August 12, 2008 Matthew

Sober-mindedness

Be  sober-minded and focused if you want God to show up.

…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:4

The key-note of your conversation should not be nastiness or silliness or flippancy, but a sense of all that we owe to God.

Ephesians 5:4 Phillips

It is easy to kill the presence of the Spirit with flippant joking or foolish talking. (Ephesians 4:29-30) Believers who gather or assemble together ought to put away pointless and distracting thoughts or worries if they will experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who works through sensitive consciences and quiet spirits.

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

While there is place and time for laughing and joking, there is place and time for sobriety. Wisdom will teach us when that time is and where that place is. Church should have some sort of “place” for seriousness, or “fear and trembling” (Psalm 2:11, Phil. 2:12), although laughing can certainly have its place in church as well. But we must have wisdom about what we’re doing and why, which is the purpose of these scriptures.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time to mourn, and a time to dance…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak… Ecclesiastes 3:1

The gathering is a time to focus on our identity as Christians eagerly awaiting the coming of our Kingdom in its fullness. We are “Christian” at any given time of the day in any kind of gathering, but we are not always focused in that collective conscience. That is the point of gathering in his name. We gather not simply as friends, or as families, or as people with common interests or goals, but as children of God, as a royal priesthood, as a holy and spiritual nation, as citizens of the kingdom of heaven (1 Peter 2:9). It is then that our prayers reach the throne of God and Christ shows up! If we are awake we understand that we live in a state of fallenness and groaning out of which we fight for joy and have hope. If we are asleep we feel as though life is a state of joy and happiness out of which we must fight against suffering and discomfort. But,

…we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7

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