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These days everywhere we turn there is a battle. We are continuing to fight a pandemic. We are struggling to get the economy going again. 2020 is a presidential election year (enough said!). There’s an ongoing debate about how to bring kids back to school. Every day the 24 hour news cycle is filled with fights, quarrels, endless debates, and a barrage of negativity.

Plus, inside of us many struggle with a sense of loss or loneliness. Others are frustrated and fed up. More time with family has resulted in more relational struggles. Our emotions struggle to receive the peace and joy Jesus promises (John 14:27; John 15:11). We are nostalgic for “normal” that increasingly seems unlikely to return anytime soon.

Finally, all of this can add up to and cause us to battle with God and His mysterious ways.

However, God’s Word still stands, and God still speaks through it. I Peter 5:8 tells us to “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary, the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” Packed into this verse we see that life is in fact a battle, but God prescribes a battle plan that begins in the mind.

Are we winning the battle in our minds?

The key mental condition God wants us to have in a battle-raging world is that of being “sober-minded.” Paul even told Timothy as he faced his own fights to have this mental trait (2 Timothy 4:5). So what is “sober-mindedness”?

It refers to keeping a clear level head and operating with balanced thinking. The sober mind does not get distracted from what is of the utmost importance—the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:3) nor does it get detoured. In other words, in a world of extremism and with a proliferation of idiosyncrasies and endless hobby horses and quirky pet peeves, the “sober minded” maintain a fresh and yet relentless focus on, and passion for, the essence of the faith.

Consider more of Paul’s words to Timothy as he instructs him—

And in a summative statement, Paul explains his reasoning in 1 Timothy 1:4, “These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.”

Are we thinking thoughts that help our faith in God?

Every day, and in reality, every moment of every day, this is the battle we must fight and that God—by His grace—has equipped us to win. How?

1) Admire and appreciate Jesus. 

Study His life and His interactions in the Gospel stories. He was always the “master of every situation.” Now remember that God’s goal for us is to be like His Son in all the situations with which He sovereignly places us (Ephesians 5:1; I John 2:6).

2) Ask Jesus for His wisdom (James 1:5).

Before you think your natural thoughts, share your natural opinions or react your natural way, pause and pray for help. Remember, one of the gifts of the Gospel is the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

            P: Prone to wander (and wonder)

   This is a confession of my sinful tendencies and weaknesses. I need help!

            A: Ask for help

Prayer is a war-time walkie talkie to get grace, mercy & supernatural help. (Hebrews 4:16)

            U: Unite my heart (Psalm 86:11)

My heart is divided, split and fractured by so many things. Getting my heart focused on the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ is crucial.

           S: Step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

            Being in step with the Holy Spirit includes faith, obedience, and displaying the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

            E: Exhibit Jesus           

God places His followers in situations so that we can display His Son (2 Corinthians 4:10) so that Jesus can live His life through us. (Galatians 2:20)

3) Evaluate your mental intake.

The adage “Garbage in, garbage out” applies (Matthew 15:18). Perhaps you need to watch less tv or less cable news. Maybe all that social media intake, while interesting, is not helpful. Maybe you need to stop missing church or finally start that consistent time with God in His Word. Here’s a general rule of thumb: Does what I am allowing in my mind help my fight of faith, stir my joy in Jesus, and promote the peace of Christ in my heart? 

And the key phrase is “what I am allowing …” We choose what we consume. Then it consumes us. Consume Christ and give the world more of Christ! It all starts in our head.

 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13