“The most dangerous moment in battle is when a soldier forgets that he is in a war.” Our campus director frequently made this observation when I was a student. Forgetting that fact could make you vulnerable.
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead!”
Since January 1, when this Scripture verse poked me in the ribs, I’ve been pondering the reality of being spiritually sleepy. When I’m physically sleepy, my senses are dull. I can go in and out of drowsiness and lull back to sleep. I forget that there are things yet to be done. The desire to stay nestled in a warm bed or under a comfy blanket takes over.
All it takes is one loud noise- a phone ringing, or an alarm clock– to get my heart pumping. My senses are alert, my heart is pumping, eyes focused and scanning. Vigilant. The opposite of “go with the flow.”
When I’m spiritually sleepy, is it not the same? My senses are dulled. I want to live in the place of comfort. I can forget the spiritual realities in light of my physical realities. And then the wake up call jolts me into looking around, examining my heart and shaking off the spiritual slumber.
I have to imagine that was what happened with the five wise and five foolish virgins (Matthew 25 – one of the cross-references for Ephesians 5:14). All had lamps; only half had their lamps full and ready for the return of the bridegroom. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Instantly, as the cry went out, all ten were awake. As the five wise ones trim their lamps, the five foolish discover their lack of oil. Too late. Whatever the lack of oil represents, it was too late to be ready when the bridegroom arrived. Being there was not the issue. Sleeping was not the issue. Being ready was the point.
In this season between now and then, when the Lord will return, there are many ways to be lulled to sleep spiritually. Just so many distractions. So easy to forget Someone is coming someday. There’s opportunity between now and then, to make the most of our days. There’s a battle between now and then–a battle for my attention, a battle for what is truly important and lasting.
When we forget that, what kind of danger do we face? What do you think?
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This is one of the parables that keep me up at night along with: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matt 7:22-23
The point in both is to NOT be part of those groups; but I want to identify exactly who are in those groups–I don’t know. If God had wanted me to know He would have made it clear in His Word.
sobering thought, Ken. those parables have made me think more carefully about what I am doing daily. As i went back to the posts on Ephesus and Laodicea, I’ve been more vigilant for the prompting of the Spirit. it’s my prayer to be ready when He comes. 🙂