Be Sober, Be Vigilant

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. The word sober means to me: be alert. Peter is admonishing us to be sober, be vigilant; because our adversary, the devil, goes around as a hungry, roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The word seeking implies that he is diligently looking for his prey. Jesus, speaking to us, said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34. Jesus is telling us to look deeply into our own lives and “take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness.”

You see, looking ahead, He knows the trials, temptations, and snares of the devil that are going to come upon each and every one of us; and He says, “Take heed to yourselves.” In other words, you do not even know your own heart. “Do not be overcharged, do not be filled up with surfeiting,” which means on over abundance of food, “and drunkenness,” which is an over abundance of drink. “Beware,” he is telling you; do not let the cares of this life lead you astray so that you do not see what is coming. Christ warns us not to let these, the matter of food and drink, so preoccupy our thinking that we fail to see the devil going around as a roaring lion. “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:35-36. This snare, dearly beloved, as my Bible reads is not going to come on just a few of us. It says that this snare shall come on all them that dwell upon the earth.

Have you had any problem with health lately? Have you made commitments and resolutions year after year to change the selection of your food and to begin exercising and following the eight laws of health perhaps, but find that they pass right through your fingers? We are so weak that our best resolutions are likened to ropes of sand, leaving us unable to stand and have victory in our lives and to live this life of commitment we say that we want to live.

Satan knows each one of us better than we know ourselves. He lurks and waits and plans how to lay his snares. He says, “Well, this brother has a problem of overeating, so I am just going to make sure that all of these foods get in front of his eyes.” And how often we neglect the salvation contained in the Word of God, which is so vital to our souls, and fail to withstand his temptations.

“If Christians will keep the body in subjection, and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty that they owe to God and to their neighbors to obey the laws which govern health and life, they will have the blessing of physical and mental vigor. They will have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered appetite in their behalf, they may be more than conquerors on their own account. This warfare is open to all who will engage in it.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 65

In 1 Corinthians, Paul likens the Christian’s experience to running a race. He tells us that before we can run the race, we need to engage in physical preparation. In order for the athletes to be in the best health condition to compete in the races that were held in Paul’s day, they submitted themselves to a very strict and stringent diet, chose the right articles of food, and avoided all that is harmful.

Speaking of the contest for eternal life, Paul says, “I bring my body under subjection lest I find myself a castaway.” (See 1 Corinthians 9:27.) This is like no other contest because we have a supernatural adversary who is waiting to devour each one of us; and he knows that his strongest hold upon mankind is indulgence of appetite. We need to be sanctified in the mind, and Satan knows the close sympathy between the body and the mind. He knows that if he and keep the flesh stimulated and the mind benumbed, he will gain control.

The greatest hindrance to sanctification is the indulgence of appetite. So God, in His great love for us, has provided a health package to better equip us for the race of life. He says, “Look, I am going to give you the diet you will need in order to win the race.”

Ellen White tells us, “Let none who profess godliness regard with indifference the health of the body, and flatter themselves that intemperance is no sin and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature. The standard of virtue is elevated or degraded by the physical habits.” Ibid., 62

God has a plan that includes fresh air, plenty of sunshine, and temperance in all things. Abstemious, not moderation, is the word that He uses, which means that we are to abstain from every thing that is injurious to our body and use judiciously use only articles of food that are nutritious and that promote health. Beyond that, He tells us to trust Him—trust in divine power.

Satan is waiting for you; and whatever it takes, he is going to suck you right into his trap unless you follow God’s plan, trusting in Him. “Satan is constantly on the alert to bring the race fully under his control. His strongest hold on man is through the appetite, and this he seeks to stimulate in every possible way.” Ibid., 150. [All emphasis supplied] Through the medium of advertising, the devil seeks to use the avenues of the soul—the senses—to stimulate you. Through the eyes, the ears, the taste, the touch, he places his array of temptations before us in the most enticing possible form, hoping that we will take them like bait. He knows that his greatest hold is through the appetite.

Satan, follows a two step plan. First, he seeks to benumb or cloud the mind, and then he strives to stimulate or excite the animal passions.

Stay away from stimulants, because when you are stimulated, you do not have as much control over you own mind. We must realize, as Ellen White tells us in Counsels on Diet and Foods on page 45, that “God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly”. You see, Satan seeks to destroy, and Christ is seeking to restore.

If you were preparing for the 1996 Olympic Games, you would adopt a diet and exercise program that would promote the best physical condition possible. Yet, as Seventh-day Adventist Christians who have been given the greatest light on the face of the earth, we sit back and say, “But I like the taste of those things.” God says, “Look, My Son is ready to come, and I need a people on the face of the earth who are going to walk in all of the light that I have today. Do you want life eternal? Are you willing to deny the tings that I tell you are not good for your body, that are going to interfere with your mind?” God is try8ing to fit a people for eternity, and we sit here and eat and drink like the world. We are the chosen nation eating from the fleshpots of Egypt.

