Time’s A-Wastin’!

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I was sleeping so well.  Completely relaxed and having wonderful dreams.  Happy to escape life through a few hours of slumber. 

It’s not a bad thing.  It’s necessary for survival…to rest…relax…regain strength.

However, too much of a good thing can turn to overindulgence. Moderation in all things, right?
The person who sleeps too much is also called lazy. 

I’ve been contemplating the words from Romans 13:

Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law.  For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting––and any other commandment––are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements.  

Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don’t live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light.  We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy.  But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires.

Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out.
Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 
The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.

Sleep allows us to put responsibilities on hold. Sure, I’ll take a nap when my body needs rest. But, sometimes, when I just want to quit thinking, I’ll catch 40 winks. It’s a great way to stop caring for a while, to give myself a break.

Sleep, in this passage, is much the same. It is spiritual apathy. It is possible to fall asleep in our journey of salvation.  We may choose to put “right living” on the shelf and clothe ourselves in darkness for a time, but Paul is calling the Roman Christians (and us) to wake up. To remember.

Remember, we are people of the day. The night is almost over and we need to be ready, clothed in the armor of right living.  As we’re sleeping we’re missing opportunities to be the light He’s called us to be.  If this weren’t the case, then Paul would not have needed to remind Christians to wake up. 

If you’re snoozing, don’t nap long. 
Time’s a-wastin’!

Wake up, O Sleeper!

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16 responses »

  1. Hey Sis!

    I’m going to use rest and sleep interchangeably for the purpose of my comment.

    I believe rest (sleep) is important when our bodies are tired. A tired body can easily lead to a tired spirit and often the enemy uses our tired bodies (whether it’s because of illness or some other reason) to weigh us down spiritually. I know I feel bad all around when I’m physically sick. It impacts my mental and emotional and spiritual state adversely. In those times I find myself resting (sleeping) more. I don’t believe my praise, acknowledgment, relationship with God is any less during that time or that I’m being lazy. It’s just a season of needing that in my illness and causes my interaction, relationship, walk to look different. In fact my verbal acknowledgment and need for God is greater during those times. I find myself saying thank you Jesus; please Jesus; help me Jesus; being real and raw with Jesus in my physical pain, anguish even more during that time. Again it’s not less of an interaction, relationship with God. It’s just different and sometimes necessary for me to be able to increase my dependence on Him in all things including illness or physical tiredness.

    Having said that I do agree that spiritual laziness is not of God and that we have to be mindful of it. I see Paul’s context of sleeping being in the form of being consumed with other things, placing other things above what God has called us to be (ambassadors, His light, disciples, servants). This could literally be sleeping too much out of laziness, eating, money etc. but I do believe there’s a distinction in terms of being spiritually asleep and going through seasons where we physically need a lot of sleep/rest (and I’m not putting a timeline on those seasons either).

    Hope this makes sense 🙂

  2. God knows that our Human Bodies require sleep to operate effectively and some rest from our six days of earthly labour (work).

    Without any sleep our human body will die in around 7 days. God also put in the Ten Commandments He gave to Moses to give to his people for life (as in to last ‘forever’) that we are to rest one day out of every 7.

    But we are not to stay in an unawakened state – we are to ‘wake up’ (become Aware) of the Spirit that is all around us and also within us. We are to be awakened to the Holy Spirit and it’s presence in our daily life – to be led by it and not by our human desire or instincts.

    Once we have been awakened in this fashion we are never to ‘fall asleep’ and lose that connection to Him from our life by choosing to listen more to what our body tells us than what our spirit does.

    if we use the analogy of Romans we only have to wake up from one night of darkness and stay awake for one day in order to reach our salvation.

