equipment.
Doing alright today? Well, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m back with you, and glad to be up and around and feeling great, and trusting God for His touch upon you and upon me as we fellowship together around His Word today. It has to be the miracle of God’s grace helping me say things that are worthy of eternity, helping you hear them with a heart that is open to the will of God. Let’s trust God for that mutual miracle today, shall we? Dear friend, I’m glad you’re there. You pray for me while I’m speaking to you.
In Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, we got down to this matter of “watch and be sober.” We talked about what it means to watch: prioritize your attention, actively participate in the will of God, and exclude anything that’s against the will of God. That’s what it means to be watchful. Then he says, “Be sober.” Now, at the risk of being repetitive, I’ll remind you that in some places the word “sober” is a compound meaning “saved mind.” In this place, it’s the Greek verb nepho, which means “to be calm and collected in spirit, to be temperate, dispassionate, and circumspect.” The combination is exciting. What does it mean to be sober? “Let us not sleep, as some do, but let us watch and be sober.”
Well, it means a mind that has been saved by the grace of God. What does it mean to have a saved mind? Number one, it means that you have faced once and for all the fact that you cannot control your thoughts and that your thoughts ultimately control your destiny. So, you need somebody to reprogram your mind. Your brain is like a great computer with billions of electrical contacts and mega-mega-mega-byte storage of ideas and the ability that goes beyond any of our human-manufactured computers to put those concepts together and reason about them. And so, you need somebody to reprogram your computer. That’s the first thing.
Have you done that? Have you ever faced right up to the fact that you can’t begin to think God’s thoughts unless He does something about the computer and reprograms it? This is what Paul means in 2 Corinthians 10 when he says, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” You take the thoughts that would otherwise wander and the thoughts that would be wayward and prodigal, the thoughts that would be wrong and impure. You take the thoughts that would be greedy or fierce or proud or unforgiving or hateful…different kinds of thoughts that flipped, seemingly, through your mind. You bring all those thoughts to your Savior and let Him reprogram your mind.
Now, one of the ways to program your mind is through Scripture. “Thy Word have I hid,” says the Psalmist, “in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” And so, one way to program the computer of your mind is to memorize Scripture and to meditate upon it until your mind has gotten hold of it, and then let it go. Years ago, there was a little book written; it’s out of print now, and I haven’t seen it in a long time. It was called “The Technique of Producing Ideas”. It was a little book, maybe a quarter of an inch thick was all it was. It was published, in those days, by Advertising Age. But the concept was something that I’ve latched on to and I’ve used again and again and again. The idea was that you think about a thing hard enough to make your mind weary. You take all of the facets of any given subject and write them down on different 3 x 5 cards, and you rearrange those cards (I would say “shuffle,” but some of you have been tenderly reared), and that will give you some new ideas right there, some new relationships of ideas. And then, you think about all of that as hard as ever you can. Because we’re Christians, I add the word “pray.” Think and pray over these concepts as hard as ever you can until your mind is weary with the effort, and then deliberately let go.
What that does is that it chucks all of that back into the computer, into the unconscious mind, and the unconscious mind takes over and keeps on working at it. And by and by you’ll have the glimmering of a new idea. It may hit you while you’re shaving, or driving, or whatever. You can’t tell when it may be cranked out, but there you’ll have a new idea. Now that’s the gist of that little book. Don’t ask me for it; I haven’t seen it in years. I think it’s out of print. But that was the concept that changed my own way of getting at things. How to program your mind? Get the Word of God, memorize it, think about it, meditate on it, chew over it, think and pray over the truth of it until your mind has really worked at it, and you feel a weariness in your mind from thinking about that very thing. And then, deliberately let go of it, and that will chuck it back into the computer, and the faithful Holy Spirit will bring it out just when you need it.
Oh, how precious that is; how it has happened again and again in my own life. The Word of God popping into consciousness, so to speak, just when I needed it. And so, a saved mind is one that has been reprogrammed by the faithful Holy Spirit and by the Word of God built in to your thought processes. A saved mind is one that approaches issues from the point of view of Calvary’s cross. Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” And he said concerning Christ’s sacrifice, that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him who died for them and rose again. All of my thinking and all of my deciding needs to be in the shadow of Calvary’s cross and all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me and all I owe Him as a result. A saved mind approaches issues from the point of view of Calvary. A saved mind gives God the glory.
Now, this is a very sensitive point, and one that you and I need to be aware of. How easy it is when you’ve come on to something that is thrilling, and you realize that your mind has been working properly on all eight cylinders, to say, “Here’s something I thought of.” Well, you’d better watch it and give God the glory, because you didn’t dream that up yourself. God gave it to you. Give God the glory. Don’t touch the glory. Let God be glorified in all that you say, all that you think, and all that you decide and all that you do. Watch and be sober.
Now, what did Paul say is involved in this matter? He said, “Putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” He’s using warfare terms there, so that this matter of being sober as a believer means to engage in the warfare of righteousness with proper equipment put on, says Paul in Ephesians 6:11. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Because we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Where, take on the whole armor of God.” What is that? “Having your loins girt about with truth and having the breastplate of righteousness.” Now, he’s got the breastplate of faith and love. Righteousness is the result of the commitment of faith and the obedience that comes from real love of Christ. You put those two together and you’ve got a beautiful concept. Do you follow me? Righteousness: this breastplate that protects the vital organs of your soul and spirit.
That comes according to 1 Thessalonians 5: “Through faith and love.” Faith is the absolute commitment of yourself to Jesus Christ, and love has to do with that which motivates all that you do. Paul says, “The love of Christ constraineth us. Brethren,” he said, “ye have been called unto liberty, yet use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Love makes me serve. Love makes me do what I do. So, absolute commitment to Christ makes me risk the situation on Him, and love for Christ makes me do what I do in serving others, and that adds up to righteousness. Paul says that’s a breastplate. That is your bulletproof vest, beloved. That keeps the devil from getting at you.
How simple all of this is. Somebody is saying, “Oh, Cook, you are so simplistic. Well, listen. Why make it complex when God made it simple? Faith and love. Faith is risking the situation on God: committing yourself, including your weaknesses, to God, because Jesus died for you just as you are, not as you wish you were. Commit yourself to the Savior just as you are, beloved, and let Him take control in your life. And then, according to Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who has given unto us.” As the Holy Spirit fills your life with love for God and love for people, then engage in loving service, and this, says Paul, is going to be your bulletproof vest, your breastplate. This is going to keep you from getting wounded and becoming a victim in the battle for righteousness. Beautiful truth there, isn’t it?
And then, he says, for a helmet, the hope of salvation. Ephesians 6:17: “Take the helmet of salvation.” So, here is a reference, again, to the armor. The breastplate of righteousness, your feet shod with the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and praying always (that’s the power to wield the sword.) He doesn’t fill all of that in in the 1 Thessalonians passage, but he talks about the helmet.
There’s been quite a bit of talk recently about whether or not there should be legislation to make people who ride motorcycles wear a helmet. I think not wearing one is probably a very foolish thing. I’ve talked with some neurosurgeons who say that some of the saddest cases they’ve had to deal with have been people who refused to wear a helmet when they were riding, either a motorcycle or a horse, or a bicycle, whatever it may be. But this is the helmet of salvation. What is involved here?
If you want to be completely secure from the attacks of Satan, just be sure you’re saved, and trust in Jesus. I’ll come back to that the next time we get together.
Father God, today may we have the protection You have provided against the attacks of Satan, and we thank You for it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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