By Jaime Sherman
Positioned next to road signs along San Antonio freeways are black signs with bright yellow lights spelling out, “Plan While You Can. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” While traveling in Texas and seeing the word sober flash before me multiple times, I was reminded of our study last week when Peter charged his readers with the words, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (I Peter 4:7).
The word sober, as I noted last week, implies a mental restraint that informs one’s physical responses. To be sober in submission is to plan ahead while we can, to choose in advance what our submission to others will look like. To be sober in submission is also to decide to humble ourselves.
This week we are reading from chapter 5, which instructs us, “‘Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (5:5-6).
To clothe oneself in humility is a purposeful act of obedience. It’s saying, “God, I choose to be defined by a lowliness of spirit.” A humble woman compares herself to Jesus Christ rather than to others. A humble woman does not inflate her own worth. And a humble woman lives with complete dependency on the Lord rather than on herself, which allows her to cast all her anxieties — including those about submitting to others — on the Lord because He cares for her (5:7) and has His best planned for her. Humility is driving sober.
The opposite — the reality of getting pulled over — is true of the woman whom God must discipline because of her pride, her arrogance, her attempts to outshine others. A wise friend once told me that our daily prayer should be, “Lord, keep me humble,” for it’s so much more painful to be humbled by God’s correction than to humble oneself by choice.
Prayer: Father God, In the morning as I dress, may I cast aside the worn garments of anxiety and stubborn independence, of pride and arrogance, and dress myself instead in a gown of humility that trusts Your plan for my day. Amen.