    Any of us can stay ‘awake’ for a single day – right? 🙂

    Unless we take a nap that is.

    if our eyes ever get heavy we can sometimes rely on our neighbour to give us a poke in the ribs to make sure we remain awake and not miss something important. 🙂

    <B

  3. Hey, Gch and Love!

    I think some technical clarification may be in order, so I’m quoting from John Stott’s, The Message of Romans. He has a bit more “qualification” than myself (tongue in cheek):

    Paul’s purpose in this last paragraph of Romans 13 (11-14) seems to be to lay an eschatological foundation for Christian conduct. He has already told us not to ‘conform any longer to the pattern of this world’ (12:1). Now he urges us to remember what the time is, and then to live appropriately….it is more important to know God’s time, especially the kairos, the present time (11a), the existential moment of opportunity and decision. The Bible divides history into “this age” and “the age to come”, and the New Testament authors are clear that the age to come or the kingdom of God was inaugurated by Jesus. So at present the two ages overlap. We are waiting expectantly for the parousia, when the old age will finally disappear, the period of overlap will end, and the new age of God’s kingdom will be consummated. Paul makes three time references, which assume this background understanding.

    First, the hour has come (literally, ‘is already’) for you to wake up from your slumber (11b). The time for sleep has passed. It is now time to wake up and get up.

    Secondly, this is because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (11c). ‘Salvation’ is a comprehensive term (e.g. 1:16), embracing our past (justification), present (sanctification) and future (glorification). In this verse clearly our future and final salvation is in mind (8:24), what Paul has earlier depicted in terms of the freedom of glory, our final adoption as God’s children, and the redemption of our bodies (8:21-23). This inheritane is nearer now than ‘when we were converted’ (JBP). Every day brings it closer.

    Thirdly, the night, (the old age of darkness) is well advanced (literally), so that it is nearly over; the day (when Christ returns) is almost here, on the threshold (12a). Many readers conclude that Paul was mistaken, since the night drags on, and still the day, although it dawned at Christ’s coming, has not yet experienced the fulness of sunrise at His return. But this is an unnecessary judgment. First, it is antecedently unlikely that Paul pronounced the end to be imminent, because Jesus had said He did not know the time, because the apostles echoed this, and because they knew that worldwide evangelization, the restoration of Israel (11:12ff) and the apostacy must all precede the final denouement. Secondly, what the apostles did know was that the kingdom of God came with Jesus, that the decisive salvation events which established it (His death, resurrection, exaltation and gift of the Spirit) had already taken place, and that God had nothing on His calendar before the parousia. It would be the next and culminating event. So they were, and we are, living in ‘the last days’. It is in this sense that Christ is coming ‘soon’ (16:20). We must be watchful and alert, because we do not know the time.

    Here, then, are the apostle’s three time references. The time is already here for us to wake up (11a); now our salvation is nearer than it was (11b); and the night has nearly given place to the day (12a). It is the familiar tension between the ‘now already’ of Christ’s first coming and the ‘not yet’ of His second. ~Stott

    (Me now…) “So” or “therefore” in the middle of verse 12 lets us know where we are and what we should be doing.

    I did not mean for this post to speak of literal sleep/rest…as that is not the point of the passage. I tried to make that distinction in the beginning, but it must not have been obvious. 😳

    I love sleep as much as the next person…and do not consider myself “lazy” for needing it, especially when I’m not well.

    I’m not sure of the correct linguistic term…metaphor, hyperbole…?…sleep, in this passage, is referring to spiritual apathy in the present age.

    Time’s a-wastin; therefore, wake up, O Sleeper.

    Jesus is coming let’s be watchful and ready.

  4. To be without faith is to be asleep, more like being dead I think. When we first find our faith our spirit is awakened. For the CF the first day the Holy Spirit indwells in you is like becoming awake from a long sleep.

    Each day brings the final salvation nearer so it is important to stay awake, and work to make your connection to God stronger. I can see where this may seen to be becoming harder because, in the US at least, religious apathy may be growing. Too many people are growing lazy in their faith. Their connection to God may become weaker. It’s no time for napping.

    I would not think the CF needs to be watchful for the final salvation, only to realize it may be near. This reinforces the need to stay awake. To keep your faith strong. You don’t want to be caught sleeping on that final day.

  5. Hey Sis 🙂

    not sure if it is the ‘tiredness’ but i think Gch and i both were fully cognisant and understanding of what you meant by ‘sleep’ – we were just using the more commonly understood term to show that there is a correalation between how our body has need of sleep (from which we are to awaken if we are to live any kind of productive physical life) and how we are to wake up from our spiritual sleep also if we are to live a productive spiritual life leading to our eventual Salvation.

