GEM-R-11 - Sober-Minded - Choosing Restrained Living in an Unrestrained Culture

Today, God asks for every man in Christ’s Church to make daily choices to regain and maintain a sober-minded restrained life, surrendered to God’s gracious sanctifying power. Open in your Bibles with me to Titus 2:6:

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded (NKJV)

The Greek word God inspires Paul to write is a verb sophroneo translated in the New Testament as “sober-minded” (NKJV/KJV); “self-controlled” (NIV/ESV); and “sensible” (NAS)”. The meaning of this word is vital to our spiritual lives. This single word is what we may call the universal quality we all need to embrace, a life-long task of:

Restrained Living in an
Un-Restrained World

We live out each day surrounded by doomed people who are not even aware of the judgment for their sin they will eternally face. To reach out and touch other’s lives with God's power, He says we must seek His restraint in our lives.

In the space of just six verses here in Titus 2, Paul declares this habit of restraint is what God desires as part of the life of godly older women (2:4 NKJV “admonish”), godly younger women (2:5 “discreet”), godly older men (2:2 “temperate”), godly younger men (2:6 “sober-minded”), Biblical elders (1:8 “sober-minded”), and—to every Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believer (Titus 2:12“soberly”; c.f. Romans 12:3 “think soberly”).

This restrained and healthy mind is the only universal character quality of the 24 qualities we find listed in Titus 2:2-12.

So as you look at Titus 2:6 remember:

• Godly restrained living is the only spiritual choice God asked to be personally taught as what EVERYONE in Christ's Church should have.

• This is the first life-style choice for every younger man who wants to please God.

• This word sums up the goal of ministry by every older woman of grace who wants to please God.

• This is the only character choice shared by every man and woman in Christ's church.

The Greeks derived this word from two words, which mean literally sozo (“healthy or sound”) and phren (“mind”). God wants all of His children to have healthy minds. Mental health is vital to our spiritual lives. All of our communication with God is spiritual (through our mind and spirit) and not physical.

So the communications pathway, the spiritual supply line and everything that has to do with God flows through our regenerated minds. This word sober-minded, or self-controlled, or sensible (however your Bible renders sophroneo), means: to keep one’s mind safe and sound.

This focused and restrained living was the single character choice God wanted in every level of His Church. This is the only common denominator that describes what God expects from everyone, and that He personally promises:

His Grace
To Empower

Look down at the end of this great passage in Titus 2:12, and notice that for the fifth time in this short passage, this word is repeated again down there:

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly [4995 sophron] , righteously, and godly in the present age” (NKJV)

A sober-minded man of restraint is a man with a mind surrendered to God’s control.

God is looking for godly, mature men who will make it a life-long goal to resist the temptation of self-absorption in all the activities of life and instead begin to seek what God desires for their lives.

People of Paul’s day were immersed in a self-seeking, lust-feeding culture.

When they came to Christ they had to go on living in that world. To make it through life without getting neutralized, defeated, and sidelined, Paul starts with the key to godly living, which is:

Avoiding what
Displeases God

In the world that the New Testament was written, saints learned that they had to avoid the overpowering culture of amusements. Most Roman citizens were drawn into the gaming world of spectacles in the arenas.

A non-stop calendar of events began in the capital city of Rome and soon went to the furthest flung provinces, of ever increasingly exciting spectacles: live gladiatorial fights to the death; and men vs. ravenous beasts; and beasts vs. beasts fighting to the death; duels, bloody deaths, shocking sights, and intense visual stimulation. The roar of the crowds became intoxicating and no one wanted to miss the events that often ran all day long for days at a time.

That is why Paul the Apostle wrote to a Colosse, city out in the middle of the most Roman province of all. In Asia Minor where the city of Colosse was located there were more Roman cities than in Italy, and more Greek temples than in Greece: there in the days of the Colosseum a letter was written to Colosse. Paul had a very simple command in chapter 3: choose where you will park your mind, and you choose your destiny.