Stonehaven Baptist Church meets at 11am on Sundays within the Old Courthouse building down in the old town. We share fellowship, listen to God’s word, pray, blether and scoff cake. All are welcome but those who can’t make it we hope are encouraged by this weekly missive which aims to unwrap what we learned from the sermon. This week the scripture we studied was 1 Peter 4 : 7-11
When we’re suffering, and all of us do for periods of our lives, we can be comforted in the knowledge that one day such sufferings will cease. Our tribulations may last longer than we’d hope, and often they feel unfair and unjust, but eventually they end. How though are we behaving in their midst? How are we living our lives out when we feel we’re on the brink?
Do we pack up and go home? Lash out at others, shake our fists at the world, lose our heads? It’s easy to behave irrationally and go off the rails in times of trial. Better instead to persevere, demonstrate self control and act with a sober mind (and I’m not talking purely of staying off wine or beer). Easier said than done however.
A sound mind is invaluable, offering us the ability to keep a level head and make rational decisions not wild ones. When we’re feeling irrational, temporary pleasures might appeal, that suggested promise that our mood might be lifted by something unwholesome. Often however, it’s not long before the fleeting pleasures we’d hung our hat on give way to guilt and remorse, when we come to our senses but with the damage already done. I should know, I’m a recovering alcoholic and remember only too well the doomed attempts to fix my problems via the contents of pint glass after pint glass. It might have felt good for minutes but felt dreadful for days.
To be sober minded is to have a peaceful mindset, a sense of calm, room for reasoned, rational thought. Tranquillity is the place our minds deserve to be taken to when life feels like its overrunning us. We’re rewarded when we ‘cool the beans’ or ‘stop the bus’, taking time out to simply be, to breathe, quieten ourselves, switch off the gizmos and relax our overworked minds. The results can be empowering. We reset and reboot, standing tall again, and it’s not selfish behaviour to take time out, it’s sensible. Only when we’re in a good place ourselves can we be good for others and have a positive effect on those around us. It’s important we take time to recover our minds not just our bodies, to re-energise and
reinvigorate, we then have the strength to serve others.
God loves us and he asks that we love each other, ourselves included. When we get our minds right and our attitudes likewise, we feel able to let bygones by bygones, forgive ourselves and one another, let old feuds and internal misgivings pass, step forward with clean slates and make a positive impact on the world. True love doesn’t keep a record of people’s wrongs, it doesn’t harbour simmering resentments but instead implores us to give people another chance, to forgive and move on. Perhaps that’s where our hearts should start, loving ourselves and loving others to put us in perfect shape to fulfil the callings on our lives. God gave all of us gifts and we’re expected to use them. When we step out feeling this newness
of life after a mind reset and reboot, having a sober mind and clear outlook, we can use these God given gifts to serve others whether that be cooking, speaking, encouraging, whatever it might be.
God’s gifts to us are limitless. Take a moment to give your mind peace and open it up to acknowledge and embrace the gifts God gave you. You’re so much more than you thought you were and have so much to live for.