The apostle Peter, some 30 years after those intimate conversations that Jesus had with his closest disciples, did not tire out waiting for the end to come. Even though his and his fellow disciples’ initial expectations about the Messiah were incorrect, he remained confident that Jehovah’s love and power guaranteed the realization of their hope. (Luke 19:11; 24:21; Acts 1:6; 2 Peter 3:9, 10) He strikes a note heard consistently through the Greek Scriptures when he says: “The end of all things has drawn close.” Then he urges fellow Christians: “Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.”—1 Peter 4:7.
Being “sound in mind” does not mean being smart from a worldly standpoint. Jehovah says: “I will make the wisdom of the wise men perish, and the intelligence of the intellectual men I will shove aside.” (1 Corinthians 1:19) The word Peter uses can mean “to be sober-minded.” This spiritual sobriety is connected with our worship. Therefore, being steady in mind, we see things in their proper relationship to Jehovah’s will; we understand which things are important and which are not. (Matthew 6:33, 34) In the face of the imminent end, we are not swept away in a frenzied life-style; neither are we indifferent to the period of time we are living in. (Compare Matthew 24:37-39.) Rather, we are ruled by moderation and balance in thought, disposition, and conduct, expressed first toward God (“vigilant with a view to prayers”) and then toward our neighbor (“have intense love for one another”).—1 Peter 4:7, 8.
Being sound in mind involves our having been “made new in the force actuating [our] mind.” (Ephesians 4:23) Why made new? Since we have inherited imperfection and live in sinful surroundings, our mind is dominated by a tendency that is opposed to spirituality. That force constantly pushes thoughts and inclinations in a materialistic, selfish direction. Hence, when someone becomes a Christian, he needs a new force, or dominant mental attitude, that will push his thoughts in the right direction, the spiritual direction, toward a readiness for self-sacrifice. Thus, when a choice is presented, for example, in education, career, employment, entertainment, recreation, clothing style, or whatever it may be, his first inclination will be to consider the matter from a spiritual rather than a fleshly, selfish viewpoint. This new mental attitude makes it easier to decide matters with soundness of mind and with the awareness that the end is near.
Being sound in mind implies that we are in good spiritual health. How can we remain “healthy in faith”? (Titus 2:2) We must feed our mind with the right kind of food. (Jeremiah 3:15) A steady diet of God’s Word of truth supported by the operation of his holy spirit will assist us to maintain our spiritual balance. Therefore, regularity in personal study, as well as field service, prayer, and Christian association, is vital.