Always be Sober
In a Leviathan-dominated spiritual condition, controlling the focus of your thinking is vital to maintaining your leadership and representation of heaven.
“Always be sober, Timothy,” Paul says.
Some people say, “Focus on the positive.” That can also be a dead end of avoidance where responsibility requires us to be problem-solvers. Of course, problem-solving should be a focus on the positive process because we remain focused upon the purpose or goal; but many people interpret focus on the positive as ignoring what is negative. That is, to properly focus on the positive, we have to deal with negatives.
Some people say, “Focus the mind for peace.” This may be a cop-out on responsibility as well because it often leads people to assume peace is the goal. It is not a goal. Peace is a fruit of the goal. I have known people who rebelled against God and assumed the peace they experienced from avoiding the wrestling match they were in with Him. Peace that comes from avoiding obedience and submission isn’t the goal.
The Bible says, “Focus upon what matters to God.”
“Always be sober,” speaks to a focused mind that responds to revelation. It is a word Paul and Peter use in Scripture to charge us all to maintain control of the focus of our mind.
“Focus on what matters” is important thinking as long as we have a revelation of what matters from God, not ourselves or others. We will experience a continuous effort upon the part of hell to move us off of “what matters” according to God.
Recognize that you are in a strong wind of distraction at the present time, that Leviathan has used this opportunity to establish a systematic delusion in the minds of millions, and that you are charged by God to maintain controlled focus upon what matters to God.
The word group from which the term, néphó, comes is used only in the figurative sense in the New Testament. While the root word means “not under the influence of intoxication,” the figurative sense suggests a state of focused control in the mind, the mind that is so submitted to God and God’s purposes that it remains undistracted by influences that deter. The influences that deter would be characterized by the influence of strong drink.
The word is used five times by Paul and Peter.
A focused mind answers to an acknowledged revelation and in discharge of ministry, worship, hope, love, and warfare that results from that revelation. This is a spiritual condition established by the spirit.
Alert to Revelation
1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. [ESV]
Comparisons between being awake and being asleep with the added mention of being influenced by a clear mind, are Paul’s charge to believers. But the sense of sober here isn’t that we don’t have a beer during the daytime but that we meet the day with full focus upon purpose.
Intoxication measures the influence upon the mind of something foreign. It operates opposition that which stimulates the mind to bring greater focused control to thinking. The Bible commands us to develop and maintain focused control, to have the revelation of God in focused control upon our thinking.
The sense of the phrase, “while it is day” is “what matters to God in Father’s times and seasons.” Daytime speaks to the time when we are most aware of what He is doing so we can do it with Him. How do we know what He is doing? He reveals what He is doing so we can represent Him in the earth, bringing an authentic heaven and earth collaboration through Holy Spirit.
The challenge comes for us to maintain focus.
Jesus maintained focus in Gethsemane and said to His inner circle of leaders: “The flesh is limited but the spirit is willing. Watch and pray.” He was pointing out their inability to maintain focus, to experience the same passion of the Father that motivates Jesus. They were not experiencing a body limitation but a mind limitation. They simply were not aware of what He was aware of.
In the day means that we have our eyes wide open to what God is doing and we are fully focused upon what matters to God.
He ignores many things. Jesus clarifies that His focus is always, constantly and consistently upon what Father wants, to do the will of the Father in heaven, on earth. Jesus is producing what Father wants in the earth through His kingdom people; the variable to that success is His representatives. The variable to their success is their focus.
Alert to Ministry
2 Timothy 4:5
As for you, always be sober, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, bearing the work of your ministry to the fullest extent.
The on-task, on-purpose lifestyle that wakes and sleeps what you are, that empties your mind with other distractions and targets all things toward calling and destiny.
Afflictions can be strong distractions. Suffering can turn us inward at the very time we should be outward. Recognize the connection between being an announcer of good news while enduring suffering. This is not a random listing but a direct tie-in of competing mental conditions: Can you announce good news while you are experiencing bad news?
Paul says, “You never have an excuse with Jesus to do less than full steam ahead in serving. You don’t get a day off from being a believer. You don’t get a day off from taking things right in the gut and continuing to do what matters to God.
That takes focused thinking! The distraction of horror should not shut you down! The distraction of suffering should not shut you down. The distraction of sickness should not shut you down. Not that you shouldn’t take care of your body or that you shouldn’t have rest or time from the formal, scheduled setting of ministry. No! You should. However, you understand in all that the distraction must be continually confronted and contended with.
