One of the definitions of sobriety is “the quality of refraining from excess.” Most of us automatically relate sobriety to alcoholism or the recovery from the addiction. Sobriety is more than recovery from alcoholism, it applies to many things. Consciously denying the compulsions of life is not easy for any of us. Refraining from excess is definitely not a cakewalk, especially when we live in a capitalistic society where excess is often considered a goal.
I’m not about to make libelous statements about capitalism or something of that nature. That being said, I don’t believe it’s a secret in our society that many people want as much money as they can get (in excess), as many things as they can get (in excess) and as much notoriety as they can get (also in excess). I recently heard Joyce Meyer say, “I would challenge you to only ask the Lord for as much as you can handle.” When you delve into her statement, this is somewhat counterintuitive of what we often think of as a reason for prayer. Frequently, we think of having an overabundance and our “cup running over.” It’s important to remember, these are the blessings the Lord pours out in excess which He KNOWS we can handle. We ask for many things (in prayer) which we have NO IDEA whether or not we have the capacity to handle.
Again, ask for as much as you can handle, not more than you need. The temptation is to take everything in excess. Sobriety of the mind is having the wisdom to take only what you need. Exodus 16:4-27 talks about the Lord delivering manna to the Israelites on a daily basis. The Israelites were instructed to take as much as they needed for the day. Naturally, they did not fight temptation and some took more to last until morning. They were being tested. The manna they kept began to smell and was invaded by parasites. I’m quite sure if you asked them at the time, those Israelites would tell you they were sober of mind, but they were not. They did not follow instructions and they allowed temptation instead of the wisdom of refraining from excess and their faith to lead them.
Ladies, it doesn’t matter what the “thing” is. We need to take all things in moderation. It may be something such as prescription drugs, sex, food, shopping, dating, watching TV, internet usage, etc.; there is room to be tempted into excess with all of these things. Conversely, there is a place in our lives where none of these things would necessarily be a bad thing if kept in their proper perspective and in moderation.
You have to make a choice to deny excessive things. You also have to make a choice not to allow someone else to pressure you into these temptations. We’re going to all be tempted…even Christ Himself was tempted. The question is not what someone else has done when they were tempted…the question is, what are YOU going to do?!?
The title of this article is “Sobriety is…Fleeing Temptation.” Live in sobriety in everything you consume, not just what you drink. I know what it’s like to consider fleeing temptation, especially when it seems “everyone else is doing it.” These are the types of decisions that we have to make where the choices aren’t easy. This is an opportunity to put your faith on display. You have to that believe when you make the difficult, yet correct decision, your faith is the guiding force to help you take the first step away from that temptation.
There is wisdom in the quality of refraining from excess. Proverbs 9:10-11 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom, your days will be many and years will be added to your life.” The faith you put on display to lead you as you were fleeing temptation, that’s the same faith which is a part of the beginning of wisdom and will be with you through the years added to your life. Step out on faith, step into wisdom, and live in sobriety.