Thursday, January 2, 2020

Choosing to be Sober-Minded

2020 Word: Sober-Minded 

I wasn't sure I would choose a word this year, I haven't in a while. But the words Sober-Minded kept appearing in my mind so I did a little digging in the Bible and I stopped at 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

The opposite of sober is drunk. And one doesn't have to be drunk on alcohol in order to be "drunk."

It's anything we use to dull the senses that would knock us off our guard and cause us to be in "sleepiness."

In seasons of extreme stress and suffering it's easy to take comfort in too much food, alcohol, social media, or tv. It seems easier to dull the pain with the world's quick fixes than to turn to God and His Word.

But a quick fix is a band-aid.

Believe me, I know. Vegging out on the couch with a glass of wine and season after season of The Crown is something I'm quite familiar with.

All the stressors hit me and the last thing I want to do is read my Bible. And yet it is the only thing that will lift my soul out of the pit and set it back on level ground. And that's not some holy-line I'm feeding you, it's the truth I've learned from the pit myself.

The enemy -the devil -uses those moments when we are feeling weak and looking for relief from our pain to pounce straight on us. The battle always begins in our minds, his weapons are doubt, fear, accusations, shame, old memories, wounds...the onslaught is relentless and we look to dull the pain. To just not feel anything for a little while.

But it doesn't help. Because the next day we still have the same problems only we've now added more to them. The consequences of living our own way will stare us dead in the face the next morning.

The Bible assures us we are not enduring anything that people before us haven't endured. The enemy has no new tricks because the old ones are still working so well.

This year I'm challenging myself to stay sober-minded and alert. I know my weaknesses and I want the Lord to grow me through them. I don't want to be picked off and I don't want to fall like a house of cards.

We have a real enemy who seeks to devour and destroy us but we also have power from the Holy Spirit to overcome and live in freedom.

God is the only way through hard seasons. I've learned this and relearned this and will probably continue to do so because I have a short memory.

However, I'm tired of quick fixes. I want to do the hard work of healing and persevering under pressure. 

I've begun asking myself when faced with a decision, Is this the easy way or the hard way? If the answer is the easy way, then I push it aside and prepare myself to dig deep for the hard way.

The deep is where God is found and where He does His best work.

May I pray for us?

Prayer for the New Year,

Dear Father,

I give this new year to you. I surrender and lay down at the cross all my fears, failings, shame, and shortcomings. I can't do this without you, I know. I ask for more of your peace and a fresh intaking of your Spirit to renew my heart and mind. When I'm tempted to turn to other things to satisfy my aching soul may my spirit rise up and remember Your goodness and unfailing love and promises never fail.  Nothing can satisfy me like You. Nothing. Forgive me for trying to fill the voids in my life with cheap imitations. Thank you, Father, for your unending mercy, grace, and love.

In Jesus' Name,

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