You won’t get a reprieve from God for your assignment because you have it tough. Grow up. Man up. Stand up. There must be an inward strength of will greater than the effort of hell to limit you from fulfilling your ministry.
Do you really think Jesus is sympathetic to the claims you use to justify comfort over serving, your way over submission, your pride saying, “I can’t serve in that situation until things are put in order; I deserve a better circumstance to show off my anointing?”
I have seen ministry pride so severe that the leader refuses to fulfill ministry unless the setting makes them appear more than they really are. If you can’t serve twenty people like you serve 20,000 people, you have failed miserably in your understanding of the ministry of Jesus.
The most powerful messages of Jesus on new birth and spiritual worship were given to one person in a very obscure place, time, and way.
I understand that some ministry needs the proper order! Believe me when I say that ministry must set the agenda of ministry, not people or demons, so order is vital. My point is that some people have a pride level that says, “I’m just too anointed to be involved in something like that.” That is a great limiter that hell will use to shut you down in the very places where you need to serve.
You have probably lost your sober mind by distraction because you no longer focus upon what matters to God as much as you focus upon what matters to you.
Observe the person set upon becoming a famous minister who can’t lay down a sacrifice bunt to move another runner to second base. They are ready only for hitting home runs, winning games in dramatic fashion, and being a prima donna of kingdom performance. That is a mind so distracted that it has accepted a substitute for what matters to God.
Alert to Hope
1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The mind that targets hope requires intentionality. You have to work at it. You have to reject some thinking in order to embrace some other thinking. You cannot allow thinking from yourself or hell or the world to conflict and contend with God’s thinking if you wish to remain in hope.
You hope in grace. That means you do not attempt to develop hope from any other source except your spirit. “Set your hope” speaks of intentionality. To “set your hope fully” is level of trust that comes only by surrendering to grace flow. The verse speaks of a level of grace that ultimate, so we speak of reaching for the ultimates while experiencing limitations. This is not unusual Scriptural perspective.
“Hope that makes us not ashamed” remains hope in something we have not yet experienced but know is available in God. The thinking of ultimates lifts our hopes from what we can experience from this world and ourselves to a source of grace that is eternal and infinite. The thinking of “set your hope fully” is the level of the miraculous!
This leads us to discussion of “the ultimates.”
Alert to Prayer
1 Peter 4:5
The ultimates are at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober for the sake of your prayers.
Peter creates urgency for how we focus mentally in order to prayer properly. Prayer should be intentional as well. The strategy of prayer must always turn upon what matters to God more than what matters to us. Without sober minds we hope for much less than what matters to God. We hope we can just get through the month when God is working on something eternal!
We invest in prayer for fifteen dollars when God is working on a wealth transfer of trillions. We invest in survival when God is investing is overwhelming victory over chronic conditions.
In maturing prayer, we require a sober mind. Mature prayer seeks what matters to God. Mature prayer arises from people submitted to purpose so that when they pray they are focused upon God’s purposes even while they are experiencing suffering, limitations, and persecution. They are praying for millions of dollars while considering how to eat lunch with what they now possess. They are praying for cancer victims to be healed while struggling with debilitating pain in their knees. They are praying for a harvest of souls while their own children waiver.
Focused prayer is never about myself.
Can you mature to the point at which you are much more focused upon God and others than yourself and your own experience? Can you be as involved with what other prophets say as you are with what you see and hear? Can you be as passionate for preaching that you are not preaching? Can you can as thrilled for others to release anointing as when you are in the flow of release?
That is sober minded maturity.
Alert to War
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, on alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to drink down, or swallow, and devour.
Anticipating attack isn’t unhealthy. We aren’t so enamored with hell that we see demons in every word people say to excess or obsession; we aren’t secluded to avoid confrontations with the prowling adversary.
We live in a litigious environment. The enemy operates as one bringing charges against us at every turn. He is at work with evidence gained through our vulnerabilities to establish a case against our purposes. He wishes to devour us so that we become nothing more than fuel for his fire, breakfast for his gut, a bit of drink for his thirst for destruction.
Be awake, alive, and alert to this constant and consistent effort to strike a death blow.
Peter essentially says, “Do not allow the enemy to sneak up on you. Do not allow yourself to deviate from the lifestyle that a champion lives. Do not skip the steps you establish as habits to secure your life. Remain in the understanding that a lion hides around the corner, hiding in the foliage across the street camouflaged by the world around him.”