Seeing my mother, a person who has always been a vibrant force raising eight children along with her husband, being lifted into an ambulance, then racing behind the ambulance to get to the hospital did not allow me to be sober-minded. Standing outside of a room at the hospital, not knowing if my wife was dead or alive, did not cause me to be sober-minded. These are circumstances that we may experience which may not leave us sober-minded even though we are told “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) Even though I believed verses like these at the time, my heart was anxious and fearful, but I must admit that I was still hopeful.
Being sober-minded means not allowing our emotions amid difficult circumstances to cause us to stop praying or trusting in the Word of God. For this reason, David would say in Psalm 119:66-68, “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments. Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word. You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes.” No matter what we experience, we must always remain teachable. When we stay teachable (a heart open to learning and applying God’s Word), trials become learning experiences that grow us to become more and more dependent on the inner workings of the Holy Spirit. This process causes us to grow in wisdom, empowering us to address Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11-12). “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.” (Proverbs 3:12-16; NASU; ‘her’ refers to wisdom).
A dependence on the Holy Spirit allows Him to grow so much in us that the influences of the flesh become less and less impactful on us; “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13) The more we make the willful decision to work in the Spirit we are deciding to apply God’s Word by meeting anxiety with prayer (Philippians 4:4-9); demonstrating trust by being thankful rather than complaint (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Philippians 2:14-14) just like Job did (Job 2:10; Psalm 34). Once we obey Him amid challenging circumstances, He will work it out for our good (Romans 8:28). Therefore, choose to wait on Him by applying His Word to each issue each day (Isaiah 40:27-31). This is how we keep our minds loose.