(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
So, let me read 1 Peter 1:13 again, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” What does it mean to be sober-minded? Well, I could ask you, “Are you serious?” I mean, if I watched the video of your last six weeks, would I say this is a person who takes life seriously; is that what it means to be sober minded?
Let me talk about what sober-mindedness is not. It's not the lack of ability to have fun, to laugh, an absence of sense-of-humor. Sober-mindedness is not taking yourself too seriously. We all have done that and have been around people who do that. Sober-mindedness is not being legalistic and judgmental. Sober-mindedness is not reaching the state of “theological-always-rightism,” where you sort of hold your theology proudly. Sober-mindedness is not being one of those scary unapproachable Christians that you would never think of being open with.
Sober-mindedness, according to Peter, means living with a single-minded focus. What is that focus? “Being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” It means this; sober-mindedness is living with eternity in view.
When you live with eternity in view, here's what you find yourself doing. You begin to eavesdrop on eternity, and you begin to listen to the voices that are on the other side, and you begin to hear what they celebrate.
They don't celebrate great jobs. They don't celebrate big houses. They don't celebrate personal power, a nice wardrobe, that they were physically attractive. You listen to the saints on the other side, they celebrate one thing. You did it! You did it! You did it! You fulfilled every one of your promises; You redeemed us!
Now hear this, I need that values clarification today because what happens is things that are not important rise in levels of importance. And they begin to claim my heart and claim my behavior, they claim my emotions, and my life gets diverted. I need the values clarification of eternity to continue to remind me what is truly important.
But it's not just values clarification, it's hope and motivation. Because think about this; the glory of living with future grace in view is that future grace is at once a promise of present grace. Because if God is telling me that I have a place in eternity, then what He's telling me is I also have every grace I need in order to finally get there. Future grace is a promise of present grace.
And so, when I live with eternity in view, even though I won't understand what God is doing, and even though I'll face hardship, I know that I have hope. And that hope gets me up in the morning and enables me to do the hard things that God calls me to do; it enables me to prepare.
You say, “Paul, I don't understand.” Think about this. A father comes to his children, and he says, “We're going to Disney World.” He takes them to the computer; he shows them all those entertainment glories of Disney World. And the kids live that year, they keep asking, “How many days till we go to Disney World, is it almost ready?”
But there’s something else that happens. They come to him, and they say, “Dad, can we buy this, can we go out to eat, can I get a new skateboard?” What does Dad say? “No, no, we can’t do that because we’re saving money because we are going to Disney World!” And they say, “Oh yeah, that’s right!” And they are able to deal with those hardships, and they are able to be motivated to keep going because they are focusing on the glory that is to come. That’s what sober-minded is.
Sober-minded means you are focusing on the grace that will be revealed in Jesus Christ; you’re living with eternity in view. And because of that, your values are clarified, and you live with motivation and hope.