6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (Titus 2:6–8, NKJV)
Christians, young and old, are to be sober in our thinking, controlling our impulses, refusing to be doctrinally careless and morally shameful in our conduct. Alcohol comes to mind as that which hinders being sober-minded and temperate. Although drinking alcohol is quite common in the world (and condoned by an increasing number of Christians), it renders one intemperate and irreverent rather than a godly pattern of good works, moderation, and soundness. The Bible says wine a “mocker” and strong drink is turbulent, and to err thereby is not wise (i.e., foolish, Prov. 20:1). To take the first drink begins to decrease soberness, and left to run its course produces drunkenness (a work of the flesh, Gal. 5:21). How can the first drink of alcohol (which starts the process of intoxication) be wise, when it leads to such foolishness? Without the first drink, one does not get drunk (1 Pet. 4:3). We cannot conclude from Scripture that social drinking is sober-minded conduct – a “pattern of good works” that shows integrity, reverence, and incorruptibility (v. 7). Refuse the mind-altering effects of alcohol by refusing the first drink. In this way, you answer God’s call to be sober-minded and an example of good works in all things.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:37–41, NKJV)
Christians can yield to the temptation to throw out sober-minded faithfulness at moments of uncertainty, difficulty and disagreement. Fear and doubt can motivate unwholesome and ungodly words and actions. We must exercise self-control in all things (1 Corinthians 9:25; Titus 2:1-8). The abiding presence of the Savior is a calming influence over the fear of uncertainty and the passion of over-heated emotions. Jesus is watching, and this should temper unwise and sinful words and deeds. The promises we have in Jesus soothe our souls, invigorate our hope and help us patiently endure moments of trial (Hebrews 6:13-20). Christ’s power overcomes the storms of life with peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). The assurance of peace we have in Christ frames and fashions faithful conduct in the midst of doubt.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9, NKJV)
Peter has just assured us that the Lord constantly cares for us as we cast our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). While doing so we must be sober-minded and watchful. The devil is stalking us. Every temptation to sin must be met with the stiff and steady resistance of faith. The devil continues to look for the weak lamb and the straying sheep. We must constantly be on guard lest he slip up on us and overtake us. It helps us to know that our brethren in other places face the same kinds of threats we face. Resistance is not futile; Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 Jno. 5:4).