God is calling His people to watch and be sober as the day of destruction nears. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Paul exhorts the brethren, “Ye . . . are not in darkness. . . . Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (5:4-5). What he is saying is this: “What is to this world a tragic night of darkness and fiery destruction is the dawning of a new day to you who watch and are sober!”
As surely as we are not of this world, we are not destined for darkness and destruction, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:9).
The increasing intensity of labor pains means something glorious to Christ’s Bride—we are one crisis closer to home! It is the world’s countdown to destruction but it is our countdown to glory! It is their appointment with wrath and our appointment with resurrection! While they weep and gnash their teeth, we will rejoice and shout for joy! Those who are the children of this gross darkness, this night of destruction, are drunken and asleep: “For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night” (5:7). “Let us who are of the day be sober” (5:8). This has to do with any kind of earthly intoxication. “To intoxicate” means “to excite the human spirit to a point of frenzy.” This is a powerful warning to us from the apostle Paul. He is warning us not to get excited over earthly things on the eve of destruction—not to become intoxicated (high) over anything but Christ.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). We must occupy until He comes and remain diligent in all things. But, above all, we must be sober and watchful. The word “sober” here means “discerning, cautious.” In other words, don’t let anything take your heart. Do not get too involved, too excited, or too wrapped up in things of this life.
Be warned! Right now you may be drinking the devil’s wine of distraction—the wine of busyness. The Bible warns that Satan will attempt to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect. I have often wondered how that could be possible. I believe it is not by adultery, pride or evil habits but by letting something worthwhile take the heart—by using what is legitimate to obsess and consume all one’s time.