The Heart of the Sober Minded

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People



“Monasteries were a failure because they neglected one very significant biblical truth: the biggest danger to every human being, even those in ministry, is located inside of him, not outside of him. There is something dark and deceitful that still lurks in the heart of every one of God’s children who has net yet been fully glorified: sin.” Paul David Tripp. “Dangerous Calling” page 108.


Those of us in ministry can still live as if we are in a monastery. Even as believers we are capable of developing forgetfulness about the waywardness of our heart. We can also become forgetful about who we are and whose we are. We are capable at any point to develop amnesia toward either direction.

What does it take for pastors and vocational Christian workers to stay sober?  I am not talking about a drinking problem. I’m talking about being fully aware of how our hearts so easily drift from one alliance to another. We are often too easily distracted or seduced. Sometimes the seduction comes in pain and failure and sometimes it comes in success.  But because of how sin has caused our compass to be off, we can become easily distracted and disoriented. Read what Peter said in his epistle.

“Your adversary the devilprowls aroundlike a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Vigilance is paramount for us. We must be careful of becoming over confident and too casual as we serve the Lord. The enemy is subtle in seducing us so Peter tells us to remain on full alert. In the three verses previous to this encouragement in 1 Peter 5, he offers three postures, or practices, if you will, that are important for us to keep in mind.


Humility is a choice that we make each moment, of each day. How will we choose to live in this time between the gardens? The important posture, of course, is humility, but it seems counterintuitive to our existence and more challenging mindset to live out. Yet, it is an important choice we make. Scripture tells us that God gives grace to the humble. James reminds us that when we humble ourselves before the Lord that He will lift us up. What is amazing about this statement is that previously James tells his readers that when we fight and quarrel we are behaving like adulterers and murderers! And yet, we’re reminded that as we walk humbly before the Lord He wants to lift us up! Pride and arrogance are offensive to God, but humility provides freedom and grace.

Casting our anxiety on Him

When we allow anxiety to control us we become slaves to the unknown and the unpredictable. This anxiety can drive us inward, desperately searching for answers and resolution. Jesus said that in this world we will always have trouble, but He also encourages us to come to Him for rest. He told the Samaritan woman that as long as we continue going to the wells that do not satisfy (control, wealth, power, security) we will continue to remain thirsty, but when we drink of the Living Water (relational dependence upon Jesus) our thirst will be satisfied. This includes a peaceful and restful journey under His sovereignty in spite of the storms and successes of life. Both can tempt us into fear and anxiety.

Be sober minded

Sober mindedness means being aware and sensible. It is being neither naïve nor foolish. It implies balance and intention. Psalm one gives us a great picture into being a sober minded follower of God.  David writes,

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits inthe seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Our pursuit of sober mindedness starts with a hunger for God’s word. Scripture contains the perspective we need. It keeps our eyes in a Christward gaze. It is this Christward gaze that keeps us walking with God, trusting and enjoying Him.

Remaining sober can be a challenge sometimes in this dangerous world, but God never calls us to do something unless He makes provision for us to carry it out. Let us remember that the enemy is interested in creating diversion in our lives, but let us not forget that God has made provision for us to walk victoriously with Him.


Join us as we explore “Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp.

To order a copy of your own of Paul Tripp’s book click on the link below.

535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles