Why don’t we see people getting saved like we do in Acts and even in Church History? Why are our prayer meetings so poorly attended? Why are our breaking of bread meetings so quiet? Why are the same people doing the majority of the work?
I believe one of the major answers to all of the questions above is that the Church is asleep and Christians individually are asleep.
Keith Green in his song, “Asleep in the Light”, says:
Do you see, do you see all the people sinking down?
Don’t you care, don’t you care are you going to let them drown? How can you be so numb not to care if they come?
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.
The world is sleeping in the dark that the church just can’t fight. Because it’s asleep in the light.
How can you be so dead when you’ve been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed! Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed!
I used to struggle to wake up each morning. I would continually hit snooze and sometimes not even remember turning off my alarms. I had three different alarms set to wake me up including an alarm clock that would shake my mattress. I even slept through a college exam. Sometimes we as Christians can also be asleep and continue to hit that snooze button.
What Does it Mean to be Asleep?
In Romans 13:11-14, Paul uses the analogy of physical sleep to relate to the state of being spiritual asleep as Christians. When we are spiritual asleep we are:
- Not perceiving (Romans 13:11)
- Not prepared (Romans 13:11, 14)
- Not progressing (Romans 13:13)
Interestingly enough, these characteristics of spiritual sleep in Christians can also be said about the unsaved world around us. The world can’t perceive and, therefore, can’t be prepared or progress.
Please note that you can attend church, pray, read your Bible and be active in your local assembly and still be spiritually asleep.
Are you Asleep?
Because when we are asleep, we don’t realize we are asleep (both physically and spiritually), I wanted to create a small quiz that will allow us to determine if we are in fact asleep. Please answer the questions below honestly:
- Do you know the time? (What do you spend your thought life on?)
- Are you making progress? (Are you in the same place in regards to conquering sin, your relationship with Christ and your fruit as you were 1 year ago?)
- Do you look different than your neighbour? (Do you expose sin with your life?)
- Are you passionate and excited about your life in Christ?
If you said no to any or all of the questions above, then it is high time to wake up (Romans 13:11)!
Why Do We Fall Asleep?
There are many factors that can create spiritual sleep in a believer. Below are listed just a few examples:
- Lust of the flesh
- Distraction of the world
What is the Solution?
In Romans 13:11, Paul tells us to wake up. Just like physically waking up, we need an alarm clock to jolt us into activity. There are many “spiritual alarm clocks” that God uses including other people, His Word, the Holy Spirit or trials.
Think about when you are trying to physically wake someone up. First you start by whispering their name and then you poke them gently and finally you shake them. God tries to wake up the sleeping Christian in the same way. Don’t force God to shake you!
Why Wake Up?
Waking up can be hard. Because of this, Paul provided a reason to wake up in Romans 13:11. He says that it is “high time” or about time to wake out of sleep and explains that our future salvation is closer than when we believed.
A couple years ago, my wife and I attended The Gapper at Agape Valley Bible Camp which included a 5k race. I was stationed near the end of the course and I was to encourage the runners and to point them to the finish line. We would let the runners know that they should put all they have left into the last little bit.
Paul is saying the same thing in Romans 13:11. Our salvation is close, so it is time to wake up!
What Should We Do After Waking Up?
Paul gives us three actions to complete after we wake up as Christians. These actions follow the same pattern as us waking up in the morning. We are to cast off, put on and walk.
First, we are to cast off the works of darkness. This is like removing the clothing of the night. This means not making provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). We are not to give forethought or care in our minds for the flesh. The battle of the christian against fleshly lusts is in our minds. If we do not make provision for the lust of the flesh, then we do not gratify the lusts desires.
Secondly, we are to put on the full armour of light. This is like putting on your work clothes after you have taken off your clothes of the night. Your armour protects you and prepares you for the battle in the world. Later on in Romans 13, we are told to put on Jesus Christ. This means adopting His life style, follow His example, identify with Him.
Finally, we are to walk honestly as in the open light of the day. The world is watching us and they are looking to see if we practice what we preach. Walking implies progress. John Newton said, “I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, but by the grace of God, I am not what I once was.”
Brothers and sisters, it is high time to awake out of sleep! Our salvation is nearer than when we believed. “Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed!”