Sleep is a precious word! Whatever stage of life you find yourself in (except maybe the Christmas season as a small child) sleep is something that is very important to us.
Teenagers learn the value of sleep and act as if they will never be able to sleep again, so they get as much as they can. (Maybe there is some truth to that as they enter into college next! While in college, sleep is the friend that you never seem to see often enough!)
Once you become a parent, sleep is the thing that is ripped away from you like Lebron James rips a basketball out of a small child’s hands (insert Steph Curry jokes here). Sleep is absolutely imperative to life.
Studies show that proper sleep improves brain function and creativity as well as the ability to make good decisions, but is it possible that in some situations we could be lulled to sleep and it actually be a bad thing? Sleeping while driving is a problem. Sleeping on the job just might get you fired! More specifically, Spiritual sleep will cause hidden damage to your soul and to the lives of others!
Let me take a minute and describe what I mean by spiritual sleep. Spiritual sleep does not involve simply showing up in a church service, listening to monotonous music, and falling asleep to a boring communicator.
Spiritual sleep is much more like “sleep walking” than anything else. When you are sleep walking, many things seem normal to others – you are walking, you might be talking, and yet you are not truly engaged (hence children often sleep walk into the wrong room to use the restroom…not fun).
So, let me share with you a few ways that I believe many are sleeping spiritually and what we can do about it.
- First, spiritual sleep involves a blind eye to the spiritual standing of others: Christ-followers and non Christ-followers. Whenever God’s church, who has been glorious rescued from darkness and sin, can see so many people without hope and not see the need to share Christ, then we are asleep with our eyes wide open. Whenever we can see our brothers and sisters in sin and not lovingly confront, then we are asleep with our eyes wide open. This is a problem. Why is it that so many can come to the church and expect things for themselves and never have their eyes opened to the needs and eternal destiny of others? Sleepy anyone?
- Second, spiritual sleep involves the knowledge of the Scripture without the specific application of it. Whenever you can sit and read the Scripture or hear the Scripture as a Christ-follower and not be moved to action, there is a problem. Now, as a communicator, I recognize that at times the problem is with the communication, but often times we have grown complacent and are satisfied with sleep walking through life. Spiritual maturity is about learning to do what the Scripture says.
- Third, when your entire thought process for your faith has to do with you and what you need – you are sleeping spiritually. Christ saved us so that we might be involved in purusing others. So many people approach church involvement like a consumer: I need this, this and this…as if it’s a grocery list. However, our church involvement is really about the mission that Christ left us. Paul writes this in 2 Corinthians 5:
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on God’s behalf: be reconiled to God.”
So, today, I am asking the question, why are so many sleeping? It’s true that many things will lull us to sleep, but isn’t it time that we wake up and begin to take action for Christ? Will you repent of your sleep walking and self-centeredness and begin to embrace the mission Christ gave us?