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

 

Jesus took His followers to the very end and beyond. He takes everyone who lays aside the life of our births and takes on Him as Savior and Lord to the same places. When the Jews and the Romans conspired to end the life of that troublesome teacher, Jesus, they were actually conspirators by default with God in effecting His plan for the redemption of all of creation. That perfect sacrifice was the culmination of all of the times of man that had been proceeding forth after our ancestor’s rebellion against God in the garden. Now the next phase of humanity’s history had commenced.

 

Today we live in a world that is swirling about in ever-increasing disorder and chaos that is the result of Satan’s struggle for position and control which is compounded by the progressive break down of the fabric of creation, itself. This all ends after Christ returns and establishes God’s perfect, sinless new creation in place of all that has been and is now. Until then, we live in the reality and in the opportunity of these end days. As followers of Christ we already dwell in the kingdom of God come to earth. The air that we breathe is taken out of the atmosphere where Christ’s Spirit also dwells, and our hearts, minds, and spirits are fed from the eternal banquet of God’s Word.

 

So, there are certain attitudes and approaches to life that are highly valuable and helpful to us in living for God’s glory and serving His purposes. When our world is so wildly out of control in its anger, violence, self-seeking, and greed; we are to be controlled by the Spirit and by the truth of the word as it is revealed to us. This should lead to a seriousness of thought that recognizes the great importance that our witness to the Gospel of Christ holds. What we think, say, and do directly impacts the way that others view Christ, and our lives are a living testimony to Him. Central to that life of witness is prayer. This form of communion with God is something that overlays all of the days of a follower of Christ. It prepares us for the sort of clear-thinking and courageous action that these end days demand.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

1 Peter 4:7

 

The oldest promise that exists in the history of people is the one where God makes a commitment to us that the fatal disease of sin will be cured. This applies not only to the people who choose to accept Christ’s gracious act of saving sacrifice, but it is also true for this entire evil tainted world. However, in order for the blood of atonement to have its permanent effect on our world, all of the diseased elements must be destroyed. Thus, all things that we know that are in this world and of this world must soon come to an end.

 

This is a good thing; yet, it is a hard and a frightening prospect to consider. It is very easy to lose track of how God calls upon us to live and to wander off the course that He would have us follow. This is where seeking the sort of wisdom that leads to sound judgment comes in. The sort of deep-seated core thinking that can be relied upon in even the most challenging of times comes from the Lord. It is defined by His character. It doesn’t come naturally to us, but it is ours when we seek it through searching God’s word, by staying closely connected to His people in honest and loving relationships, and as we live in the intimacy of God’s Spirit.

 

Understanding, clear thinking, and righteous living are the result of surrendering our fears, concerns, anger, and distrust to Christ. We begin to gain the sort of level headed and sober approach to life that God desires for us to have when we lay all that gets in the way of living life in the fullest expression of Christ’s freedom on the altar of prayer as a love offering to our Savior. There is release from captivity in the prayer; there is strength to be found in the praying; and God’s eternally promised wisdom becomes clearer in a life where prayer is constant.

 

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

 

Given that Peter lived a couple thousand years ago, he may have gotten things wrong. You see, we are still here, and the world continues to be a chaotic mess. Another possibility is that Peter spoke all of this with complete accuracy and an excellent understanding of the way that God works. In Peter’s day the end of the things that were necessary in order for God’s plan for redemption of people and of His creation had come about. Jesus had come, been sacrificed, and was risen. The Holy Spirit was resident in our world and dwelling in the hearts of people of faith. The only thing that was and is left in order for God to complete His work of final restoration rests solely in the Lord’s hands. That is the fullness of time.

 

It seems that Peter is calling followers of Christ to something quite different from an escape plan that has us sitting in meditative readiness for all of the insanity of life to end in Christ’s return. That could happen, but that is not the hope that we are to focus our minds and our hearts upon. Instead, Christ-followers are to be people who look to Him continually and who surrender our desires and our wants to Christ’s cleansing truth. We are to live in a state of readiness for that day when we will be face to face with Christ. It will come for everyone, but people who know Christ are prepared for that moment of glorious reckoning.

 

The centerpiece of this preparation is prayer. This is an on-going conversation with God in which we expose the deepest aspects of our being to our Lord and listen with absolute attentiveness to all that He says to us. Engaging in deep prayer requires us to be people who set aside the various devices that our world uses to distract us from attention to God’s will. The Holy Spirit will empower us to live within His control and to relinquish the escapism that our world invites us to engage with. God intends that this Christ-focused and Spirit-energized living will grant to His people the ability to live in continual engagement with His will and in response to Christ’s call to follow Him.

