The word for sober means to “remain calm and collected in spirit” and ultimately means not to be given over to emotions. I mentioned during our last RENEWAL gathering that we must be very careful to whom we listen during these days of uncertainty. Most voices are attempting to push an agenda, much of the time at the expense of the basic facts or truth. Inciting us to fear, despair or anger is often the end goal of their narrative. Getting a person to respond emotionally makes it easier to manipulate them. This is actually evidence that darkness is involved. The Heavenly Father wants us to take in the information at our disposal, discern it through His wisdom, and make choices based upon the truth He reveals to us by His Spirit.
The word for vigilant means "to be actively watchful, giving strict attention” and ultimately means we need to live a life of spiritual awareness. The word Paul uses here comes from a root word that means to be aroused from sleep and cause a person to rise up and stand because of alertness. Paul writes elsewhere …
"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”
There is an old saying that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Let me add “complacent minds are the devil’s joyride.” It is very easy to sway a mind that is not actively watchful and proactively attentive. As the cultural meme says … “Don’t be that guy (gal).” God warns against a mind in neutral or auto-pilot. It will either roll or take you someplace you do not want to go.
Paul makes another salient point. Jesus/Yeshua will be returning for His people, and also to set up His earthly Kingdom. People like to argue about timing, but that can be an unfortunate distraction. While I personally believe His coming is soon (I have done several RENEWALs about it in the last six months), my primary perspective is this; if Paul believed it was time to wake up spiritually during his lifetime, how much more now than even then? And Peter was quite adamant about it as well. The Holy Spirit was moving upon both of them to write such admonitions to us all.
The world we live in is changing very rapidly right now. You would have to be a rather blind ostrich sticking its head into a sand dune of denial not to see the changes. While I know that there will be many who will 'poo-poo' these changes as having anything to do with biblical prophecy, that is actually not a very spiritually discerning perspective.
We all need to seek spiritual discernment and wisdom from God right now. That is our first step to becoming sober and vigilant. We need God to help remove the spell of spiritual drowsiness we have come under during this age of economic prosperity and its accumulation of things. We may even need to repent for allowing the pursuit of those things to diminish our spiritual sight and desire for His Kingdom to be established. If our hearts are given to obtaining the things of this world (what is important to this world), there is most likely diminishment in passion for the things of God’s Kingdom.
Now, I am not saying we won’t experience some recovery in the months ahead. I tend to believe that we will. But remember these global convulsions are birth pangs. The world is in labor, groaning to be redeemed by God, through the full redemption of His Sons and Daughters. You and I are not of this world and its system. If you have trusted in Jesus/Yeshua as your Savior and Lord, you belong to something higher and eternal … the Kingdom of God. While we still live within this world-system, we are encouraged not to let its trinkets and its ways conform our soul toward its entrapment. To do so leads only to entanglement and a loss of spiritual empowerment.
Jesus gives us a very simple truth about how things work in God’s Kingdom.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
If we really do believe and trust Him, we will live according to this truth. If we live according to this truth, what will be most important to us will be learning His ways and living close to His heart. That is how we will come to understand how His Kingdom operates. As a result, we will not need to strive for this world’s stuff. Our needs will be taken care of, as a natural outflow of walking under the direction of His Spirit.
There are two options for living, when living on this planet called earth; the world system and God’s Kingdom. Our choices will reveal how sober and vigilant we desire to be. Let us not forget that there are eternal consequences for these choices. Great gain or great loss will be experienced as a result. It can be difficult to shake the spiritual cobwebs we have accumulated, as we have just gone with the flow for so long, and embraced a certain convenient denial about things. Yet, just as we put our feet on the floor in the morning (when we would rather keep sleeping), we must realize that there is something valuable to gain by pressing forward into the LIFE God has purchased for us. You may need a cup of spiritual coffee to first get you going. That's just fine. The Holy Spirit is available and ready to empower us all, if we will just ask.
Be assured of this … the spiritual alarm clock is going off. It’s a good idea not to hit the snooze button. The day awaits, as does LIFE in the Kingdom of God.