But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7–8—NIV)

What would your world be like without rumor, hearsay and politics? Some people make their living by polling and reporting the knee-jerk reactions of half-baked thinkers and non-thinkers mixed together on equal footing with balanced thinkers. They delight in passing along to you the collected responses as if they were authoritative and final, very often with their own spin on the facts. Fickleness and public opinion seem frighteningly welded together as if two sides of the same coin! The public snapshot changes almost hourly.

Just as the election day vote is the only real poll that counts in politics, so the return of the Lord is the only real adjudicating factor for our time, for everyone who ever lived, and for you. Our text calls it "the end of all things." Your face-to-face audience with the Lord of the universe you will eternally remember. Rumor, hearsay, and political maneuvering will be checked at the door. The only evidence admissible about you is what is being factually recorded in heaven right now.

The end of all things means the realization or the consummation, the goal. The imminent return of Christ is a cherished doctrinal touchstone for all faithful Christians. Christ can return at any moment. A study of biblical prophecy reveals there is nothing remaining to be fulfilled before Christ’s return. Due to the brevity of life all Christians would do well to live each day as if it were their last. The end of all things "draws near."

With a bow to the naturally fickle state of human nature, Peter engages us to be "serious." The KJV uses the term "sober." Christian maturity is characterized by a marked clarity in thinking based upon simple, unchanging doctrine. Doctrine is to be lived. What you believe forces sense upon what you hear. Biblically sober thinking begins with a healthy view of the Sovereignty of God, embodied in a clearly defined purpose for the believer’s life, and steadily revealed to the world with each decision the believer makes. This eternal perspective and pilgrim mentality of the believer exerts a calm self-discipline upon his reaction to the times.

But what do we do with the rumors, the hearsay, and the politics? Sobriety in thinking is coupled, for the believer, with the activity of watchful vigilance. Without the anchor of sober thinking the watchful praying of the believer will be peppered with reactionary emotion, misguided passion, and inept, flailing labor to no specific end. Effective praying is imperative to the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man. "Watch unto prayer" evokes the words of our Savior to the disciples before the events of His crucifixion, resurrection, and the birthday of the church. Think of the rumor, the hearsay and the politics surrounding those tumultuous times.

Take out the coin of your life and look it over. Certainly, one side says "In God I trust." What do you see on the other side? Is there any hint of fickle obedience? With God’s help remove every impression and residue of sinful fickleness and daily stamp a commitment of watchful, praying obedience: "I will trust and obey."