“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”—Titus 2:11-12
From the above scripture, we see clearly that God by his grace instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. But we want to study in particular, what the Lord means by ‘living soberly’ in the context of the opening text.
The word translated as ‘soberly’ in the opening text, is from the Greek word ‘sophronos’ meaning— sound mind. That is, ‘moderately’. So when the Lord instructs us by his grace to live soberly, he means we should live moderately or modestly.
Now, when the Lord asks us to live moderate or modest life, he knows it requires grace. So he doesn’t leave us to struggle on our own strength. Rather the word of God tells us that God has already given us the spirit of sound mind or self-discipline (see 2Timothy 1:7).
So God by his saving grace instructs us to live soberly. And in line with the instruction, he gives us the spirit of sound mind at salvation. So we don’t have any excuse not to obey this gracious instruction from our loving Father—God.
How Then Do We Live Soberly
With the above point established from the scriptures of truth, the very next thing we want to dig into is how we are to live soberly. This includes the areas or aspects of our lives that require sobriety as Christians. And they are as follows:
- Thoughts: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of Faith”—Romans 12:3We are to be sober or exercise discipline or moderation in our thoughts. Because when we don’t control our thoughts, we may be derailed into errors. Such as high-mindedness, pride, heresy, and self-delusion, etc. So we must think with moderation in the spirit as Christians.
- Words: “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise”—Proverbs 10:19
The words of our mouths per time, is another thing we have to exercise moderation or control over as believers. As believers, we are to avoid undue talkativeness. We also have to control the kind of words that proceed from our mouths in every situation, even when we are angry.A Christian should not avail himself the liberty of saying any kind of word that comes to his mind like the unbelievers. Our words can make or mar us and others. And that is why we must moderate our words carefully by the grace of God in us.
- Sexually: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour”—1Thessalonians 4:3-4Vessel in the above scripture, figuratively refers to our bodies. We are to know how to possess our bodies in sanctification and honour. We are to abstain from fornication (or adultery, for the married). And of course, doing this requires self-control or discipline by the help of the Holy Spirit.Lack of self-discipline or self-control is a major reason behind sexual perversion amongst believers. That is why we have believers who are trapped in one sexual sin or the other. Some are involved in fornication; some in adultery and others are in pornography and masturbation.Then for some married Christians, in the name of marital liberty, they indulge in all manner of sexual perversion. Such as oral sex, sleeping with their wives during their menstrual periods. And one of the major cures to these sexual perversions is self-control by the grace of God in us.
- Emotion: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls”—Proverbs 25:28We are to also be sober in our emotion. Especially anger. The word of God instructs us to be angry and sin not. That we should not allow the sun go down upon our wrath (see Ephesians 4:26).
- Adornment or Dressing: “in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10The above scripture speaks to women. But it applies to men as well. Christians are to be sober or modest in their adornment or dressing. There are dressings or adornments which are not fitting for Christians. And concerning this issue, I would want us to let the Holy Ghost guide us on how to dress modestly as believers.
- Appetite: Christians are also expected to exercise moderation and control on their appetite for food. Many believers eat and eat until they become obese. Some even develop sicknesses as a result of over-eating.Others can’t even bring their selves to fast because of lack of discipline for their appetite. So believers do need to moderate their appetite for food; instead of letting their appetite for food control and undo them.
- Material Acquisition: Another area believers need to be sober is the quest for material acquisition or possessions. Many a believer have grotesque love for material possessions.Yes, God does prosper believers financially. But the essence is not for needless and extravagant material acquisitions. There is no essence in a believer acquiring fleet of cars, when one or two would just be enough for the family. If someone has a car and wants a change, why not sell the old one, add money to it and get a new one…instead of needlessly acquiring cars everywhere. The same also goes for every other material possession. For some, they build houses with many rooms they do not have need of. For some others, they acquire clothes and shoes much more than they need. And they won’t even give out the excesses. Then for many others, including some average people, they acquire so much food than they need and eventually end up wasting most of them.God blesses us with abundant material blessings so we can be a blessing to others. If you have excess and you don’t know what to do with them, just ask God to direct you on whom and how to give.And I bet you, if you truly listen to God’s leading, there are more than enough people to reach out to. And as you do reach out to them, you’ll be more fulfilled and joyful than you would with needless material possessions.
The Lord is not against our material possessions. But he doesn’t want needless or extravagant possessions. Instead he wants us to be modest or moderate in our material possessions.
So that’s it. The Lord requires us to live soberly or moderately in everything, in this present world. And the major areas of life the Lord wants us to be sober or moderate are those in the list above.