    As for the ‘qualifying’ by Mr Stott – it seems to me and please correct me if i am wrong here – like he is believing that there is going to be a single actual physical ‘new world awakening’ that we will all be witness to all at the same time and that this has not happened yet but will one day in the future?

    I believe this is contrary to what Christ was saying when he mentions that before this generation passes these things will come to be. ( not sure of the exact verse but i will look it up if you like?)

    It is my belief and understanding that the ‘day’ of Salvation or the “new world to come’ is not a single physical event everyone will experience simultaneously but is personal to every single person who is truly ‘In Christ’ and will be expereinced by each one of us according to how well we have ben acepting of Christ fully inside of the core of who we are – how our Spirit has ‘found’ that of the Holy Spirit and conformed to it’s (His) Will.

    My understanding of this comes from my reading of the words of Christ, Paul and the Holy Word as written in Scripture.

    I’m happy to concede that i am not perfect in my understanding – but from the ALL the evidence i have seen so far this is how it seems to me so to be.

    <B

  6. Hi Michelle, I haven’t read through all of the comments above so I hope I’m not repeating stuff or going off in a tangent, eek :), but I just wanted to say how struck I was by that scripture, and the point you mention here about being aware of spiritual apathy. Just the reminder not to forget, or to lose sight of the fact we are His, and to be available and ready for His purposes every day, at a moment’s notice even when His Spirit prompts us. Something happened today to remind me of that, and this has encouraged me even more 🙂 Thank you, and lots of love xo

  7. Hey, Ed! Yes, I agree with you. To be without faith is to be “dead” spiritually speaking. And once we’ve been “made alive” to God, through Christ, we are exhorted to not fall asleep…meaning…to not become spiritually apathetic of the time and our place in this world. The CF is told over and over again not to be friends with the world, but to realize we are “seated in the heavenlies” with Christ Jesus, therefore, to keep our minds on heavenly things…remembering The Day of the Lord draws nearer with each passing day. To grow lazy in our faith (as you put it) might mean we are caught unaware when He returns. I do not want to be ashamed at His coming by not keeping my robe clean.

    Hey, Love! Yes, as I understand him, Stott does believe in a literal return of Christ to earth. And I do, as well.

    “The Day” seems to be a large span of time beginning with what is known as “The Great Tribulation” and ending with “The New Heaven and New Earth”. And many who believe in this literal time span, see that Jesus will rule the earth for 1,000 years. It seems His rule on earth will begin after the Battle of Armageddon and culminate at the end of the Milennial Kingdom. It appears the scripture teaches all will be destroyed at the end of the 1000 years and a New Heaven and New Earth will be known thereafter. So yes, Stott and I interpret Paul’s words with this view in mind. (I don’t think I’m adding to Stott’s understanding, but someone might just prove me wrong…it’s been done many times before!!) 🙂

    Hey, Birg!! Yeah, it’s so easy to get caught up in this world view that we forget we have been sealed for another time. We are strangers and aliens here, and need to remember that our “home” is with the Lord. It’s so easy to become spiritually apathetic and gain “happiness” for ourselves in this realm. I see Jesus’ words, and the words of the Apostles, teaching an urgent message of staying ready, for The Day draws near. Love you too xo

  8. Michelle I found your explanation in the commments here so interesting, about the different times and how currently the times are overlapping. Thank you for laying it out like that, I have never heard it explained that way before and really deepens insight. Thanks 🙂

  9. Thanks for saying so, Rain. One of my passions is eschatology. I’ve spent many years studying the End Times. Maybe I should do a series of posts??? I haven’t because of the controversy and my fear of rejection. 😕 But, I’m glad this bit was insightful for you. 🙂

  10. Thanks for your thoughts and comments Sis – i am certainly NO expert on ‘The End Times’ and i find the literal concept of such quite hard to swallow – given that i am sure many before me in the last two millenia have been sure in their hearts that they were in the end times and would see Christ’s return before their ‘slumber’ (physical death) overtook their body.

    As for controversy and fear of rejection? i think if you hear His voice calling you to share what you have learned with others who may need to hear it, you would be doing Him and yourself a disservice by avoiding human rejection or sniping that may or may not result.