Have you wondered how to have victory over all sin your life? The solution lied in conquering the appetite. We each need to acknowledge something today: that health reform is a blessing!

“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this, they would have moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan.” Ibid., 59

“But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Ibid.

The devil says, “Yeah, but pork chops are good. And bacon is good. You know, I will even get the translation people to lust after my foods.” So, they buy Stripples and Prosage links, because they still like the taste. Maybe, we do not buy ham, but we enjoy Wham. While we do this, we show that we still crave and desire the taste of the pig! I ask myself, Why is God’s remnant church selling something that looks and tastes like unclean meat? These foods are meant to be transition food for those who are getting off meat, not to be the main entree for the Seventh-day Adventist Christian for fifty years; but I see Adventists coming in to my health food store and buying seven or eight cases at a time.

God has given us a blueprint to run the Christian race. We have it in our hands today, priceless material in which God has warned us not to eat stimulants. “Through the use of stimulants, the whole system suffers. The nerves are unbalanced, the liver is morbid is its action, the quality and circulation of the blood are affected, and the skin becomes inactive and sallow. The mind, too, is injured. The immediate influence of these stimulants is to excite the brain to undue activity, only to leave it weaker and less capable of exertion.” Ibid., 422, 423. You drink the coffee and get a quickening in the mind, and then you get a low down and run to the vending machine and buy that Hershey bar and Coca-Cola at midday, which gives you another boost. “The aftereffect if prostration, not only mental and physical, but moral….You are highly nervous and excitable. Tea has an influence to excite the nerves, and coffee benumbs the brain.” Ibid.

You see, Satan is trying to stimulate our animal passions to benumb the brain. God wants to sanctify us in our mind, to renew us day by day; and what we put into our bodies is going to affect that process.

“The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitations of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils, for they wear away the life forces. Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork. Nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies. When her forces are goaded on by the use of stimulants, more will be accomplished for a time; but as the system becomes debilitated by their constant use, it gradually becomes more difficult to rouse the energies to the desired point. The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control.” Ibid., 424. Have you ever noticed how this works? I anybody here addicted to soft drinks? You have one one day, and then it is two the next. With cigarettes it is one one day, and then it is two the next. With alcohol it is a glass of wine one day, and then it is three the next.

“The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control, until the will is overborne, and there seems to be no power to deny the unnatural craving. [You are totally controlled by the adversary’s latest snare. And you jumped into it. He has you controlled. Now you have to break a habit that has you physically addicted.] Stronger and still stronger stimulants are called for, until exhausted nature an no longer respond.” Ibid.

Ellen White talks about tea and coffee. “Their effects are similar to those of tobacco; but they affect in an lesser degree.” Ibid., 425

OH, friends, there is not time for God’s people in these last days to be addicted to anything that is a stimulant. That includes chocolate, coke, and sugar.

The number one reason that i don not eat animal products is that of the disease in animals today. Today, there is aids in cow, cancer and leukemia in chickens, leukemia in dairy products, and tuberculosis is breaking out in the cattle. You see, we have the streamlined inspection system where we not longer have enough meat inspectors form the federal government to go to the processing plants and examine the meat for themselves. So the company inspects its own product. As a result, the quality of the meat products is controlled by the ones who stand to suffer the loss if it is rejected.

Watch out! Be sober, be vigilant, for you adversary the devil goes around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And Christ said to watch and pray always. Watch out for your food! Surfeiting and drunkenness!

When the secretary of agriculture Mike Gillispie made a surprise visit to ninety of the twelve hundred slaughter houses in America, what he found caused him to shut down thirty of them immediately. When random samples of one hundred and thirteen different fish across this country show that forty-four of those samples were contaminated with human fecal bacteria because the waters are polluted, it is time to let the fish go, too. Ellen White warned us that disease in animals would increase with the wickedness of mankind.

Put the package together folks. Ninety-three years have gone by since the counsel has been given us on diet reform. Christ is coming. Will we continue to sit here with overweight bodies and cloudy mind, thinking that we are the children of the light?

We as a people are to be preparing to be fitted for the coming of Jesus Christ. That fitness includes a physical fitness, not just a spiritual fitness, because there is a close sympathy between the body and the mind. My Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are to be living sacrifices for the Lord, and we cannot go and teach the world the health message unless we are first living it ourselves.

“Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with he light which God has been pleased to give us. All who are connected with our health institutions especially should be education themselves to subsist on fruits, grains, and vegetables. If we move form principle in these things, if we as Christian reformers educate our own taste, and bring our diet to God’s plan, then we may exert an influence upon others in this matter.” Ibid., 380. When we live it, then we can exert an influence upon other people.