Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sobriety Test

This week in our Community Group at church, we were talking about the place of disciplines in the life of believers. We were reading in Titus -- it's a little-bitty book in the New Testament, on pages 998 and 999 -- where Paul is laying out for Titus the qualifications of those who are selected to be leaders in the church. In chapter one, verse eight and in chapter two, verses six and twelve, he uses a word that's translated in my Bible "self-controlled." The old King James version, translates that Greek word, "sober-minded."

Here's the cool thing about that word: the "sober" part comes from a Greek word that has a deep and rich meaning, part of which is to resist what your impulse would have you do. Now I just think this is an amazing concept. That to be really disciplined (remember these are qualifications for church leaders), you are the kind of person who has trained your body and your will to keep from doing what your impulse would lead you to do, and the really interesting thing is, it doesn't necessarily mean that your impulse is sinful! It's really not about the impulse at all. The point is that you resist. So, if your impulse is to cuss, you don't cuss. If your impulse is to have a beer when you come home from work, you don't have a beer when you come home from work. If your impulse is to buy something, you don't buy it. I mean, this is uber-discipline, and it's easy to see why Paul would want people like this in charge of the church.

If I can beat my body and will into submission to the point that I can resist doing what my natural inclination would be, even if that inclination isn't toward anything sinful, imagine how my fighting sin in the Christian life would change! What a thought. What a concept. I want to be sober-minded.

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