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Wake Up Sleepy Head

Wake Up Sleepy Head

   The title of this article sounds like what we may have heard in our youth as we sought to remain in our beds rather than go to school or arise and take on a task in which we would rather not be involved.   No doubt many of our parents used this phrase to urge us to get up and get going.  

     We all know sleep is necessary for proper mental and physical growth and to maintain a certain level of clearness of mind for the tasks of the day. But, too much sleep or sleeping when more pressing issues need to be addressed is problematic to say the least. I think we are all aware of the need to remain awake and alert while driving a car or working with power tools. But it seems that some are “sleeping” their way through life and not taking care of the most pressing issue of life, which is making provision for the final abode of the soul.

   Sleep is mentioned a number of times throughout the KJV Bible. The first time we see it is in Genesis 2:21 when God caused Adam to sleep deeply and God performed the first surgery in the Bible in which He took one of Adam’s ribs and made a woman for Adam. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  One would certainly want to be asleep (knocked out) during this kind of operation.   The final occurrence of sleep in the Bible is found in 1Thessalonians 5:10 and deals with something other than our retiring for an evening.   This passage is speaking of Christ and the sacrifice He made so we can be in Him, whether we remain alive or are sleeping the sleep of physical death. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 

      As we compare the two verses above, surely we can see two different kinds of “sleep” being referenced.   One is a sleep in which Adam was awakened to live another day; the other sleep is the state of waiting until the Lord returns and the judgment occurs.   This is why one must always consider the context before one can understand what is actually being put forth.   This is true of any passage of the Word of God.

     Not all “sleep” within the Bible is the same. As we live here on the earth, we sleep to recharge our bodies. As we leave this earth, our bodies will sleep in death. Those who are not “in Christ” will also sleep the sleep of death, but will not live afterward with Him, as they have not lived for Him in this life.  If one does not live with Christ when they are awake, how can they be “in Christ” while sleeping? This applies to the sleep of rest as well as the sleep of death.  

   In 1Corinthians 11:30 we find that the Spirit had Paul address a problem with the group of Christians that met in Corinth. He was directed to write: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.    Surely the Spirit was not having Paul write of normal restful period of nighttime sleep as the context in that part of this chapter is that of the proper partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Also, those referenced as being “asleep” were not physically dead, because dead people cannot partake of this memorial feast. Therefore the Spirit must have directed Paul to speak of being asleep spiritually.  

     Too sleep spiritually means one is not ready for the coming of the Lord. This is why the 1Thessalonians 5:6 admonition was written for those brethren as well as for us. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  And, there are several other passages within the New Testament which also remind us to “awake”.   These are not as frivolous as the call of our parents when we were young and when they said: “Wake up sleepyhead”. Their call was to arouse us so we could get on with our day. The warnings given by God in His Word to awake spiritually and remain alert and ready are given because our eternity depends upon staying spiritually awake.  

    As the Roman letter was penned, some there needed to awake from sleep as

Romans 13:11 points out. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.    Then, in 1Corinthians 15:34, the brethren there were told unto what they were to awake and informed them that it is a shame to not have the knowledge of God. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. One way for us to be “awakened” spiritually is to have our minds stirred up by the Word of God as 2Peter 3:1 tell us. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

   Let us, as children of God, strive to be “mindful” of the Words spoken by the prophets and the fulfillment of those things when the church was established.   One must not only be a member of the church, but they must also remain awake spiritually to continue to be in favor with God and productive in the kingdom.

                           Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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