    But then – i’m not the person going to be ‘shot at’ so it’s an easy thing for me to say 😉

    i’m sure you will find the strength to cope with what comes as a result of doing His work.

    btw – the verses where Jesus says all that will come to pass is in this (His) generation?: Matt 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32 – and i would really like to know if you have studied Matt 24:15 at all. I wonder why He said we were a perverse generation for seeking a sign – and then gives us that one??

    <B

  11. Hey, Love. I think I will do some posts concerning eschatology. There is so much to cover and it can’t be done well in a comment thread.

    The question you ask concerning “this generation” is one of the hardest in scripture to interpret. I’m going to copy from the NETBible cause it’s quick and easy, then I’ll give my thinking:

    This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means.

    (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible.
    (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or
    (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (v. 30), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.

    I see it as all three and I don’t believe any of the interpretations excludes the other. You see, in scripture, the fig tree is a common symbol for Israel. When Jesus speaks of the fig tree blossoming, putting out leaves, I see this as a renewal of the nation of Israel, which we know happened in 1948. Meaning: the generation that sees this blossoming is the end-time generation. And you see, it is true that the Jewish race did not pass away, even after the Great Dispersion beginning in 70 AD. God established them as a nation once again and allowed for an ancient language to become a national language once more (just as was prophesied).

    I also believe we are in a time of great wickedness, but God will redeem us fully in The Day of the Lord.

    It really is so much more than I can explain here. Hope this does help for you to see a bit of my understanding. 🙂

  12. i understand there is a lot to ‘cover’ and look forward to reading more in later posts. 🙂

    i DO see some of your understanding here and have known of the general things you are mentioning for many years and understand they have been raised and discussed for many generations before ours.

    i see Jesus’s statement as being able to be interpreted in a far more literal version – the ‘common’ understanding of the term ‘generation’: meaning the people he was talking to in that day. Much the same way we use the greek root term in English today. The word most commonly refers to a single period of time between one man being born and the birth of his son, most often taken to be roughly 30 years or so and encompassing all the people born within that span. When verse 33 and verse 34 of Matthew 24 are read in conjunction (and in the context of what is being spoken of in the chapter) it seems foolish indeed to me to suggest that Jesus is telling those present about a time 2000 years or more from ‘now’.

    It is very hard to believe that he would say what he is quoted as saying with any different meaning and i am quite sure that those who heard him also had this belief.

    i do understand that Jesus spoke often in parables to help get His true purpose across to those who were (or weren’t) capable of understanding it, but i don’t believe that He would ever ‘deceive’ people whom He spoke to to make them think one thing when he meant an altogether different thing. His Word ALWAYS contains the element of Truth in them – at whatever level people heard and understood it.

    I am inclined to believe that it is our ‘modern day’ interpretations that are more likely to be incorrect than anything Jesus actually says in Scripture.

    i am inclined to believe Christ (as The Way) is attempting to explain that coming to ‘His Father’s Kingdom’ is a personal individual journey that all have to take in their own time (generation?) rather than some specific point in time that all humanity sees happen at the exact same instant. If we wait for something that never happens in our own lifetime (as so many millions have already done before us) i believe that would be a far greater discouragement than the belief that we may be united with God within our own individual lifetime – as Jesus indeed was.

    If He truly is The Way then what of those who die and must wait interred for his return? They are not following His Way but a different one.

    Christ i believe is to be the template for our behaviour – our ‘example’ – spiritually and physically (Although i do not believe that God intends for all of us to copy Him and be physically crucified by our enemies, but we are to metaphorically ‘die’ to the flesh while living in Spirit).

    <B

  13. I’m gonna save my response for the series of posts I’ll start working on…soon. 🙄 But, until then, here’s a post I did last year with more scriptures I believe teach a definite return of Jesus to earth:

    https://considerjesus.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/eagerly-waiting/

    Jesus did not deceive us in any way, shape or form. It is our limited understanding of an infinite God that causes the confusion within us. It is our lack of understanding, the futility of our own minds, which creates so many interpretations. This I do know from studying prophecy, it always has a present/future meaning. It is spoken for the time in which the speaker lives (i.e. the Kingdom has come in our hearts) and a future time (i.e. His Kingdom will be established on the earth). We need to remember, He sees the end from the beginning, it is we who are limited by the clock.

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