Christians are to be spiritually alert and not asleep.
HYMN: Christian, Seek Not Yet Repose
TEXT: Eph. 5:11-15; Rev. 3:1-3; 1 Thess. 5:4-9
The word ‘slumber’ is defined by the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary to mean; sleep, time when somebody is asleep, to sleep is the natural state of rest in which one’s eyes are closed, and the body is not active and as well as the mind not being conscious. Rest in the form of sleep is good for the natural body. But spiritual slumber is a state of inactivity or dormancy in spiritual things. Believers that are not spiritually alert and have lost thought of the Lord’s return an be regarded as being in a state of sleep. Slumber or sleep is used as a metaphor for spiritual lethargy.
Like sleep, a believer who slumbers is unconscious and can not face spiritual realities. A person who is asleep spiritually is indifferent, inactive and not sensitive to spiritual things while conforming to this world. The world is full of darkness and sin. This could be described sadly as the spiritual state of some believers. There is a wake-up call for the believer to be awake and alert. Paul’s admonition that we should not sleep is based on the second coming of the Lord, Romans 13:11-12. Believers are to wake up and become alert.
The objectives of this study are:
1. To differentiate between spiritual slumber and spiritual deadness.
2. To identify the signs of spiritual slumber.
3. To know the dangers of spiritual slumber.
4. To understand ways to escape from spiritual slumber.
Q1. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRITUAL SLUMBER AND SPIRITUAL DEADNESS.
Matthew 25:1- 13
Spiritual slumber is a state where one’s eyes are spiritually closed; he cannot perceive the things of God, and his/her mind is not responsive to God and God’s work. It also refers to those who have a reprobate mind and chose darkness instead of light. Matthew 25 vividly describes it as a state of unpreparedness by the virgins that slumbered and slept. They all set out to meet the bridegroom, but while they waited they slumbered. They were no more responsive to their environment until the bridegroom came. The five wise that were fully armed and prepared were welcomed into the marriage feast while the five foolish were shut out.
Just as it is with the natural sleep, that no one can say at the exact time in which he/she slept so it is, with spiritual slumber. The believer that is in this state, started off as a child of God, but along the line, the vigor, strength, zeal and desire for God and all that is God’s gradually phases out. The things they once spoke against are now practiced and condoned by them. They also no more hear from God nor enjoy fellowship with God and the brethren. Doctrines that were cherished and upheld are dropped and put aside in the name of “it does not matter”.
In contrast, the state of spiritual deadness is a state of complete separation from God, as physical death indicates a state of lifelessness so it is with a person that is spiritually dead, he/she has no spiritual life with the Lord. This is the case of the unbeliever. Such a person is void of all that makes a Christian, he has lost touch with God, he/she might be religious but does not have Christ in him. The unbelievers are in a deep sleep of sin. Believers are called upon to awake’ out of sleep while unbelievers are to arise of the dead.
Q2. FROM THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES, WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL SLUMBER?
Rev. 3:1-3, 14-17; Phil. 3:17- 19; Gal. 3:1-3, 2:18; 2 Pet. 3:16-17; 2 Sam. 11:1-4; Heb 10:25; Psalm 122:1
The following are some signs of spiritual slumber:
(1) The individual might still be active or religious but can no more discern spiritual things, he/she is self sufficient and contented with his/her state without more need for anything.
(2) Another sign is being mindful of earthly things more than the things of God and allowing the flesh to dominate or control one’s life.
(3) It is also a fall from one’s steadfastness in God’s service, being lazy about the things and the work of God. Such a person is no longer busy for God
(4) He also does not enjoy fellowship with God and the brethren; he is not delighted in attending services.
(5) Such person wrestles with accepting and living the truth of God’s word he once believed, preached and practiced.
(6) A major sign is that such a person indulges in sin and sinful practices. This may be gradual, starting with an inward battle over standards once, once upheld, avoiding godly friends and associates to having ungodly one.
Other signs of spiritual
slumber include: lukewarmness, unwillingness to practice in the things of God, absenteeism from spiritual company,
slothfulness in spiritual things, idleness, prayerless, etc., Proverbs 19:15.
Q3. WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF SPIRITUAL SLUMBER?
Matt. 13:18-30, 25:5-13; John 10:10; Rom. 13:11-14
When a believer is in a state of spiritual slumber, he/she is in danger of so many things. Spiritual slumber makes us fall prey to the attacks of Satan, Luke 22:46. It also gives room to the enemy to sow tares and steal when men sleep, Matt. 13:25. Spiritual slumber make us to while away precious time, Eph. 5:16. A slumbering believer becomes unfruitful in the things of God and thereby not useful to the expansion of God’s work. The person in a state of spiritual slumber is also in danger of not being prepared for the coming of the Lord and will be taken by surprise.
As a person who’s asleep cannot know what is happening around him/her, so it is with one in a state of spiritual slumber, he will miss out on the move of God, as he will not know what God is saying or doing at a particular time. He is at risk of being exposed to the enemy and his attacks as there’s no divine covering over him and all that are his. The final state of unchecked spiritual slumber is spiritual death, i.e. separation from God.
Q4. WHAT ARE THE WAYS OF ESCAPE FROM SPIRITUAL SLUMBER?
2 Pet. 3:17-18; Ez. 37:1-12; Rom. 13:11-14; Gen. 5:22- 24; Ps. 1:1-3, 122:1, 1 Thess. 5:8
The state of spiritual slumber should not be a permanent one. God has sent a wake-up call to anyone in such a state. To escape from spiritual slumber, the following are necessary. The individual must decide and make deliberate efforts to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. He must respond to the call of God, realize his state, repent by putting aside every ungodliness and determine to be faithful in God’s service.
Furthermore, such a believer must be consistent in his daily walk with the LORD. He must ensure that he is in the midst of God’s people, i.e. not forsaking the assembly of believers. He must also forsake wrong company and choose godly friends that can be of help to him in the Christian race as “iron sharpens iron”, Proverbs 27:17. We are also enjoined to watch and pray, Matt. 26:41. The believer must walk in the light of God’s word, be sober, watchful and put on the whole armor of God, Eph. 6:10-18. He should also study and apply the word of God continually (keep feeding yourself spiritually to enable you to grow). The word of God is the eternal sure way of escaping from spiritual slumber, he must make the word his companion as he practices it to the letter. He must daily examine himself, to make sure he is still in the faith and must keep alive the hope of salvation and the expectation of Christ’s coming which propels for holy living.
The place of prayer as an escape route from slumber cannot be overemphasized.
In summary, Romans 13:11-14 (NAS) says: “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. 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. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
To awake from slumber or sleep is a call to be spiritually alert, a call for revival of the individual and Christians generally. Brethren, it is high time for us to awake out of sleep before the ‘great trumpet of the LORD sounds’. Oh, may we speedily see the things that make for our peace before they are hidden from our eyes.
AWAKE! O, YE GIANTS OF THE LORD
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
Monday: The difference between slumber and spiritual deadness.
Tuesday: Signs of spiritual slumber.
Rev. 3:1-3, 14-17
Wednesday: Signs of spiritual slumber.
Gal. 3:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:16-17
Thursday: Dangers of spiritual slumber.
Friday: Dangers of spiritual slumber.
John 10:10; Rom. 13:11-14
Saturday: Ways to escape from spiritual slumber.