Romans 13:11-14 – “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh regarding its lusts.” NASB
The message of this passage is very strong as well as deep and compelling for the honest-hearted seeker of God’s fullness and best. The depth of the message renders it virtually impossible to discuss in one sitting or possibly even a book. The first area of truth connects the ‘this’ of verse 9 with these verses.
All the requirements of the Law toward our neighbor may be met by two things: Love (vv. 9-10) and a consciousness of our nearness to eternity (vv.11-14). It is as we keep the awareness of eternity in our minds we are prompted and compelled to live a life of honesty, truth, integrity, peace, and contentment.
Yet, the message that the apostle Paul sets forth goes to even greater depths in reference to the believer and how he/she lives. There are three things readily visible in these verses. There is a Condition that exists or could exist in the Church and the life of the individual believer that could and does hinder our progress if allowed to prevail or continue. There is the Need to Awaken out of the condition and become Transformed. Then, there is the Solution. All three, demand careful consideration and provide immeasurable benefits in our Christian walk.
THE CONDITION – Being Spiritually Asleep.
This spiritual sleep is a state is a condition that can only be ascribed to Believers or Christians. I say that because the Bible makes it clear that the unbeliever and unsaved are spiritually dead and that does not require an awakening but a resurrection.
Thus, the condition of being Asleep Spiritually suggests a state of spiritual apathy. The person who is asleep spiritually is unconscious of the hour in which we live regarding eternity. They are usually unconcerned bout the need to awaken and unaffected by the call to awaken.
Let me offer this for your consideration: “Every time we hear in vain, we grow sleepier and the voices of those sounding the alarm become a sedative to cause deeper slumber. Some people have listened to rolling thunder for so long that their ears have become deaf to the sound. The Cross has been presented so frequently, to some, it’s brightness no longer attracts. It is just another message and has little impact. It is important that we pay attention to not only what we hear but how we hear.”
The result of being asleep spiritually is that it produces a state of religious inactivity. There is no longer a compulsion to study the doctrines of Christianity and pursue the duties God has detailed.
There is a place in the Atlantic Ocean known as the Saragossa Sea. That sea is known for lengthy times of calm seas but is thickly covered with entangling seaweed. Few things are more terrifying for the seasoned mariner than to be caught there. The conditions of that apparent calmness but underlying danger can immobilize even the greatest ships entangling their screws and impeding their ability to sail through.
The religious or Christian life has its own Saragossa Sea and far too many individuals and churches are entrapped in the calmness but are being entangled by the deadly seaweed of destruction through tradition, habits, and formalism. They are asleep, inactive, and become entrapped.
There is the danger of becoming so accustomed to sin and sinful conditions that there is a literal flirtation with sin. That tends to produce conformity to the customs and practices of those not following God trying to be tolerant and fit in. The Bible warns that there are times when we must ‘come out from among them and be separate’ rather than complying and being conformed to their ways.
It is unfortunate that some have embraced a false sense of security and thereby lost the freshness of their experience of grace. They have allowed slackness in their lives and are often living on memories rather than demonstrating the power of God in the present. This condition is destroying lives, emptying churches, and rendering them impotent spiritually. The condition of being asleep spiritually is deadly and must be realized.
We will discuss this more in the next devotional but until then, ask God to awaken you out of your sleep and enable you to press into His presence and become the overcomer He says we are.
God bless, have a great day!