Sleeping the Day Away
Sleep is a beautiful thing, a gift from God. Few things are more pleasing than to finally get to bed after a tiring day, to lay your head on your pillow and just go to a distant, happy place. Sleep is also a pre-requisite for a healthy life, and we each need to make sure we are getting the right amount of it daily (7-8 hours according to the CDC).
But one can sleep too much.
Like the sluggard in Proverbs (6:9-11) shows us, while there is a time to sleep there is also a time to wake up, work, and live. There is a time for rest, but sleeping the day away when there are fields to sow, plow, and harvest--it is not only lazy, it is foolishly short sighted. It thinks only about the warm bed at this present moment, while ignoring that empty stomach that will be felt when the cellars run empty. It blocks out the future, the consequences while declaring: "just a little longer!" A little closing of the eyes. A little folding of the hands to rest.
Did you know that we can also do the same thing Spiritually? In fact, it is my belief that the majority of Christians in the West are spending their days lounging in their warm, Tempur-Pedic mattresses and memory foam pillows, fast asleep; happily contented beneath their down comforters. Out.
Like a dormant snoozer, Christians can all too easily live apathetic, inactive lives that are disenchanted by the idea of waking up any time soon. It is not that we do not do anything, it is that we do not even have a desire to do anything! We could care less. Instead of swimming against the ever roaring current of cultural sentiment (which floweth strong these days), instead of actively putting to death the old man (Rom 6:6; Col 3:5-9), instead of striving after holiness (1 Pet 1:16) and chasing after the example of our Savior (Heb 12:1-2), instead of speaking out and being a voice to the generation in which we live in (1 Cor 9:16;1 Peter 3:15)--we prefer the path of least resistance and passive acquiescence. Radical Christian living does not only sound more and more ridiculous by the day, but it is really hard work. We would prefer to stay in bed.
Paul speaks to this very thing in the end of Romans 13:11-14. Addressing the believers in Rome, he urges them to wake up; to strap a helmet on and get in the game:
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
What is Paul's motivation for getting out of bed? Why choose a life of pain, struggle, self-denial, and inevitable mockery when a warm mattress calls? His reason: "Salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, the day is almost here."
Another words: time is running out. We do not have all day for sleeping.
We too, like those slumbering Romans, are closer at this moment to the day we will stand before our Savior than we were yesterday. The clock's a-ticking. The day is fast approaching where we too will have to settle accounts with our Master (Matt. 25). What will he say of our conduct? Will He find that we squandered our talents by burying them in the dirt? Did we sleep the day away in blissful delight?
Therefore. In light of this. Paul says: Wake up. Put aside the deeds of darkness. Put on the armor of light.
The challenges facing Christians (especially young Christians) in 2016 America are legion. I assure you, slumbering Christians will not be able to long stand against the assaults of: pluralism, secularization, sensuality, and humanism. Their appeal is strong to me and my generation. The only chance we have is to get out of our beds and suit up, deny ourselves, and embrace in its entirety the call of Jesus Christ.
And as the battle rages, will you be found faithful? Will you be wide awake?
"Beloved brethren, the bridegroom cometh! Awake! Awake! The earth must soon be dissolved, and the heavens must melt! Awake! Awake! O Holy Spirit arouse us all, and keep us awake." - C.H. Spurgeon