“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
// 2 Timothy 4:5
One thing we all know is that the most successful athletes train with an end goal in mind. We see this modeled in the Olympic athlete that endures years of strenuous training in order to experience the glorious feeling of receiving a gold medal. Countless hours of sprints and weight-lifting are what enable them to excel. Success – being crowned victorious – is the result of their daily decisions to stay committed to their goals.
Like athletes, believers are called to live with an end goal in mind, and in scripture our faith journey is often likened to a race. The apostle Paul realized this when he wrote, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” [Philippians 3:14]. This is why he exhorts his beloved son in the faith, Timothy, to “always be sober-minded.” A sober mind gives us the focus we need to stay committed to the calling that God has placed on our life. To live sober-minded is to exercise self-control. When we exercise self-control we cleanse our minds; we eliminate everything that distracts us from obeying what God has asked of us and shift our focus heavenward. Self-control brings vision into our lives and gives us an eternal perspective; it’s the daily choice to elevate the eternal over the temporal. It enables us to “run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts” and “instead pursue righteous living” [2 Timothy 2:22].
Pursuing righteous living is making the decision to focus on those things that will move us toward Christ rather than away from Him. We are no longer tempted by the temporary satisfactions of this world because we know they steer us away from the purposes God has for us. Serving, praying, and reading the Word become a delight when we realize that these mold us into the person fit to fulfill our calling. So let’s sober up and allow God to bring eternal perspective into our lives – that we would see His Kingdom rule and reign in New York City as it is in Heaven.
// Filmore Bouldes