This picture of my Chairman, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, has flooded my mind ever since we closed from the All Ministers Conference last weekend.
It brings to mind an extract from my yet-to-be-launched book on spiritual maturity where I explained, with various quotes from authorities in the field, that one trait of Spiritual Maturity is that SPIRITUAL MATURITY BRINGS SOBERNESS.
“One noticeable element in mature individuals is calmness. A mature individual is surrounded by an aura of dignified comportment, quietness, and calmness. The scripture, in many instances, exhorts believers to be sober. ‘So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert) …’ (1 Pet. 1: 13, AMP).
I must throw in a word of caution here that soberness is not the same as depression. Goldman (2019) writes, “Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of life. Major life events, such as bereavement or the loss of a job, can lead to depression. However, doctors only consider feelings of grief to be part of depression if they persist.”
Depressed people lose focus and interest under difficult circumstances. They become restless and may even consider suicide as the best alternative in those difficult times. Such people need help!
Soberness, however, is related to watchfulness. Lee (1991) writes, “Soberness is related to watchfulness. To be sober is to be clear about the situation in which we are fighting. It is to have a proper understanding concerning where we are and where the enemy is. It is to see how the enemy is attacking and how we should fight back. If we are sober, we shall be clear about our direction. To be sober is to be clear about everything related to the battle. It is to be clear about where the enemy is, what the enemy is doing, and how the enemy is attacking. It is also to be clear about how to protect ourselves and how to fight back. Those who are sober are fully clear about their situation.”
Again, soberness is a direct outflow of responsibility. The heavier the responsibility, the greater the soberness that will be reflected. If anyone is in doubt, ask a man who has just lost his job and is faced with the prospect of taking care of a family without a guaranteed source of income.
A lack of soberness in an individual usually signals a lack of challenging responsibility or a reckless indifference to the consequence of neglecting one’s responsibility. Wherever one sees a Christian who does not manifest soberness in the faith, one is most probably observing a believer who does not appreciate the heavy responsibility placed upon the shoulder of every believer by heaven. It shows that notwithstanding the magnitude of the situation I am in, I think there will surely be a light at the end of the tunnel. I will not give up but will continue to press on to the end. The Lord says, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
God placed the cross on the shoulder of every believer. That is a very heavy burden. What does the cross signify? The cross symbolizes curse, suffering, shame, and death. The statement “take up his cross” implies directly that every Christian has a cross, and carrying it “daily” implies that every believer must be prepared to daily encounter suffering, shame, and even death as a follower of Christ. The instruction is, “Follow Me,” and whoever wants to follow Him must deny himself and carry his cross daily.
Maltby Says, “Jesus promised his disciples three things – that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”
Both of these conditions, (carrying the cross and denying self) are lacking in many believers in the church today, which is an indication that the majority of God’s people are still children; mature sons of God are few. By the way, when one carries the cross, where does one carry it to? A man cannot carry the cross and be going round in circles. Whoever carries the cross has only one destination – Golgotha (the Place of a Skull). Would a man have a sentence of death pronounced upon him and not be sober? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:13, “I die daily.”
The soberness of the cross is not reflected in the lives of many Christians. This may be the reason why most believers preoccupy themselves with worldly vanities and expect God to cater for such indulgence. Rather sadly, many ministries are booming and doing “good business” catering to such aberration in the household of God.
Written by Pastor Samuel Avornyo (An Extract from his book “What Sort of A Son Are You?)