 

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

1Peter 4: 7

 

Although the events of our days might suggest that this world is ready to explode into a form of chaotic and cataclysmic self-destructive furry that will culminate in the return of Christ, that is not necessarily any more true today than it was when Peter wrote these words. What is true is that everything that was essential in preparation for that time of purification and restoration of creation to the righteous glory of God’s intent has been accomplished. Jesus has come, He has died the sacrificial death of the crucifixion, and He is risen from that death to ascend to the glory of Heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come to dwell with and in God’s people.

 

God has completed all of this. Now we are living in these end times, and the nature of our times are such that the return of Christ would be highly desirable. However, that event is far beyond our control, and it is God’s intent that none of us will have even the slightest clue as to when and even to exactly how all of that will happen. Instead God wants His people to live in the here and the now with Christ on full view to our world through our words and our actions.

 

As we are in Christ and His Spirit is in us we are different from this world. We are now dwelling in the presence of God, Himself, and we also bring the essential nature of the Kingdom of Heaven into our immediate world. I think that what Peter means by being self-controlled is that we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit rather than being people who are tossed about by the fears, the anger, and the lies that permeate our world. Likewise, being sober-minded does not mean that we are serious to the point of being joyless. Instead we are to be clear headed and informed by God’s truth as we live our lives under the direct counsel of God’s word and His Spirit.

 

 

 

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded.

1 Peter 4: 7

 

Life is serious business. There are challenges, struggles, and obstacles to joy in the each of our days. This is that part of history that God has told all of His children about, for this is the part where evil starts working doubly hard at causing pain and trying to convince people that God is not in control. Satan and his followers become like those last flies of summer that are so annoying when the weather starts to turn cold. They buzz around your head, and you keep wishing that the frost would come to finish them off. Well, the finishing off of Satan is near, and he is fighting his last desperate battle.

 

In order to be prepared, to face the unknown fight that will face each of us, God wants us to be thinking clearly. He says that we will need to keep our emotions in control, not be unemotional or cold, but we need to maintain a sane perspective when life turns sideways like an out of control truck. Anger, rage, fear, frustration and all of the powerful feelings that wrong brings out work to slow our ability to react with clarity of judgment; for, they make it difficult to keep our hearts centered in Christ’s love. These feelings can motivate us to action, but they can also become tools that Satan uses to decrease our effectiveness as servants of the Lord.

 

We also need to get ourselves ready for each day. In God’s Word we are told to prepare for it with as much diligence as we would for the most important business meeting of our lives, the final exam of our educational career, or the national championship game. God wants us to face the adversity of life, to look the adversary squarely in the face and not be concerned about our preparation. There should be no spots or wrinkles on our shirt, hair perfectly in place, and our minds sharpened with God’s thoughts and our hearts strong. This condition, this level of preparedness is achieved through prayer, through study of God’s Word, and through the interaction of the Holy Spirit. It can be ours always. Christ will give us the insight, the wisdom, the strength, the focus, and the love that our daily battles demand. In order to be ready to combat these end times foes we need to direct our hearts toward Christ every day and in all situations throughout each of these days.

 

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

1 Peter 4:7

 

The oldest promise that exists in the history of people is the one where God makes a commitment to us that the fatal disease of sin will be cured. This applies not only to the people who elect to accept Christ’s gracious act of saving sacrifice, but it is also true for this entire evil tainted world. However, in order for the blood of atonement to have its permanent effect on our world, all of the diseased elements must be destroyed. Thus, all things that we know that are in this world and of this world must soon come to an end.

 

This is a good thing; yet, it is a hard and a frightening prospect to consider. It is very easy to lose track of how God calls upon us to live and to wander off the course that He would have us follow. This is where seeking the sort of wisdom that leads to sound judgment comes in. The sort of deep-seated core thinking that can be relied upon in even the most challenging of times comes from the Lord. It is defined by His character. It doesn’t come naturally to us, but it is ours when we seek it through searching God’s word, by staying closely connected to His people in honest and loving relationships, and as we live in the intimacy of God’s Spirit.

 

Understanding, clear thinking, and righteous living are the result of surrendering our fears, concerns, anger, and distrust to Christ. We begin to gain the sort of level headed, sober, approach to life that God desires for us to have when we lay all that gets in the way of living life in the fullest expression of Christ’s freedom on the altar of prayer as a love offering to our Savior. There is release from captivity in the prayer; there is strength to be found in the praying; and God’s eternally promised wisdom becomes clearer in a life where prayer is constant.