Uniquely Sober-Minded Disciples (1 Peter 1:13-25)
Written by Michael Kelley – Director of Groups Ministry at Lifeway Christian Resources
There is a certain kind of seriousness that is uniquely Christian.
That’s not to say Christians don’t smile, tell jokes, or generally enjoy life; far from it in fact. Christians ought to be the kinds of people whose joy, laughter, and whimsy are infectious to the people around them. But the combination of those qualities is what makes the Christian mindset unique in many ways.
Both the great joy and the serious sober-mindedness of Christianity find their root in the knowledge of what has been accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter reflected on this sacrifice in 1 Peter 1:18-21:
For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
We do know these things. And because we do, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8). That means our joy, laughter, and whimsy live above the condition of the world, and that these qualities persist despite the circumstances around us. But at the same time, we recognize the seriousness of this sacrifice. We understand how great the price was that was paid for our souls, and we understand the dire need in which all of humanity finds itself. Lost in sin, without a hope in the world. So we find in the Christian the tandem of an unalterable joy, and a sober-minded disposition in which, our “minds ready for action” we are “serious” with our “hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).
What does this look like? This combination of these seemingly divergent qualities? It’s not a perfect example, but it makes me think a bit of those who know what means to live during a war time in their own nation. These are people who know the seriousness of hearing the air raid sirens and holding the ration cards. But these are the people who also know the sweet happiness of a simple meal with family and friends. They know the difficulty of hearing the news reports and know the joy of celebrating another birthday. These are those who understand that sober-mindedness and joy not only co-exist together, but in many ways, heighten each other at the same time.
Such is the case with those who know of the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. We daily embrace our need to be ready for action, and daily live in wonder, joy, and freedom because of Jesus.