“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Two commands in this verse warn the believer of a mortal enemy. The Christian life is like jungle combat. Every Christian is facing spiritual guerrilla warfare. Peter tells us who our enemy is–the Devil.
“Sober” literally signifies to abstain from wine. The New Testament uses “sober” metaphorically of spiritual alertness or watchfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7).
A drunken person has neither a clear mind nor any control over motor activities. When are Christians most likely to lose control? When we are spiritually out of shape.
Sober people have balance in disposition, thought, and action. They are not flighty or carried away by their notions or others’ notions. They are mentally self- controlled and understand the situations they will face in life.
The Christian should have poise and self-control in any situation they face.
Christians, be wary, Satan is at work. In spiritual warfare, he never goes on leave. He is always on the prowl.
Christians who possess poise have stability for the changing circumstances of life. This stability comes from their ability to apply truth to any situation of life (vv. 9-10). If we take the truth into our minds without using it, this is not balance or poise.
The believer should be self-possessed under all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Timothy 4:5). Athletes who seek to be at the top of their game refrain from doing things other people would take for granted. Self-control makes for discipline. As well, Christians are to be dispassionate in adversity. They control their thought processes and thus do not experience the danger of irrational thinking. Nothing perturbs their mind. They do not indulge in excess but use restraint in behavior.
Some college students face a final exam in two hours. Will they allow fear of taking the exam to neutralize their ability to remember what they studied? If they can maintain poise by applying passages that pertain to fear (2 Timothy 1:7), fear will not subvert their studies.