It was the summer of 2013 and i had just been offered a job after completing my university studies. The job was located in a new area so once i relocated I made it my aim to find the nearest local church. After finding the nearest local church, I attended regularly for the first couple of weeks. One afternoon i was having a discussion with one friendly lady after the church service, as we were speaking it got to a point where she sighed and said”..You know it’s great to see young men like you who are still interested in attending church especially at your age…” , I must point out that there were barely any men in that church between the age of 16 to 25. Through the conversation with her I came to find out that most young people had left the church completely and the rest moved on to join another church. This pattern seemed to continue through a number of other churches I visited, It also seems that there are many churches where the majority of the members are usually found to be bench warmers rather than active members.
In this post I will address the issue of being spiritually asleep, which is one of the main reason why people choose to leave the church or why they are inactive in the church. i’ll also point out what causes people to be spiritually asleep, some of the points in this post may come across as strong. However in a time like this where many christian’s are spiritually asleep a strong message is what it takes for there to be an awakening.
By upholding the truth and using the bible as light, we then come to a position where we realise that the times we’re living in are what is known as the last days. In the previous post we also saw how bible prophecy shows us exactly what kind of times we’re living in.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… 2 Timothy 3
Once this concept of living in the last days truly sinks into our mind, we are then able to realise that there is a need for us to wake up. However, first Let’s define what it means to be spiritually asleep!
When a person is physically asleep, they are not aware of what is going on around them, in the same way when a believer is spiritually asleep, he or she becomes unconcerned or disconnected to the importance of the seriousness of the times we’re living in. A lack of interest in spiritual things is also a result of spiritual sleep. Spiritual things are those such as simply taking time to read the bible during the week or just taking time to pray to God.
A lack of recognising the need for daily devotion becomes evident when we are spiritually asleep. For many, they used to be involved in the work of the church, or they once sang in the church choir but now they are found spiritually asleep and inactive.
They used to enjoy studying the bible or giving bible studies but now they’ve found themselves as benchwarmers in the church or maybe not even attending church regularly anymore. Where there was once a strong youth team they have now left the church in search of the excitement and entertainment and have been carried away by the lifestyle that the world has to offer.
One reason why we might find ourselves spiritually asleep and caught up in the world is because we have forgotten about who God really is and so as a result we find ourselves wandering and loving the world more than we love God.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15,16
If we love God it will be demonstrated by our affections shown towards what we do. What we love is what we’re loyal to. If we can’t afford to spend any time during week to talk to God then this shows the kind of love that we have towards God.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mathew 11:28.
The message from Jesus is simple, as we have just seen in Mathew all he says to us is ‘Come..!’. He is calling you and I to leave the things of the world which are hindering us to come into a relationship with him. God loved us so much that he was willing to give up his son so that we could be saved. It doesn’t matter what your past has been, If you feel like you have been let down, rejected or hurt by someone the invitation from Jesus is to come to him whatever your circumstances. The unconditional love that God has for us is like nothing we will ever find in this world, Why not give God a chance? As we come to Jesus we surrender our wills to him and we choose to dedicate our lives to his ministry, as one one of my favourite preachers once said:
“The safest place in the world to be is in the middle of God’s will. It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by war, typhoons, tornadoes, volcanoes, or earthquakes; if you’re in the middle of God’s will, you have nothing to worry about.” Doug Batchelor.
One of the best provisions we have that can keep a man or a woman awake is to study and witness the power of God through the bible. In the previous post we saw an example of this through the prophecy of Daniel Chapter 2. Studying prophecies through the books of Daniel and Revelation shows us that we’re living in a time in which we can’t afford to be playing games with our lives. These books open our eyes and show us a tremendous reality of the war which began in heaven but eventually transpired onto this earth. This enlightens us to the devices that the devil uses in order to stop us from being connected to christ.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Revelation 12:7-9,12
This great controversy mentioned in the book of Revelation shows us the bigger picture of what is really going on in this world, it shows us who the devil is, why he has declared war on God’s creation, but more specifically on God’s church and on you and I.
Let’s be practical now, if there really is great controversy going on then what kind of practical things should we be doing to esnure we stay awake? One of the most effective ways to prevent ourselves from being spiritually asleep is to change our prespective. Let me explain what i mean by that, a perspective is ‘a particular attitude towards something’ or ‘the way in which someone sees something”. As people who would like to follow Jesus we can adopt a perspective which encourages us to look at life differently by asking questions such as “Is what im about to do going to give glory to God? Is the relationship that I’m involved in giving glory to God? Is this social gathering or party i’m about to attend going to turn my attention from God? Do i go to church to get something out of it or to give? Should i be involved in the church for the churches sake or for sake of Christ? Am i choosing to eat this food because it will satisfy my desire or because its good for my health?. This mentality helps you and I to put God first in whatever we do.
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31
As we put God first the desire to fulfill the lust of the flesh will be slowly withdrawn from us. As we choose to remain committed to God lets not forget why we believe what we believe and let’s not allow ourselves to be lead away from the truth and through this, by God’s grace, we will then find ourselves in a position where we will not be spiritually asleep.
Through a sincere study of the bible, and by changing our perspective we will then develop an interest in Spiritual things.
Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober.. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 Peter 1:13, 1 John 2:16
It’s time to wake up.