Friday, October 6, 2023

Drowsy Christians

This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11 NLT)

With self-driving cars now on the market, we’re seeing more and more stories in the news about drivers falling asleep at the wheel. One driver, for instance, was fast asleep in his moving car when a police officer noticed him. After they unsuccessfully tried to wake the man, the police had to force his car off the road.

In the same way, some Christians today are asleep at the wheel. They have a spiritual lethargy, a passivity about them.

The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11 NLT).

The J. B. Phillips New Testament puts it this way: “Why all this stress on behavior? Because, as I think you have realized, the present time is of the highest importance—it is time to wake up to reality. Every day brings God’s salvation nearer.”

Paul addressed these words to Christians, to genuine believers whose spiritual lethargy and laziness made them appear and act as though they had no spiritual life. Effectively, they were asleep at the wheel.

We can be in a state of spiritual slumber and not even realize it. In fact, we might even deny it. Yet the Bible warns us to wake up from our spiritual sleep.

Thus, Paul was saying, “It’s time for you to wake up.” He probably was alluding to the soon return of Christ. If you believe that Jesus could come back today, then you’re very astute theologically. As believers, we should realize that Jesus could come back at any time.

But we must also recognize that we don’t know how long we will live. When we’re young, we think we have all the time in the world. But then one day we look at ourselves in the mirror and it’s obvious that we’re getting older.

Titus 2 reminds us, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed” (verses 11-13 NLT).

Long ago, it was common to write this phrase over financial documents: memento mori. The literal translation, “Remember you must die,” obviously had a grounding effect on readers.

Regardless of how much money we have saved or invested, we will leave it all behind one day. That’s why we need to keep perspective and make every day count.

The psalmist David said, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4 NLT).

We must live every day as though it could be our last. Because one day it will be.

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