Faith & Worship: No time for sleep

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night…But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.”

(1 Thessalonians

5:2, 4-6 NKJV)

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One of God’s greatest blessings ever bestowed on mankind was the gift of sleep (can I get an “Amen?”). I enjoy a good night’s sleep, one that is completely uninterrupted. When I sleep, I prefer the room temperature to be at a cool, comfortable 73 degrees. I like to wear a t-shirt, gym shorts, and cover up with just one sheet and one blanket. I prefer not to be touched while I sleep, and I must sleep on my right side. I know you didn’t ask for those details, but those are the perfect conditions when I need sleep! I know you have them, too.

As I said earlier, I enjoy uninterrupted sleep. For me, that’s almost an impossibility because I have been blessed with two little boys, but the thought of it is fascinating!

One of the worst things that can happen is that you are in a deep sleep and you hear the sound of the alarm clock. While I thank God for the snooze button, the inevitable must happen. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a morning where I wasn’t awakened by the surprise sound of the alarm clock.

I love sleep. I need sleep. So do you. Sleep is a blessing. It takes your focus off of work and worries for a moment, and allows you to get much needed rest.

But if there is one place in your life that doesn’t call for sleep it’s the place of your spiritual walk and life with Jesus Christ. Sleep is not a position of readiness in any way. If you’re anything like me when you sleep, it often takes a little while to wake up. Sometimes I have to lay still for a few minutes, gather my thoughts, and then get out of the bed.

Sleep is often a stolen thing from our lives that we never can seem to catch up on. If you don’t get enough sleep you can feel pretty bad. That’s why we can be easily angered, annoyed, or rushed when you are forced to wake up. Why? Because in our sleep we are safe, sound, and warm. Yes, sleep is great for the physical, but never is it okay for the spiritual. As a matter of fact, spiritual slumber has no place in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.

We cannot afford to fall asleep in our relationship with Jesus Christ because, honestly, our time is short. Jesus Christ has promised to return again, and there are billions upon billions of people in the world that do not know Him as Savior, and many others have never even heard the Gospel! That’s why the Apostle Paul addressed the church in the final chapter of 1 Thessalonians. He wanted them to understand the reality that we do not have a lot of time left here on earth nor should we fall into the temptation of spiritual slumber. When I speak of spiritual slumber, I mean spiritual laziness; a lack of commitment to a Christ; a lack of desire to share Christ, etc.

I do not write this article to scare you, but I do write to raise your level of concern. Jesus has promised us that He is coming again (Revelation 22:7, 12). I wonder if you ever think about His return? In a recent survey among Christians in the United States, only 47 percent of believers believed that Jesus might return in the next 40 years. That tells me that many believers in Jesus do not believe in His Word. If they did, they would be expectantly looking for the return of Christ often.

C.S. Lewis once wrote: “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become ineffective in this one.” I truly believe that if we were thinking about Christ’s return and looking for Christ’s return, we would be living like it in this world that is so desperate for hope, truth, love, and salvation.

If you look into the life of Jesus Christ, you will find that He spent a lot of time speaking about the promise and certainty of His return in His earthly ministry. In Matthew 22, 24, and 25, Jesus preached about our need for urgency and readiness in regards to His return. When Jesus preached, His messages caused people to make a decision: will I be ready when Jesus returns, and will I live ready knowing He is returning?

We are certainly living in troubled times. All over the world, the signs are telling the truth that Jesus is coming again (Matthew 24:3-31). It is my prayer that you are awake, alive, and living in the light as Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians. The alarm clock has sounded. It’s time to wake up and share with others there is hope and eternal life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Romans 10:9-10). There is no time for sleep when the world is in need of salvation.

Prayer: Lord, If we’ve ever needed to wake up to the reality of Your second coming, it’s now. May we be alert, awake, and obedient to the call to tell others about You before it’s eternally too late. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Rev. Peter McDonald, Midway Baptist Church